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Spring graduation an event second to none
2013-09-16

 

Chester Missing 'accompanied' by Conrad Koch
Photo: Lelanie de Wet
19 September 2013

  Photo Gallery
Chester Missing: YouTube video
Graduation ceremony: YouTube video

This year’s Spring Graduation on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State was a truly unique event.

From the moment Shenley Pretorius, a blind singer, opened her mouth to sing, a sensational ceremony unfolded in front of the 650 graduandi, their family and friends. The political analyst, puppet Chester Missing, was ‘released’ from his suitcase and – true to form – unleashed a pandora’s box of hilarity into the crowd. From beginning to end, the programme provided an occasion to be remembered for years to come.

Fifteen-year-old Shenley Pretorius, a Grade 9 learner at the Prinshof School for the Visually Impaired in Pretoria, performed her self-composed song, ‘I see you with my soul,’ sending shivers into the audience, followed by a version of Lady Antebellum’s ‘Never Alone’.

After her performance, a bustling Conrad Koch prepared the audience for his puppet, Chester Missing’s stream of whimsical satire. The on-stage antics of this cheeky ‘political commentator’ had the crowd crying with laughter with the now-famous twerk and did not disappoint with his ample mockery of politicians and celebrities. From President Jacob Zuma, Helen Zille, Julius Malema, Zwelinzima Vavi, Larry King to the cellphone manufacturer, Blackberry – nobody was spared.

In his speech, Prof Jansen highlighted the achievements of current and former Kovsie students. Sharing the stage with Prof Jansen was just such an example – former UFS student Johan Cronje. Recently, Cronje palmed in a bronze medal in the 1 500 m at the World Championships in Moscow.

"Don’t worry about where you came from. Worry about where you are headed to. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or couldn’t do." With these words, Prof Jansen sent the new Kovsie graduates into the world.

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