UNIVERSITY of Zululand (UNIZULU) Vice-Chancellor, Professor Fikile NM Mazibuko, has hailed this year’s graduation ceremony a resounding success after graduating more than 4 000 students between May 12-16.
Speaking during the graduation, Professor Mazibuko said the wonderful thing was that the event is still adapting and evolving while retaining that single truth which the French folklorist Arnold van Gennep struck on in 1909 – the right of passage.
“It marks the successful conclusion of years of hard work by students; and dedicated teaching, tutoring, mentoring and supervision by staff. This collaboration between students and staff is a critical component of teaching and learning at a university. When success is achieved, both students and staff are deserving of recognition and acknowledgement.
“In the same vein it should be a barometer of where we are in terms of the National Development Plan and our Institutional Research and Staff Development Plan. We have to work harder on postgraduate throughputs,” said Mazibuko.
UNIZULU Chancellor, Dr Sibusiso Ndebele, thanked the University for the well-organised graduation ceremonies. “Students and staff with the supervision of management have made this a success. I urge students to have goals and objectives they want to achieve so that they can add value to this country,” he said.
Chairperson of UNIZULU Council, Vuyani Gamede, congratulated graduates and wished them well in their endeavors. “We hope that with the qualifications you have acquired you can change this country for the better.”
Student Representative Council chairperson, Siyanda Mkhize, thanked graduates for focusing on their studies, saying that if they are focused nothing will ever take them down.
One of the guest speakers, KZN Absa Regional Executive, Lindiwe Rakharebe reminded graduates of the importance of saving money for rainy days and urged them to be focused on things that will bring positive change in their lives.
Nobuhle Maphumulo from Folweni in Durban, the first in her family to earn a B Com Economics and Management degree, said: “I’m very pleased and to all those who are still studying they should focus on their courses and they, too, will succeed.”
UNIZULU conferred degrees and awarded diplomas to 4 083 recipients. This on its own should be celebrated as a remarkable feat given the country’s history of deprivation and denial of opportunities to deserving South African students, which was a salient feature of apartheid South Africa.
During the nine ceremonies UNIZULU graduated: 14 PhDs, 64 percent female and 36 percent male; 31 Masters, 52 percent female and 48 male; and 3287 undergraduates.
There was a range of speakers from academia and corporate sector who motivated and advised graduates. They were: Advocate Tshililo Michael Masutha, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology; Desmond Golding, HOD for KZN Department of Economic Development and Tourism; Lindiwe Rakharebe, regional executive of ABSA in KZN; Mahlubi Mabizela, chief director: higher education policy and development support in the Department of Higher Education and Training; Professor Jeffrey E. Ramsdell, the director of Energy Center, at Appalachian State University in the US; Professor Lulama Makhubela, deputy vice-chancellor for research, innovation and postgraduate studies at Tshwane University of Technology; Professor Donal McCracken, senior professor in the Centre for Media and Communications, and the acting College of Humanities dean of research at the University of KwaZulu-Natal; and Professor Mabel Khayisia Minishi-Majanja, professor in the Department of Information Science and Director of the School of Arts in the College of Human Sciences at the University of South Africa.
The ceremony was also attended by local industry and community stakeholders, government and local municipal officials and members of the private and corporate sector.