News & Media

Unisa Chancellor presides over his first regional graduation

Unisa Chancellor Thabo Mbeki made a huge impact on and caused excitement among graduates and guests attending graduation ceremonies on 22 June 2019 in Durban.

Chancellor Thabo Mbeki constitutes the congregation.

History was made when, for the first time in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Region, the Chancellor, accompanied by the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mandla Makhanya, presided over all three graduation ceremonies held in the Durban International Convention Centre. The KZN region became the very first region of the university to achieve this feat of hosting the current chancellor successfully and with distinction.

Prof Mandla Makhanya (Principal and Vice-Chancellor), SC Nxumalo (Vice-Principal: Nqabakazulu High School) and Thabo Mbeki (Unisa Chancellor) with Nqabakazulu High School Grade 12 learners

As part of stakeholder engagement activities, the university had invited a group of 15 Grade 12 learners from Nqabakazulu High School in KwaMashu to witness a graduation ceremony. This is part of Unisa’s efforts to inspire the youth to be part of such ceremonies in future when they themselves graduate from institutions of higher learning.

The learners, the majority of whom came from disadvantaged backgrounds and who had never attended a graduation ceremony before, were led by their school Vice-Principal, CS Nxumalo, during the morning session. Undoubtedly this particular ceremony attended by the learners from one of the biggest townships in KZN was the highlight of the day as the Chancellor referred to them as "future graduates" when he made his congratulatory remarks.

Prof Mandla Makhanya (Principal and Vice-Chancellor), Dr Leander Geoffrey (PhD Graduate), Thabo Mbeki (Unisa Chancellor) and Prof Marelize Schoeman (Supervisor)

The hall was filled with joy and a sense of pride when during the evening session there were two doctoral candidates graduating among more than 250 candidates that evening alone. The Chancellor and the VC made the most of a photo opportunity with learners, doctoral graduates, KZN management, university staff on duty that evening and the Regional SRC. The Chancellor’s presence in the region reverberated across the KZN province when a day after the ceremonies, one of the Sunday newspapers ran a front-page story on an interview they had with him during these ceremonies.

Ncamile Jali (Sport & Culture Officer: RSRC), Prof Mandla Makhanya (Principal and Vice-Chancellor), Thabo Mbeki (Unisa Chancellor) and Lungie Nhlenyama (Chairperson: RSRC)

Graduation ceremonies in the KZN Region will never be the same again as their profile and stature has been raised high. These first three ceremonies were unique in many ways, and they were clearly cherished and celebrated by many who attended them.

Patiently waiting to be called on stage to receive their qualifications

* By Siyabonga Seme, Manager: Communication and Marketing, KwaZulu-Natal Region

Publish date: 2019/06/25