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Celebrating Unisa’s 2022 milestones

Attended by internal and external dignitaries, Unisa celebrated the year that has been in style and with jubilation. The official closing ceremony of the 2022 academic year was held at the university’s Muckleneuk Campus on 12 December 2022. The audience was entertained with outstanding musical performances by a quintet led by Director of the Unisa Music Foundation, Professor Karendra Devroop, guest artist and South African Idols finalist, Monde Msutwana, and the Unisa Music Choir.

Unisa staff dancing to great music at the university's official closing ceremony of the 2022 academic year

In his welcome address, Professor Steward Mothata, Unisa Registrar, said the gathering reconfirmed several landmarks that defined the year 2022 at the university, and signalled the institution’s readiness to step up into 2023. Mothata noted: “The ceremony provides an opportunity for us to collectively reflect on the trends and successes of a year that brought various challenges and opportunities.”

Unisa’s Multimedia Centre and the Department of Institutional Advancement presented the 2022 highlights multimedia video themed A Year of Post-COVID-19 Excellence.

Click below to watch Unisa’s 2022 Highlights video.

In his address, Chairperson of the Unisa Council, Mashukudu Maboa, remarked: “Notwithstanding the COVID-19 challenges, we remained resolute in our quest to ensure that the institution continues to be a leader in open distance e-learning, especially in the context of the Fourth Industrialisation and digitisation.” He added: “As Council, we made a call to every staff member to put their shoulder to the wheel and ensure that the mission to reimagine and reclaim our rightful position in the hearts and minds of our key knowledge communities becomes a success.”

Mashukudu Maboa

Maboa acknowledged that Unisa rose against challenging and unprecedented developments and continued to do its best. “This bears testimony to our resilience, commitment and loyalty to this great institution,” he asserted. Speaking about the 150th anniversary celebration taking place in 2023, he remarked that it would be an ideal time to show the world that Unisa remains the university of the people, committed and capable of making a positive impact in society.

Delivering her address, Professor Puleng LenkaBula, Unisa’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor (VC), said the ceremony was a precious and critical time to analyse the accomplishments and outstanding achievements of the institution. “We need to reflect on how we can work together to position the university as an asset of the society, locally, continentally and globally, and as an enabler of higher education access for the majority,” added the VC. She remarked that Unisa had declared 2022 as a year of reclaiming and reimagining Africa’s intellectual futures beyond COVID-19, which resonates with the university’s vision and Strategic Plan for 2021-2030.

Expressing her appreciation for the commitment and hard work of Unisans, the VC noted: “Unisa has increased the number of national research funds and the National Research Foundation rated scholars, and some have upgraded their ratings.” She continued: “We have improved the number of our publications and peer review journal articles across various disciplines. Our engaged scholarship programmes continue to grow as evidenced by our entry into impact rankings that indicate that our research work influences our society and global trajectories on several indicators and endeavours.” The VC also congratulated all Unisa colleges for their achievements and encouraged them to soldier on. She lauded the colleges that have embraced the university’s ten catalytic niche areas as part of its agenda to, among others, improve planning, coordination and collaborations.

Professor Puleng LenkaBula

Among others, the VC strongly spoke on overcoming the culture of violence and gender injustice, especially directed at women leaders, and encouraged the spirit of accountability. She said: “We need to remember that we are servants of the society. Leaders must lead with integrity so that staff members can see themselves as investments of this valuable university.” The VC concluded: “The culture of peace, excellence, social justice and working together to ensure the success of our institution will carry us to the 150 years celebration.”

To recognise Unisa’s 2022 top performing students, the university’s management, Senate and Council presented them with excellence awards. The categories of the awards were the College Graduate Excellence Awards, Senate Graduate Excellence Awards and Council Graduate Excellence Awards.

After Unisa stakeholders voted for three logos in celebration of the 150-year anniversary birthday, the VC unveiled the winning logo to resounding applause.

In closing, Professor Khehla Ndlovu, Unisa's Vice-Principal: Strategy, Risk and Advisory Services, thanked all Unisa stakeholders for moving the university forward. He also congratulated the award recipients for demonstrating resilience and dedication. He concluded: “We are fortunate to be the centre piece of our capital city and diplomatic corps.”

* By Nancy Legodi, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2022/12/13