News & Events

Colourful spring graduation ceremonies in Durban

University officials on stage as graduates walks on a red carpet

Graduation ceremonies held in the Durban Exhibition Centre from 15 to 17 October 2019 were colourful in many ways, with doctoral candidates, student leaders, and staff graduating, and some students entertaining the audience with Zulu-dancing on stage.

Lizane Kruger and Fikile Mhlongo celebrating their achievements

Professor Mandla Makhanya, Unisa’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor (VC), officiated the first day of the Durban graduation ceremonies, as always, he praised the graduates for their resilience as distance-learning students who, unlike students at residential universities, have no classes to attend or lecturers who assists daily with modules until students write their examinations. He pointed out some special qualities of a successful Unisa student, such as being resilient, focused, disciplined, and independent. He said most graduates, because they have matured, have perseverance, and sheer determination to succeed and accomplish their goals – some with scarce resources. ‘These qualities are what most employers look for when recruiting employees for their organisations’ he said.

Makhanya added that the enormous support given by families, friends, wives, husbands, and children of open distance learning (ODL) institution students was unquantifiable, and that, without it, some candidates could not have finished their studies. And he persuaded graduates to become active members of the Unisa Alumni Association and donate towards the university’s bursary fund, for the benefit of current and future students.

The city of Durban is a vibrant holiday destination full of attractions and activities to see and experience, but Zulu-dancing is a display that particularly defines the character of this beautiful coastal city. The ceremony was joyful and a number of graduates, as they went on stage, displayed and showed off their dance moves to a great applause and delight of the audience. One brave graduate, Sikhumbuzo Hlongwa danced his way from the podium to the end to receive his BEd in Senior and Further Education and Training Phases. Hlongwa brought the hall to a standstill with his energetic and acrobatic Zulu-dance moves. There were also other entertaining graduates who ignited the hall in true African spirit and celebration as they walked on the red carpet, displaying different cultures and antics perhaps only seen during graduation ceremonies.

Doctoral achievements

There were five doctoral candidates who graduated during this session: Chinisile Albertina Mbokazi (DLitt et Phil), Italia Nokulunga Mtiyane (PhD), Nkosinathi Wonderboy Myeza (PhD), Mokofe William Manga (LLD), and Viresh Moonasar (DBL). They were all celebrated by the university for their hard-earned doctoral qualifications and were invited with their families to take photographs and have tea with university management members present at the ceremonies.

Ayanda Nobeqwa, the Deputy Speaker of the KZN SRC, who obtained a Bachelor of Consumer Science

Student leadership leading by example

The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Regional Student Representative Council (SRC) were present, as Andile Siphelele Ndaba, their Secretary obtains his Bachelor of Education, and also Ayanda Nobeqwa, the Deputy Speaker obtains a Bachelor of Consumer Science in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. They were both accompanied by their family, friends, and fellow SRC members. The SRC members’ graduation was a good example to their peers and other current students in attendance.

Other highlights of these ceremonies were the graduation of staff members from the region, and one academic based in the region who had her master’s student passing cum laude. Mala Govender received her Master of Social Work cum laude under the supervision of Dr Ann Petty. The staff members who graduated were Ntombifikile Mhlongo (Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration), Mthokozisi Nkosi (Bachelor of Education), and Andile Nyathikazi (Bachelor of Law).

The graduation ceremonies in the KZN Region, as always, have proven to be held in high esteem and have grown in stature rivalled only by ceremonies held at the head office in Pretoria. Out of 4 724 students eligible to graduate during this session in Durban, 1 927 attended the ceremonies. We congratulate all our graduates – both those who attended and those who could not attend.

*By Siyabonga Seme, Manager, Communications: KZN Region

Publish date: 2019/10/30