Published 19th Febuary 2020
“You have to start believing in yourself right now because you are the leaders of tomorrow,” said Professor Mmaki Jantjies.
She was the keynote speaker at the Academic Excellence Programme (AEP) graduation ceremony for the class of 2019. The programme was designed to support academically high-performing second-year students in their studies.
In her speech, Prof Jantjies encouraged students to look to Sol Plaatje, who with the power of the pen achieved great things in his lifetime. “Plaatje was a South African intellectual, linguist, politician, translator and writer. He was fluent in seven languages and was the first black South African to write a novel in English - Mhudi.”
She said schools, streets and a University are named after Sol Plaatje. “He was many things, but most importantly, he was a change agent, a game-changer - and at a time when it was not popular to be one. We are armed with education, a network of friends beyond the University - it is a time to bring about real change in a country where you are free to be who you want to be,” Jantjies said.
The programme is driven by Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, Professor Vivienne Lawack. She told family and friends of the 29 graduates that the programme was not only designed to support academic achievers. It arms students with the necessary expertise to flourish in the workplace.
The AEP programme had 18 graduates in 2018, 28 in 2019, and there are currently 35 students enrolled in the 2020 programme.
Second Year Law student Hamza Asmall said after doing their community engagement project, he realised the importance of pursuing a career that helps others and not choosing a career just for money.
Stephanie Maffo Taguekem in the Faculty of Science said : “The programme was the highlight of my 2019, the experience was one that will always push me to strive for excellence.”
Sabrina Mitchell, in the Community and Health Sciences Faculty, said joining the programme was one of her greatest achievements. “This group helped us work hard and kept us improving. Through the support and love of my family and the AEP students, it helped me focus on achieving my dreams,” she said.
The AEP Class of 2019 donated a box full of bottle tops to the Klipheuwel community. The bottle caps will be exchanged for two wheelchairs.