I am UWC: Anthony De la Harpe gets his Masters at 71
Mr Anthony de la Harpe proved to everyone that one is never too old to get an education on Thursday 21 July 2016 when he received his Masters degree in History at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) at the age of 71.
De la Harpe, who grew up in the Port Nolloth region of Namaqualand, started his career as a teacher at Heathfield high school after completing his Lower Secondary Teachers Diploma at the then University College of the Western Cape (Bush College) in 1965.
He then moved on to do his BA degree in 1975 and his BA (Hons) in 1977 at the University of the Western Cape.
“I have always wanted to do my Masters,” says the father of three - who is already in the process of writing his PhD proposal.
While he’s been away from the institution for almost thirty-five years, De La Harpe says it was not difficult studying at the age of 71 because he is more at peace now.
“At my first attempt at an MA degree in 1982, the supervising professor suggested a topic about race relations on the Northern Cape frontier circa in 1750.” De La Harpe – who worked as a teacher during apartheid – struggled of course to work up any sort of enthusiasm for the topic "given the situation at the time",” he says.
The 71-year-old has collected a few life mottos over the years, but none of them seem to stick and work for all situations...except for Victor Frankl’s observations as a prisoner in a death camp during WWII: ”That it is not what we expect from life, but what life expects from us. Not to see life in terms of our own needs.”
“There is something about these words that are relevant and significant to me especially,” De La Harpe says, “but there’s a lesson in there for all of us.”