As much as it is a time to celebrate, take stock and assess the return on the investment made in graduands’ studies, it is also an opportunity for graduands to use their resilience, determination and other life lessons to be the change they want to see in the world.
So said University of the Western Cape (UWC) Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, at the institution’s Summer Graduation today (15 December 2022).
“The world teaches us to look out for ourselves and grab what we want. We see this every day. In acts of corruption, in the selfish rather than selfless acts of individuals, and in the political elites who seek survival rather than serving the people who elected them,” Prof Pretorius said.
“It is easy to follow this path, particularly when you’ve known hunger, poverty and desperation. Many of our students are painfully familiar with that state of being. So why not look out for yourselves only as you begin a new journey of building your careers?
“Our country is in a perilous state and our daily lives are hard and difficult. You know as well as I do that corruption seems to have reached endemic levels. The economy is struggling, the poor are getting poorer and unemployment is at record levels. Add to that the daily electricity outages, euphemistically called load-shedding. Amidst all of this it is easy to become despondent and to resort to shortcuts in order to get ahead in life’.
Prof Pretorius said he doesn’t believe UWC graduands would succumb to the temptation of taking short cuts, as they know what hard work is, which is why they are graduating.
#UWCGrad2022: The support of parents, guardians, and loved ones throughout this critical journey is invaluable. Congratulations to all graduates - you've made it! ????#IamUWC pic.twitter.com/zKpkd0C3ft— UWC (@UWConline) December 15, 2022
The Rector also called on the graduands not to forget where they come from when they succeed.
“Lend a helping hand to your community. It might not be in financial terms, but you can give your time. You might not help everyone, but imagine the transformation we could bring if we all just helped one person succeed. The principle is simple – give back as you move forward”.
Five parents invested in their children today, and so did one aunt - many of whom are following in their parents' footsteps.
Professor Thokozani Kanyerere, a senior lecturer of Hydrogeology in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, invested his daughter Jessie Mzati Kanyerere, who graduated with a master’s Degree in Science Environment and Water Science. Her thesis assessed the effectiveness of groundwater remediation technologies to a coastal aquifer within an urban environment in South Africa.
And Professor Samuel Egieyeh, who leads the Computational Pharmacology and Cheminformatics Group at the School of Pharmacy, invested his wife, Elizabeth Egieyeh, who received her doctorate from the School of Pharmacy. Her study is aimed at developing, implementing and evaluating a framework for an integrated maternal and child health programme to train undergraduate students at the School of Pharmacy at UWC.
“It actually helps to have someone with a common educational background, and having someone who understands what I am doing,” said Dr Egieyeh.
“We have different specialities, but it was nice to have someone to rub ideas off of.”
She has been working on her research for five years, but it wasn’t easy: “I still had my full teaching load, so it was quite challenging.”
The academic gene runs in the family, as the Egieyeh’s eldest son is doing his undergraduate degree in pharmacy and has completed his second year of studies.
She said: “Both my husband and I are qualified pharmacists, so to have my son also studying (pharmacy) now is very special.”
Some of the 775 graduates capped today, who include 41 doctoral, 79 master’s and 18 honours degrees, are excited and looking forward to the future.
Listen to students speak about their big day
See below for a gallery of Summer Graduation 2022. All images by Ruvan Boshoff (UWC Media)
#UWCGrad2022: “Don’t hide in life’s shadows. Go out there, work hard and succeed.” - UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius. Congratulations to the Class of 2022, and thank you for choosing UWC as your academic home.#IamUWC pic.twitter.com/WrDRwM16Gg— UWC (@UWConline) December 15, 2022