University of the Western Cape (UWC) sports administrator Elmien Cloete graduated this week with more than 4 000 students. Her graduation is significant for many reasons.
It comes as much-needed encouragement for staff to walk the talk in their quest to promote education, and is a massive inspiration for student-athletes to soldier on and complete their programmes.
Elmien Cloete. Credit: Ruvan Boshoff/UWC Media
“This achievement inspires them because that is what they want to do: to complete their studies. I think it’s our duty as staff members to lead by example to encourage athletes to finish their programmes and go as far as they can in their studies. That is why we encourage our coaches to take up short courses, because they are role models for university athletes to push through and get qualifications.”
Cloete, who manages volleyball and women’s football codes, has enjoyed great success. Some of her athletes are pursuing postgraduate studies, and four others also graduated this week. They are Antonia Maponya (BAdmin, cum laude), Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Regirl Ngobeni (BEd), Khanya Xesi (BSc in medical bioscience), and Nelly Mamabolo (honours in psychology).
“Being a student-athlete is a challenge, especially the women footballers who travel around the country regularly to honour matches in the HollywoodBets Super League. That is why this week (graduation week) is so important. It inspires them, especially those who may have lost hope and wanted to give up. The constant talk about graduating and achieving is important to them.”
Cloete, a single mother, said it was not easy to complete her programme. “It was such a big sacrifice. There were a couple of times when I asked myself if I really needed to do this. It was during the COVID-19 time when kids were rotating going to school and didn’t understand when parents tried to help with teaching at home. But endless reading and motivation from friends and colleagues pulled me through.”
Dozens of other staff members also completed various programmes and graduated this week. They include Henriette Weber, Director of the Centre for the Performing Arts; Dr Suvarna Indermun, Lecturer in the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology; Natasha Schoeman, office administrator in Deputy Registrar's Office; Deanwin Benson, administrative assistant in the Faculty of Dentistry, and Melissa Fredericks, UWC contact centre agent.
Watch: UWC Chancellor, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba speak about presiding over Friday’s graduation ceremony.
For more images, also all taken by Ruvan Boshoff - UWC Media, please see gallery below.