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Univen graduandi celebrating their achievements at the university Auditorium 

As every university’s ritual, graduation is one of the most important occasions in the University’s academic calendar where students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, receive their hard-earned degrees and diplomas. From 14-17 May 2019, the University of Venda (Univen) hosted its annual Autumn Graduation ceremonies to culminate students for their many years of personal sacrifices and hard work that have laid the foundation for successful and inspiring careers. This Graduation ceremony which was comprised of seven sessions and spread over four days, was held at the University’s Auditorium. 

Happy moments: students celebrating their achievements during graduation. 

Female students graduating in numbers during 2019 May graduation 

During this graduation ceremonies, Honorable Kgalema Motlanthe, conferred 3066 certificates, diplomas and degrees to deserving students who have achieved high levels of academic excellence in the fields of law, human and social sciences, mathematical and natural sciences, health sciences, environmental sciences, education, agriculture and management sciences. 20 doctoral degrees, 53 masters, honours 188 and 2807 bachelor’s degrees, diplomas and certificates were awarded during these graduation sessions. The majority of graduates for the 2019 May graduation ceremonies were female students compared to their male counterparts. A total of 1830 female students received their degrees 

When delivering his congratulatory message, Chancellor of the University of Venda, Honourable Kgalema Motlanthe congratulated graduandi, academic staff, sponsors, parents of graduandi, members of various communities and admin staff for working together in making sure that the University produces better products. He continued by encouraging academic staff and students to find research topics that responds to the problems of Sothern African society because their research findings will be used to find solutions to the problems faced by the people of Southern Africa. He told graduandi that their perseverance has paid dividends and that their achievements testify that education remains the core and lead a purposeful life that is driven by values, decisions and actions informed by the scholarship of the reasoning minds. “Education remains a critical instrument and it drives the betterment of human conditions in all its forms.” 

Honorable Motlanthe continued to applaud the University leadership and staff for helping to shape the values of young people. He told graduandi that ahead of them lie countless challenges and opportunities that allow them to share their skills, integrity, knowledge and experience. “Contributing to the success of your community and helping others in your families and neighborhood is the most fitting way to thank your parents, families and sponsors for having sacrificed so much to get you here.” He told them that this country needs graduates that embrace the ethos of collectivism, which teaches us that our shared destiny as human beings means that we have a responsibility towards improving the future for our fellow man so we can end poverty and inequality. Honourable Motlanthe advised graduandi to Make the Univen proud by being hard working, innovative, committed and ethical in their future roles in the workplace and leadership. “Be incorruptible in your ideas as well as in your conduct; equally avoiding corruption of money and corruption of ethics.” 

In his Welcome Address, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni said that this is the milestone event in the lives of graduating students and his maiden graduation ceremony since assuming duty as Univen Vice-Chancellor and Principal at the beginning of 2019. Dr Nthambeleni highlighted that most graduates for this autumn graduation ceremony is comprised of female students than their male counterparts. “In total, one thousand eight hundred and thirty (1830) are female. This trend depicting higher performance by female students is not only observed at Univen but also nationally.” He was pleased to announce that twenty-one (21) former and current SRC members were graduating. He further congratulated them for hard work and determination that has culminated to the significant occasion. 

Dr Nthambeleni concluded his speech by thanking all parents, guardians, lecturers, university support structures as well as sponsors for their profound care and support during the graduandi’s stay at the Univen. 

During these graduation ceremonies, the Mayor of Thulamela Municipality, Cllr Avhashoni Tshifhango graduated his Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 during the second session. Cllr Avhashoni Tshifhango is also a member of the University of Venda Council. He encouraged young people to go to school even if they are politically active because education open doors for everything. Cllr Tshifhango said “knowledge is a powerful tool and no one can abuse you if you are knowledgeable”. 

In the fourth session on Wednesday, 15 May 2019, Dr. Aluwani Nengovhela obtained her PhD in Zoology under the joint collaboration programme between the University of Toulouse in France and the University of Venda. under the DST/ NRF South African Research Chair programme in Biodiversity Value and Change in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve. 

L-R: Drs Valerie Linden and Sina Monika Weier 

Also, in the fourth session, Univen conferred doctoral degrees to Dr. Sina Weier and Dr Valerie Linden two students from Germany who elected to do their PhD in Zoology at the University of Venda. Their studies were completed within the DST/NRF Research Chair in Biodiversity Value and Change in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve. The two doctors were co-supervised by the Chair holder, Prof. Peter Taylor, who is Univen’s highest rated NRF scientist. They were funded under the Erasmus+ programme with co-funding between the University of Gottingen in Germany and the Univen NRF Chair. 

PhD Graduates posing for a photo 

PhD graduates dancing at the Auditorium after being capped 

Parents of graduandi looking at their children and relatives who were dancing after being awarded with their degrees 

Mangwaya Langton Tapiwanashe, Overall Best student in the University posing for a photo with Univen Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor and Principal 

Above: Recipients of the awards during the 2019 May graduation ceremonies posing with the Chancellor together with the Vice Chancellor and Principal 

PhD graduates with the academic procession, comprising of staff and Council members posing for a photo with the Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Bernard Nthambeleni and Chancellor, Honorable Kgalema Motlanthe and Chair of Council, Mr Serobi Maja in the middle 

Above: Ready to serve the nation: Students in Nursing Science taking oath during graduation 

Friends and families of graduandi watching their loved ones graduating on the screen outside the University Auditorium 

Against all odds: Students living with disability graduating during 2019 May graduation 

Above: Univen choir entertaining the audience 

L-R: Chairperson of Univen Council, Mr Serobi Maja, Thovhele Gole Mphaphuli, Univen Chancellor, Honorable Kgalema Motlanthe, Univen Vice Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni and Univen Deputy Chairperson of Council, Thovhele Kennedy Tshivhase 

Avhasei Raphalalani, proudly displaying her cultural attire when graduating 

Above: Beautiful team that provides professional ushering during graduation ceremonies 

Issued by: 

Department of Communications & Marketing 

University of Venda 

Tel: (015) 962 8525 

Date: 17 May 2019 

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