UNIVEN Chancellor, Adv Mojanku Gumbi conferred a total of 2 666 certificates, diplomas, and degrees during the graduation ceremonies which took place over four days in seven sessions. The graduation ceremonies took place from 14 to 17 May 2024. Out of the total number of 2666 graduates, 38 were the PhDs who graduated only in this Autumn
graduation. In her congratulatory address, UNIVEN Chancellor, Adv Mojanku Gumbi apologised to graduates on behalf of her generation for not making this country one of the best in the past 30 years. In 1994 the country was pregnant with hope. Unfortunately, along the way, some people became greedy, some became liars while others became thieves.
She told graduates that it is unfortunate that the country that they are going to walk into is not a country that South Africans have hoped for. She said UNIVEN is trying to fix the things that her generation could not achieve in the past 30 years. When talking about the shoes that she has donated, Advocate Gumbi mentioned that this donation is not just a
gesture of ubuntu and the celebration of 30 years of democracy, it is also because she wanted to show graduates that there is hope. The hope of entrepreneurship. The hope for graduates to create jobs for many unemployed people. She said a young man and woman from Free State Province decided to manufacture Modern Mbadada shoes. “One
woman from Mpumalanga Province crafted the shoes called Mama Kea and the last one being a young Black man from Limpopo who designed Bathu.” Adv Gumbi said these young people saw that the country is faced with challenges of unemployment and decided to create opportunities for themselves and employed others. She said she is doing this
because this University is trying to channel graduates into the entrepreneurship space. “We can get this country revived in the next 30 years. Once in your lifetime, you need to stand for something irrespective of challenges. Let us do the right things for once. Make sure that the next 30 years are better than the previous 30 years of democracy. When you
walk out here (referring to the graduation hall), tell yourself that you are going to do better than my generation.” She congratulated graduates, parents and guardians and advised them to go and cast their votes on 29 of May.

Ms Rivoningo Berverly Phakula (middle on the photo above) emerged victorious as she is the UNIVEN overall best performer and won the Senate Medallion.
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it.” Those are the words of Malcolm X echoed by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Bernard Nthambeleni acknowledging that it might had been a long and exhausting, but certainly a rewarding journey for graduands. Prof Nthambeleni echoed these words
during the University’s 2024 Autumn Graduation ceremonies.

Prof Nthambeleni paid tribute to Justice Yvonne Mokgoro who was the first female Chairperson of the University of Venda (UNIVEN) Council between 2002 and 2009. She was later appointed UNIVEN’s Special Ambassador in 2009. He took a moment and expressed heartfelt condolences to Mokgoro’s family for the loss of Justice Yvonne Mokgoro
who passed away on Thursday, 9 May 2024. Prof Nthambeleni described Justice Mokgoro as a symbol of selfless humanity, someone with a natural nobility who was classless. He said during her tenure as the UNIVEN Chairperson of Council, she refused to claim her sitting allowance paid to Council members. Instead, all her sitting allowances were
channeled towards the award for best performing students.

“This is one of the occasions that provides us with an opportunity to report back to the custodians of the University –the parents and community at large,” he said. Prof Nthambeleni continued to report to the parents, graduands and the community at large that the success of a University is measured by the standing of its academics, researchers, and the quality of its outputs, inter alia graduates and the research it produces. He said there is a direct correlation between the quality of the staff and the quality of the outputs. In other words, you cannot expect to produce good research outputs and quality graduates if your staff is below par. In the new rankings report of Times Higher Education for 2024 that was released on Tuesday, 14 May 2024, the UNIVEN has performed very well in the new ranking category of South African universities at the age of 50 and below. UNIVEN has been ranked number four, number one being UJ, UKZN, NW, UNIVEN and DUT.” He mentioned that in the same report of Times Higher Education, the UNIVEN has also improved its global/world ranking
and is now in the top 300 universities in 2024 moving from top 400 in 2023. “All of this is happening because we have invested a lot in promoting and encouraging our staff to further their studies and acquire higher degrees. This investment is paying off as we are witnessing an increase in the number of permanent staff with PhDs. The quality of our academic and research staff is also evident in the increase in the number of our rated researchers, which has grown exponentially from only 12 in 2012 to 46 in 2024. It is precisely because of
this quality that our University is gaining recognition nationally and internationally for its rigor and scholarly outputs.” When speaking about the Best Performing Student Awards, Prof Nthambeleni highlighted that UNIVEN strives to produce graduates that are locally relevant and globally competitive and to effectively achieve this mission, this University
needs partners from different industries and business entities. He expressed his profound appreciation to all donors and sponsors for sponsoring awards to UNIVEN’s best performing
students. Prof Nthambeleni further appreciated the support that UNIVEN has received from Forever Resorts South Africa. Two weeks ago, “signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Forever Resorts South Africa and through this partnership, ten graduates with BCom Tourism and Hospitality Management will be placed at different resorts throughout the country for a period of 12 months. He also expressed appreciation to MEDILAC and Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre, subsidiaries of TEFLA Group for placing 17 graduates from the University of Venda for 24 months. “I am glad to announce that these graduates have already started their internship programme from 01 May 2024 until 30 April 2026. On the same note, the Vice Chancellor and Principal recognised the selfless leadership and the generosity of the Chancellor of the University of Venda, Adv Mojanku Gumbi. He said as our country is commemorating 30 years of democracy this year, the Chancellor bought 180 pairs of sneakers from her own pocket that she distributed to 30 female graduates in six sessions of the 2024 Autumn graduation ceremonies. “On behalf of our graduates, management, and staff, I want to thank you Chancellor for your caring, exemplary leadership.”
He expressed his profound gratitude to the Chancellor. It is in this graduation where the Honourable member of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa and Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, Dr Joe Maswanganyi graduated Doctor of Philosophy (Political Science). Dr Edward Mafadza, CEO of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Management.  The audience also witnessed the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina graduating Masters in Public Management. During this Autumn graduation, six University staff members were conferred with doctoral degrees. The Vice-Chancellor and Principal also announced that one of our Campus Security personnel, Mr Emmanuel Naledzani was conferred with a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning from the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture. While Ms Lydia Ramatsea who is also a Campus security personnel, received her Postgraduate Certificate in Education.
The current Secretary General of SRC, Mr Ngelekanyo Maduwa was conferred a Bachelor’s degree in Public Management from the Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law.
As he concludes his welcome remarks, Prof Nthambeleni expressed that he is confident that these graduates embark on their life’s journey after being academically equipped to cope with the demands of the modern sophisticated challenging world that they are about to enter.

Graduates seated in the University Auditorium, ready to celebrate

Autumn Graduation PhD Graduates


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University of Venda
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