On Friday, 19 November 2021, the University of Venda (UNIVEN) held physical Spring Graduation ceremonies for the first time since the world witnessed Covid-19. The Graduation Ceremonies took place at the University Auditorium and live streamed on the University social media platforms. 

In June this year, 2 578 students graduated virtually. “In this November graduation , we celebrate the success of 653 students”. This brings the total to 3 231graduates in 2021. Among these 3 231 graduates, 17 graduated with PhD. 

In his congratulatory message, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni highlighted that Graduation ceremonies affords us a unique opportunity to reflect on the journey we have collectively – as students, parents, and lecturers – traversed in this quest for knowledge. Dr Nthambeleni said he is proud that even during our struggles against Covid-19, these graduates sought refuge from education. He told them that their graduation epitomises the triumph of education over adversity. 

“It is your quest for knowledge that I am proud of; and all of us as the staff of this great University are honoured to have been a part of your academic journey.” The dominant view of the purpose of education is that of its utilitarian value: its ability to equip people with the necessary skills for them to earn a living. This is indeed, a critical area of life, for how else would people survive, or how would they build economies without skills? Dr Nthambeleni mentioned that it is for this reason that our University places an emphasis on practical areas of learning, to enable our graduates to be competitive in various places of work. 

“Our vision is ; a University leading in engaged scholarship. We have spelled it out clearly that our mission is to produce graduates that are locally relevant and globally competitive. We take cognisance of the fact that to realise our vision and fulfil our mission we have to be driven by the values of quality and excellence; espouse accountability; practice transparency and be open to public scrutiny; promote respect and value integrity; embrace diversity; promote social responsibility, protect and preserve our environment”, he said. 

He highlighted that these are the values that we seek to promote and inculcate among UNIVEN students and the community at large. 

Dr Nthambeleni thanked parents for showing confidence in our institution, its programmes, and the staff by enrolling their children at UNIVEN. He concluded by mentioning that UNIVEN was founded more than four (4) decades ago and will be celebrating 40th Anniversary next year (2022). He said the University continues to contribute enormously to the socio-economic development not only of the province but the entire country by producing graduates that occupy significant positions in both public and private sector. 

“Our University staff with doctoral qualifications has increased to 41% which is above the national average of 37% in the entire higher education sector. Our researchers are making good strides in innovation. We now have 11 complete registered patents in different fields, including in health (food technology), engineering and management sciences.” 

In his welcome message, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning, Prof Jan Crafford highlighted that the graduation ceremonies took place at a time of great hardship for many of our people, who have suffered not only the loss of loved ones to Covid19, but also, in many cases, the loss of livelihoods. We have seen the Covid19 pandemic deepen the divisions in our society, exacerbating poverty and inequality, and having a devastating impact on teaching and learning at our schools and to a lesser extent at our universities. “You may have heard previously that in Chinese writing, the Chinese character for “crisis” happens to be indistinguishable from the character used for “opportunity”. He said indeed we are in the midst of the current crisis that the University of Venda sees the opportunity to evaluate, re-think, and re-direct its business. 

Prof Crafford further highlighted that it so happens that 2021 is the first year of implementation of the bold 2021 – 2025 strategic plan developed by the University under the leadership of our Vice-Chancellor and Principal. This plan is underpinned by a completely new business model and a reconfigured academic structure. “We are particularly pleased that the 17 Doctoral degrees, 62 Masters degrees, 80 Honours degrees, 501 Bachelors degrees, 6 Diplomas and 4 postgraduate certificates that will be awarded, would have been completed in our four new Faculties.” 

PhD Graduates posing for a photo with Executive and senior managers outside Life Sciences building 

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education and Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law PhD graduates 

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture and Faculty of Health Sciences PhD graduates 

Happy Moments: ‘Lenna keya e nyaka kobo ya thuto’ 

Issued by: 

Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication 

University of Venda 

Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710 

Date: 23 November 2021 

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