The University of Venda (UNIVEN) hosted a successful virtual graduation ceremony on Wednesday, 23 June 2021 for students who have completed their studies at the end of the 2020 academic year. Due to Alert Level 3 regulations announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 15 June 2021, as in 2020, this graduation ceremony took place under conditions imposed by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
This graduation ceremony is taking place when South Africa is celebrating Youth Month and UNIVEN is proud to announce the story of a 31-year-old, Dr Frank Moffat who is the first student who studied his first undergraduate degree until Doctoral degree at UNIVEN since the University’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning was established.
Mr Murendwa Success Munarini from the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences scooped the Best Overall and Senate Medallion award because of his excellent performance as an undergraduate student.
In the University’s 39th year of existence, UNIVEN’s Chancellor Adv Mojankunyane Gumbi conferred degrees, diplomas and certificates to 2578 graduates. The University awarded 2265 undergraduate degrees, 224 Honours Degrees, 56 Master’s Degrees and 33 Doctoral degrees. 58% of the class of 2020 graduates were female while male graduates constitute 42%.
When speaking to the graduates, Chancellor Adv Gumbi mentioned that, “among other things, you should at all times strive to be civic-spirited professionals, community members and citizens who make history and not mere objects of history devoid of agency’’. In her congratulatory message she said “None of us needs any education about the fact that poverty, inequality and underdevelopment on the one hand; and poor leadership on the other, are some of our country’s and the continent’s primary problems and challenges. They define the destiny of many Africans, now and in the future. Their fusion produces a cocktail of other horror stories such as socio-political instability, conflict, corruption, illicit financial outflows from our countries and a parasitical rent-seeking elite which is, for all intents and purposes, more foreign in its thinking and loyalty than it is local”.
“Having understood the principal contradiction and all its aspects, the challenge before us is to evolve a practical remedial programme that finds resonance with the broadest sections of society, much as it is implementable. Such a programme should outlive five-year government administrations and hopefully party politics. It is not enough merely to repeat that we are poor, underdeveloped and marginalised even as we are rich with highly sought-after raw materials which have kept the factories of the developed north going since the advent of colonialism. It is time to do something about it. The high unemployment rate should not scare us. We should see it, together with the advent of new technologies, as an opportunity to create new areas of work”.
Adv Gumbi indicated that as the University marks 40 years of existence next year, we should continue to strengthen the good work that the University does, much as we should consider new programmes and approaches which respond to the plethora of local and national challenges.
In his welcoming message, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Venda, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni said “We are so proud of your accomplishments. We are also proud of your unique experiences, and life stories that you brought to this University. “Over the past few years, we have seen you grow and flourish despite many challenges and obstacles you have encountered. Together with your families, you have made great sacrifices to achieve this goal”, added Dr Nthambeleni.
Dr Nthambeleni indicated as he continued with his address that the 2021 academic year marks the first year of the implementation of UNIVEN new Strategic Plan (2021-2025), which is essentially a blueprint that presents the University’s new vision and also identifies the institutional strategic focus areas together with strategic objectives that as the University we aspire to achieve by 2025. He further said “this Strategic Plan has been developed to help us steer the University towards realisation of its full potential. It will also help us in our endeavour to position the University for impact and relevance”.
“To achieve greater institutional efficiency in implementing the strategic plan and optimising resource allocation and utilisation, the new academic structure as underpinned by a shift from former School to current Faculty configuration has been established, which culminated into current four Faculties to be headed by the Executive Deans (some of whom have already joined the University). The four faculties include the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education; Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law; Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture; and Faculty of Health Sciences.
Dr Nthambeleni also informed the graduates about the new positions that were created to strengthen the University’s focus which are the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Innovation and Postgraduate Studies , as well as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and all these positions were created as part of executive management.
Driven by the University motto which is ‘Creating Future Leaders’, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal advised UNIVEN graduates to go and make impact in their communities. He further told them to equip themselves to be life-long learners and keep abreast of changes and become active and valuable members of their communities.
The Vice- Chancellor and Principal expressed that it was not possible for UNIVEN to hold and celebrate the 2021 graduation in a traditional way. Due to the COVID-19 protocols, like many other universities here in South Africa and elsewhere, the University SENATE took a decision to continue hosting this year graduation ceremony virtually. “However, we have made a provision for our graduates, to celebrate this special day by hosting a two-week long celebratory sessions on campus under strict Covid-19 UNIVEN guidelines after the formal virtual graduation ceremony.
Graduates were informed that the Office of the University Registrar will be inviting graduates in small groups to come to campus on different days to collect their certificates. Graduates will be allowed to bring along a maximum of three family members for family photographs that will be taken by the University’s professional photographers, Gordon Harris.
In his conclusion, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal acknowledged parents, guardians, lecturers and University support staff as well as sponsors and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme for their profound care and support during the time that graduates spent at the University.
Issued by: Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 23 June 2021