UNIVEN Students who attended the Official Opening of the 2023 academic year

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Venda, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni officially opened the 2023 academic year in an event that took place on Monday, 06 February 2023 in the University Auditorium. “Your academic journey has just begun, the progress of completing your studies and courses you have chosen would largely depend on how you conduct yourself. Always remember that the prize of success is hard work and dedication,” these were the words by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni as he welcomed the first entering students. The official opening ceremony marked the commencement of the 2023 academic year of the University.


The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Venda – Dr Bernard Nthambeleni

Dr Nthambeleni further told new students that success in life does not come easy. “All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them. You have now become the sole author of the next chapters of your story. You have the opportunity to determine the direction and the pace at which your story should go.” He encouraged first year students to vow to themselves that they will complete their studies within the minimum stipulated time for their respective degrees because most of them have passed matric with good grades. “We expect you to do very well in your chosen fields of study.”

Dr Nthambeleni told students and staff to make UNIVEN proud through their contributions, especially by being hard working, innovative, and ethical in their conduct.
He welcomed UNIVEN class of 2023 and recognised the 2022/2023 SRC leadership. “I am particularly impressed with the calibre of the young men and women who represent you in the SRC.” He cited that the UNIVEN SRC leadership has demonstrated a satisfactory level of understanding and maturity in handling difficult issues and dealing with serious challenges facing the higher education system. “As University management, we are committed to work with the SRC and University staff in general to create a conducive environment for teaching and learning.”

In his official opening address, he also expressed his appreciation to academic staff members and all-support staff who are ready to make 2023 a successful year for UNIVEN.

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal outlined how the students and staff can make meaningful contributions toward the implementation of the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. As he talked about the UNIVEN Strategic Plan 2021-2025 he said “In line with our motto of “Creating Future leaders,” we want to educate and produce leaders who not only have a command of the core knowledge in their chosen academic disciplines but who also possess the qualities needed to succeed in an increasingly socially, culturally, and technologically inter-connected, complex world”.

In addition, Dr Nthambeleni indicated that the University identified four (4) strategic thrusts to guide its direction for the next five (5) years with the focus on Student Centeredness and Engaged Scholarship; Entrepreneurial University; Attention to our governance frameworks to ensure outstanding Scholarship and Linkages, Partnerships, and Internationalisation.

He advised students to resist patriarchal ideologies that view and treat women as inferior to men and perpetuate violence against women and children. “As an institution of higher learning, we must lead in this fight of eradicating gender-based violence and embrace diversity in our campus,” said Dr Nthambeleni.
Dr Nthambeleni told the students at the University that they are always expected to live and uphold and adhere to the University values. He further advised first entering students in particular, to avoid drugs and alcohol abuse.

He continued to advise students to abide by the core values and guiding principles that the University subscribes to. He said, “We are driven by the following sets of values: We believe in Quality and Excellence, Accountability, Transparency, Integrity, Respect, Diversity, Social Responsibility and Community Engagement and lastly Ubuntu.”

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal informed the audience that the University has taken a decision that all first-year students will be expected to do a compulsory online Entrepreneurship course in partnership with Technological Higher Education Network South Africa and all our final year and Honours students will be required to do a compulsory Artificial Intelligence course partnering with the University of Johannesburg. Students will receive certificates upon completion at no cost to them.
“Our University should not only lead in research output but must provide relevant solutions that will contribute to South Africa’s development priorities, especially employment creation, poverty alleviation, food security, redress and development, nation building and promotion of human rights culture.”

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal pointed that the University of Venda is a well-managed institution of higher learning and for the past five years the University continued to achieve unqualified audit reports by the Auditor General South Africa.

When it comes to the Improved Facilities and Student Housing, Dr Nthambeleni reported that the University is nearing completion of facilities designed to cater for the needs of students living with disabilities.

During the ceremony, Dr Nthambeleni also handed over awards to students with outstanding performance from the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture, Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law, Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education and Faculty of Health Sciences as part of the Vice-Chancellor’s Student Academic Excellence Awards.


Director of Centre for Higher Education Teaching and Learning (CHETL) – Dr Lindiwe Mulaudzi

Director of Centre for Higher Education Teaching and Learning (CHETL) Dr Lindiwe Mulaudzi gave the background of the Vice-Chancellor’s Student Academic Excellence Awards. In her brief talk, she said that another significance is the awarding of Vice Chancellor’s Student Academic Excellence Awards and we do this with great excitement since for the past two years, we have not been able to award best students due to the compulsory Covid-19 hiatus. The following are awards categories: Foundation, First year, Second- and Third-year students. In terms of prizes, Foundation and First year receive an amount of R8000, 2nd year: R9000.00 and 3rd year: R10 000.00. 20% of the award is in cash while 80% is in kind and the awardee may choose from items such as tuition fees, book, accommodation etc. A trophy is awarded to the best overall student at each level and to the best overall performer. Ms C Maravanyika, a Second-Year student in the Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law was announced as the best overall student performer of the Vice-Chancellor`s Student Academic Excellence awards 2023. She received her award in absentia. The main reason for the awards is to promote the culture of teaching and learning in all faculties. The awards are a recognition of hard work by both students and lecturers. They are given at the beginning of the academic year to honour students’ outstanding performance of the previous year and to motivate all students to aim for the stars.


University Registrar – Advocate Edward Lambani

To conclude the official opening of the Academic year 2023 the University Registrar, Advocate Edward Lambani congratulated first entering students for passing their matric and managing to register for the programmes of their choice at UNIVEN. He said, “You are authors of your success stories, your behaviour, your lifestyle and conduct will determine your future.” He stated that the event was a success and acknowledged the sponsorship received from Mr Andries Ndlovu, from Standard Bank.

Below photos: The Vice-Chancellor posed with some of the students with outstanding performance during the Vice-Chancellor’s Student Academic Excellence Awards.

Prof Bongani Bantwini when announcing top performers of the Vice Chancellor’s Student Academic Excellence Awards


Dr Takalani Dzaga when facilitating the programme


Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525/8710
Date: 10 February 2023

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