It’s a wrap: Week-long graduation festival draws to an end

05 April 2023 | Story Helen Swingler. Photos Michael Hammond. Read time 9 min.
Three graduation ceremonies were held for the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment on the final day of the week-long graduation season in the Sarah Baartman Hall.
Three graduation ceremonies were held for the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment on the final day of the week-long graduation season in the Sarah Baartman Hall.

The Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment (EBE) capped seven doctoral candidates, as well as 98 master’s and 137 honours candidates among their 686 graduands on the closing day of a bumper 15-ceremony, a joyful week of celebration in the Sarah Baartman Hall.

Among the highlights were the awards of 56 PhDs to doctoral graduands across UCT’s six academic faculties. In addition, honorary doctorates were awarded to climate change champion Dr Debra Roberts and Her Excellency ǂXuu Katrina Esau, a San language and culture teacher and activist.

To accommodate the university’s eye-popping March total tally of 5 214 graduands, multiple faculty graduation sessions were held through the week. The morning’s EBE ceremony saw the first of a total cohort of 686 graduate in the first of three ceremonies.

As Interim Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Professor Daya Reddy said in a 23 March communiqué to the campus community, graduations are the highlight of UCT’s academic calendar and the culmination of much hard work, dedication and resilience – as well as the support of a community of family, guardians and friends.

Emeritus Professor Reddy also recognised the efforts of staff who worked flat out behind the scenes to ensure a seamless graduation.

Music and voice talents

Continuing the proud tradition of including the “home-grown” vocal and musical talent of UCT’s South African College of Music (SACM) and Opera UCT, the graduation procession was led by Sky Dladla and BlackRoots Marimbas. The Gugulethu band is made up of UCT students and alumni and recently returned from Germany, where they participated in an instrument-building reality show. Members Keketso Bolofo and Ntombekhaya Halam graduated last Wednesday.

Imbongi (praise singer) Siphokazi Jonas is one of South Africa’s most prolific spoken word poets, and her work has featured nationally and internationally.

The procession prelude music and the national anthem were accompanied on the organ by Dale de Windt, who also graduated last Wednesday. De Windt is completing a postgraduate diploma in organ performance.

Pianist Seiren Wi accompanied bass Reuben Mbonambi, who sang “I got plenty o’ nuttin” from the musical Porgy & Bess by George Gershwin. Reuben graduated last Wednesday. He came third in the International Belvedere Competition last year and will head to Europe in August to continue his studies.

And in a fitting message to the morning’s cohort, master’s graduate and imbongi (praise singer) Siphokazi Jonas delivered a rousing praise poem, reminding graduands to hold onto their dreams.


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