Staff show the right dress sense

04 July 2011 | Story by Newsroom

When the internationalisation policy was debated through UCT structures in 2006, there were many who thought that global excellence and local relevance would be uncomfortable bedfellows, says deputy vice-chancellor Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo.

Africa Day competition Africa Day best dressed
Rumble time: The winners of the Africa Day Best Dress Competition know how to celebrate, apparently. Here, with competition sponsor Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo (the well-behaved one in the middle of the rumpus) are (back row, from left) Justin de Klerk, Chivaugn Gordon and Ayesha Sasman, and (front row, from left) Natalie Allies, Nonqaba Mabuto, Sandiswa Ndlebe and Terisa Brandt. Local is lekke': This photo of Nonqaba Mabuto, Ayesha Sasman and Chivaugn Gordon, shot by Olivia Briton, earned the four the first prize in UCT's Africa Day Best Dress Competition.

Half a decade later, there is a great deal of comfort with UCT's African identity. And, as illustrated at the university's recent Africa Day celebrations, people are taking pride in their location and continental connections.

No more so than the staff who took part in this year's Africa Day Best Dress Competition, hosted by the International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO).

"What we wanted to do was generate at UCT some events that show how we feel about Africa Day," said Nhlapo. "Because in doing so we show how we feel about Africa."

And, judging by the effort shown by some participants, they feel a lot. Recently, that effort was rewarded at a prize-giving ceremony at IAPO's offices in the new student administration building on middle campus.

The winners - the participants and the photographers whose images underpinned the competition - were named and lauded. First prize went to Chivaugn Gordon, Nonqaba Mabuto, Ayesha Sasman and photographer Olivia Briton of UCT's Khayelitsha Cervical Cancer Screening Project (KCCSP).

It was Gordon who roused her colleagues to take their traditional attire out of the mothballs in the cupboard. (Even if they were other people's mothballs and cupboards, they confided.)

"When else do you get to wear it?" she asked them.

Similarly inspired were Natalie Allies and Sandiswa Ndlebe of the Finance Department, snapped by Justin de Klerk of the Properties & Services Department (P&S), who walked off with second prize. And third prize was won by Terisa Brandt, also of P&S, while De Klerk was again the winning shutterbug.

View the Africa Day photo album.

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