Hello students. Sanibonani. Molo!
I am very excited to speak with you today, the UCT student body.
I took office on 1 July and, in my capacity as the Vice-Chancellor, I now wish to formally greet you and welcome you back from your winter vacation. We will have many opportunities to engage each other, to work together and to make change happen, but for now I wanted to share just a couple of points.
I wish to express my profound gratitude to you, the student body, for doing your part in supporting my appointment. I am grateful for the privilege to lead such a world-class institution. So many of you tweeted, SMSed, emailed or offered your support when we met in corridors, meetings, at events or somewhere on campus. I am so grateful for your encouraging words. Thank you also for the hashtags and the selfies!
I assure you of my deepest commitment to carry on serving you during my term. It is my intention to work closely with and alongside the different student leadership structures across campus. I am committed to dealing with the many complexities we face, the issues that you, our students, feel strongly about, and to work tirelessly with you to resolve them and make UCT feel like home for each and every one of you.
As the Vice-Chancellor, I wish for you to know that I am here for your success. You are in many ways the heart of UCT, the very reason the institution exists at all. Your success is our proudest offering to the world. I hope to create relationships with you that will be mutually respectful and supportive, and that we will challenge each other to improve ourselves and the university.
Our vision is to be an inclusive, engaged and research-intensive African university. This is a great vision, one that is important for South Africa and the continent. My job is to advance this vision, and students have an important role to play in making it a reality. I will be demanding a great deal, especially from students in leadership roles across campus, just as I expect them to demand much from me.
I hope in this semester you will care for yourself, study extremely hard, accept the challenges of the degree, make your experience at UCT your own, ask for help when you need it, make your voice heard, and grow into the kind of person you want to be and help make this institution the kind of place you want it to be.
I know times may come when we may not be able to find each other on a specific issue. Rest assured that even during these moments you will remain one of my top priorities. Every decision I make will be in your best interest – not necessarily to make you feel good for now, but to make sure that you achieve an unimaginable level of success that sets you up for an excellent career.
This is a great time for UCT and a wonderful moment for you to be here. There are multiple challenges on our campus and in our society, but also multiple opportunities. Let us commit together to advance this wonderful institution, to transform it, to continue to transform ourselves, and to leave lasting changes that will improve UCT for future generations of students.
I wish you all the very best for a productive and stimulating second semester. I believe in you and your ability to achieve. Your success is my success. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish. Keep working, keep striving for better.
Enkosi. Mooi bly. Thank you again.
I will speak with you soon.
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
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