“This is my second university I have worked for. I enjoy working with students; all my life I have worked with students. What I remember most is the students’ way of communications, their jokes! It became apparent to me, as a parent, if I treat students like my own [then] there are students that treat me like a parent. It shows me that they value me in life.
“There was one time that I lost my job because I was informed by HR that I shouldn’t be in the Western Cape, but in Ciskei because in those years, we were not allowed in Cape Town. If a person has been in Cape Town for 10 years, one could stay in the Western Cape. At that time, I already had 10 years’ experience working in Lanzerac Hotel from 1974 to 1978 and the University of Stellenbosch from 1978 to 1984. The late Professor Tim Dunne (then Warden at College House) personally took me to Nontsumpa in Nyanga to sort out my problem. I am grateful to him to this day.
“There are big changes that have happened over the years. The Pass Laws pushed us in a corner. I now see a lot of change in the workplace. In those days I felt like a ‘slave’. Nowadays, I have rights and access to everything. I feel honoured and have a sense of being. I am part of the university and not the outsider as it used to be.
“At the library, where most of my colleagues will know me as Timothy Dlelapantsi, I was given the opportunity to be responsible. I was encouraged and as a result moved four pay classes to where I am today. I am leaving the library, but I am thankful to [here]. It is where I had worked in a good environment and people treated me as a human being. I am going to miss the people I have worked with for 20 years.”
Belinda Southgate says working at the university has helped her purchase her own home, car and enabled her to travel the world.
“It’s been such a positive adventure working at UCT and even though 35 years sounds like a really long time, it feels like just the other day to me. I remember the library specifically being a bit of a dull place, but it has evolved into a more inviting space and continues to evolve into a space conducive to teaching and learning for staff and students. In addition to new buildings going up, there are constant renovations taking place.
“A wonderful highlight was when President Mandela was awarded an honorary degree by the university on 30 November 1990 and I could bring my ten-year-old daughter along to witness this historic event which took place on the rugby fields.
“Another stand-out moment was when UCT celebrated 175 years of its existence in 2004. Some of my colleagues and I felt so special attending a few of the events.
“There are countless colleagues with whom I have been privileged to work with and learn from over the years. I love working in the libraries as it caters to my need to be of service, productive, orderly, quiet, introspective, to impart information and has been the calm amidst the challenges which beset us all from time to time.
“I appreciated immensely the staff professionalism which I encountered from the moment I was employed at UCT. Job security and earning a regular salary has enabled me to travel extensively, own a house and a car, raise my daughter as a single mother, do voluntary work, pay attention to my health and well-being, plan for my future and retirement.”
Recipients of the 35-year Long Service award
Willie John Slaverse – Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment
Mark Kevin Christians – Faculty of Science
Faezah Davids – Faculty of Science
Riedewaan Jacobs – Information and Communication Technology Services
Lionel Keith Smidt – Office of the Registrar
Desmond Simpson – Properties and Services
William Claasen – Student Affairs
Ernest Mandla Simelela – Student Affairs
Beverline Engelbrecht – Student Housing & Residence Life
Russel Owen Williams – University Libraries
Asia Khanam Brey – Faculty of Commerce
Sokhaya Timothy Dlelapantsi – University Libraries
Belinda Theresa Southgate – University Libraries