Bidding our retirees farewell

16 November 2020 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues and students

It is that time of the year when we bid farewell to those in the UCT community who have reached the milestone of retirement. If it was not for the pandemic, we would have celebrated this enormous achievement with an intimate dinner filled with joy, laughter and lots of dancing. However, right now we cannot put lives at risk and thus will not be able to carry on this tradition.

That is not to say that we are not going to celebrate those retiring in another way. We have created a feature page on the UCT News website, which includes the retirees’ names so that everyone is able to see who is bidding the university farewell. We encourage you to reach out to the retirees and share your memories, gratitude and well wishes with them.

Although we cannot dine and dance with the retirees this year, myself and the Chair of Council Ms Babalwa Ngonyama have recorded messages we would have shared at the dinner and these, along with photos and stories on some of our retirees, are also available on the feature page.

As our retirees hit the home straight in their careers, we know without a doubt that UCT will remain home to them. While their journey at UCT may be coming to an end, I look forward to hearing all about the new chapters in their lives. It is sure to be chapters full of excitement, new opportunities and most importantly much deserved relaxation.

To those retiring, thank you on behalf of the entire UCT community for your commitment and dedication to the university. It is because of people like you that we are continually ranked as best on the continent. You have carried us to where we are today and we will honour your contributions by continuing to give the best of ourselves.

I must make special mention of our two longest serving retirees: Jack Viljoen from the Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) department and Ramela Bhaga from the Sociology department. They have been at the university for an astounding 45 and 46 years respectively. Their absence will surely be felt throughout the university.

As educational television show host Fred Rogers once remarked, “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” We know that our retirees will enjoy the time that lies ahead and will remember that they will always be a part of the UCT family.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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