Virtual July graduation

17 June 2021 | VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Dear colleagues and students

The university’s annual graduation is the highlight of our calendar. We celebrate and honour our students’ remarkable resilience and academic achievements. The past year leading up to the upcoming graduation has been full of unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still very much with us.

We are very proud of students who completed their study programmes in 2020 and are scheduled to graduate in July. While these graduation ceremonies will once again be held virtually, our enthusiasm for celebrating our students has never waned. We are inspired by this class of graduates who will forever be an example of strength within the UCT community. The virtual graduation ceremonies will take place from 12 to 19 July.

While celebrating in this way is far from ideal, it is in the interest of the safety of everyone within the university community. We are observing the health protocols put in place to mitigate the risk of spreading infection. All of the other traditional university events are taking place virtually as we cannot at this stage host large gatherings.

The ceremonies will be staged through online broadcast events which will be pre-recorded. The recordings will be available for viewing on all UCT’s social media platforms: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, through the UCT graduation web page and on the UCT News website.

The Chancellor, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, will officially confer degrees on all graduands who have successfully met all their academic requirements, including one posthumous award.

The faculty ceremonies are as follows:

Date Faculty Time
12 July Commerce 18:00
13 July Engineering & the Built Environment 18:00
14 July Health Sciences 18:00
15 July Humanities 18:00
16 July Law 18:00
19 July Science 18:00

Mr Guy Harris is the recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Medal, which will be awarded at the Commerce ceremony. Mr Harris is a UCT alumni and a qualified chartered accountant. He is passionate about promoting and supporting entrepreneurship and tackling unemployment through entrepreneurship.

Two honorary doctorates will be conferred, the first on Dr Norbert Ndjeka at the Health Sciences ceremony and the other on Dr Yogapragasen Pillay at the Humanities ceremony.

Dr Ndjeka has been the director of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB), Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV at the National Department of Health (NDoH) since 2009. His primary accomplishments have been in the area of DR-TB. Dr Ndjeka’s exceptional achievements in the treatment of DR-TB have resulted from a unique blend of public service, activism and research, and make him a worthy candidate for an honorary doctorate from UCT.

Over the past 25 years at the NDoH, Dr Pillay served under all five health ministers, moving through the ranks from director for systems development to deputy director-general, responsible for health programmes. He was an outspoken champion in the fight for health equity and improved health delivery for all South Africans, and this occurred despite the AIDS denialism among the country’s political leadership in the early 2000s.

The deans will convey their personal congratulatory messages to the graduands from their respective faculties and announce the UCT book award, fellowship and distinguished teacher awardees.

Graduation day is a very special day in the lives of our graduands, their families, friends, loved ones and sponsors who will no doubt be taking celebratory videos and photos. We encourage you to add to the festive spirit of the wonderful occasion by sharing these memorable moments using our hashtag: #UCTGrad2021. Pictures with captions can also be shared with our newsroom at We urge members of the university community to engage and participate on our social media platforms to celebrate with our graduands.

The broadcast links will be available on all our social platforms and through the UCT Graduation web page and on the UCT News website on the day of each ceremony just before the starting time.

Congratulations to all our graduands, we look forward to celebrating with you!


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

Read previous communications:

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.