UCT treats new students to jamboree ahead of 2023 academic year

16 February 2023 | Story Kamva Somdyala. Photos Lerato Maduna. Videography Ruairi Abrahams and Boikhutso Ntsoko. Video Edit Ruairi Abrahams. Read time 4 min.
Students enjoy themselves at UCT’s official Welcome Festival.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) greeted newcomers on campus over the last few weeks and concluded activities on a joyous note by hosting a Welcome Festival on Thursday, 9 February. The event was broadcast on UCT Radio.

The rugby field on upper campus – where societies and sports clubs marketed themselves – was sprawling with students engaging in various activities on offer. There were also several speeches made, as well as live music for entertainment.

Addressing students at the event, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng: “I am looking forward to a year where we have a lot of activity in our partnership with students.

“I would also like for students to pay attention to issues of sustainability. We often focus on social sustainability, but it is important to also focus on environmental and financial sustainability. Whether you are a gardener, cleaner or professor – you have got to contribute to that vision.

“Take your learning into your hands.”

Welcome Festival
Students showed up in numbers to enjoy a day of fun-filled activities.


The executive director of the Department of Student Affairs (DSA), Pura Mgolombane, implored students to consult the department regarding issues around student wellness, student financial aid and student housing, among other things.

“We are here to support you and to provide different perspectives to help you flourish. For you to flourish, certain necessary conditions should be in place. Key among them is a humanising, caring, empathetic, compassionate and enabling environment,” said Mgolombane.

“In order to successfully and sustainably unleash your human potential, three Rs are a precondition.”

Welcome Festival
Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng interacts with students at the Welcome Festival.

“The first ‘R’ is for rekindling the dying embers of the soul. Give us an opportunity to know the authentic you, not as defined by others.

“Once we have rekindled the dying embers, we need to rehabilitate the soul for the soul to radiate. Once the soul radiates, then you will flourish ad infinitum [without end or limit].”

Welcome Festival
The day’s festivities get a thumbs up.

As the day progressed, students participated in sports, while a performance from the cheerleaders entertained the crowds. Responses from students on social media following the event have been as jovial as they looked on the day.

Students also had the opportunity to hear from the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) through its president, Hlengiwe Gugulethu Lisa Dube, who commended them for “clearly making the right choice” to study at UCT.

Welcome Festival
Students had the opportunity to show off their competitive side at the Welcome Festival.

Advocating for an inclusive institution

Dube introduced the SRC’s vision: Qhuba mfundi, sohlala silwa (keep going students, we will continue fighting).

“Our mission is a relentless and intersectional fight towards free decolonised education and [advocating] for an inclusive institution, mobilise students and further advance student activism across all levels of governance.”

Welcome Festival
Students engage with societies and sports clubs during the Welcome Festival at UCT.

She added: “Discover your purpose; cultivate your perception. You must understand your passion; you must understand your potential.”

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