Executive reflection

28 February 2023

In 2021 the Communication and Marketing Department (CMD) achieved so much despite some incredibly trying personal and professional periods. Without a doubt, we would not have made it through the year without perseverance, professionalism and patience.


Regardless of what this year and COVID-19 tried to challenge us with we persevered. We delivered a dignified farewell to our former Vice-Chancellor, the late Dr Stuart Saunders. We hosted Parent Orientation 2021 and produced a magnificent campaign around that. We marked one year of living and working with COVID-19, through a touching ceremony.

And then the tragedy of 18 April, the fire. For at least a month thereafter, we were still producing communications and content relating to the fire disaster. We kept our community informed of how the University of Cape Town (UCT) was to rebuild better, what was lost. Most importantly during this period, we also assisted with salvage drives and marked the significant loss by sincerely supporting and recognising the impact of this devastating moment on our UCT Libraries colleagues. All of you went above and beyond during this period, and we know some of you even volunteered your time or donated goods to affected students and staff. Thank you for embodying social responsiveness during this time.

We hosted globally attended VC Open Lectures, created exceptional July 2021 Graduation experiences. We launched two significant UCT projects back-to-back, that is the UCT Online High School and the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre – both projects demonstrating that we continue to make good progress towards working as an integrated department. And as always, we persevered through an incredibly demanding end of year period, with important events, campaigns and media engagements all coming together excellently.


Since COVID-19 stuck around for much longer than anticipated, we enhanced our COVID-19 communications campaigns. Brand and Stakeholder Relations (BSR) delivered new Vision 2030 branded goods and ran a successful trial selling branded clothing on Takealot. The Newsroom and Video Production (NVP) delivered CMD’s first beautiful online annual review. The Media and Social Media (MSM) continued to carry the bulk of our internal communications needs while garnering major Public Relations wins. MSM launched UCT’s presence on Instagram, an opportunity for us to profile and celebrate the UCT community. Online Communications (OC) completed the development phase of Drupal 9, a major project milestone. The Executive Support Unit (ESU) supported us by ensuring our invoices and HR paperwork were processed efficiently and helped plan our informal face-to-face meetings in 2021 when we were under different lockdown levels.

We cannot talk about professionalism without celebrating all of our wins, namely, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and Marketing, Advancement and Communication in education (MACE) awards, a total of 27 by our informal count. This demonstrates our commitment to delivering excellent work as CMD for UCT.

Thank you everyone for all you did professionally for the institution, department and your colleagues.


Perhaps the most important ingredient to our shared successes over 2021 has been patience. The patience we demonstrated: towards each other and colleagues, to operate often within the unknowns and towards ourselves. Thank you for doing more than what was asked of you, for caring, for showing up even if it was behind Teams screens, for your compassion and humour when we needed to blow off steam.

We know that the perseverance, professionalism and patience you have demonstrated in 2021, will carry us well into the future at CMD.

Gerda, Kylie and Olwen
Communication and Marketing Department

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