As the University of Cape Town (UCT) hosted the 2023 UCT Annual Staff Awards to honour exceptional individuals who have dedicated years of commitment to the institution, some staff members reflected on memorable moments that made their journey worthwhile.
For Valencia Betela, the 35 years of working in the Properties and Services (P&S) department have been marked by a deep sense of purpose, passion, and unwavering commitment to her work. She attributes her success to her faith and her dedication to doing what she loves.
“Working for UCT to me is an honour, I pride myself [on being] associated with such an amazing organisation. I think what has been [a] highlight for me is putting God first in everything. [My commitment] to this institution is doing what I love and what I am passionate about.”
Despite facing numerous challenges along the way, Betela persevered with hard-work, communication and understanding. For her, UCT is more than just a place of work – it’s a source of pride, inspiration, and joy.
“The road to 35 years was not easy; there were a lot of challenges on the way but no challenge defeats dedication, hard work, communication and understanding. The institution is one of the top universities and it excites me so much to be part of the contribution that makes it stand out!”
Long Service Awards
Betela was among five employees who received the 35-year long service award. Others are Beverly Ann Bailey (Finance), Karin Braaf (P&S), Arlene Tanya Hanmer (ICTS) and Nomonde Monica Mpangele (P&S).
Also recognised at the ceremony were 205 staff members for the 15-year long service award; and 31 staff members for the 25-year long service award.
For Boyce Silimela, it was support he got following a crippling accident 12 years ago that will stay with him forever.
“My 15 years working for the university have been incredibly rewarding. The working conditions have always been great, but UCT went above and beyond when I was involved in an accident in 2011 and lost my leg. They have been very supportive, and even moved me to a smaller workspace to ensure that I continue to work efficiently,” said Silimela.
“Their support throughout this difficult time has been invaluable, and I’m incredibly grateful. Here’s to many more years of satisfaction and success,”
Elma van Rooyen described her journey at UCT as both fulfilling and challenging.
“Fifteen years is a very long time, and it has been quite a ride. There has been lots of ups and downs, but mostly ups.”
Suwayba van Wyk said: “Receiving such an award is momentous, the journey has not been easy but I’m grateful for what I have achieved.”
For Layini, UCT is more than just a workplace – it’s a family. The environment, she said, is stimulating and supportive, fostering a sense of connection and camaraderie that goes beyond the typical employer–employee relationship.
“UCT is a place where one feels a sense of belonging and purpose, where one can thrive both personally and professionally. I have had a good time at this university and this award is a symbol of steadfast dedication and unwavering determination.”
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please view the republishing articles page for more information.