Leadership Reflection

12 December 2023 Read time 3 min.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow. It takes courage to stand in a place you didn’t know existed. Change of any sort, requires courage … Courage to write a new story of your life with the pen of each day … of every moment.”

This excerpt from American author Mary Anne Radmacher’s poem epitomises the journey the Communication and Marketing Department (CMD) was thrust upon in 2022. Ours was a journey characterised by uncertainty and challenges not only internally within CMD with leadership changes; but within the broader University of Cape Town (UCT) community. It is a journey that required us to be courageous in the face of challenges; a journey that often required us to take it “one day at a time”. And through this journey, we had courageous conversations in the form of sessions facilitated by the Institute for Reconciliation and Justice (IJR), which were meant to build a spirit of camaraderie within the department.

The department traversed a number of storms that required copious amounts of level-headedness and quick thinking. Approximately two-thirds of the media queries received were in relation to one crisis or the other. The team responded to these while carrying the bulk of our internal communications needs and profiling exceptional students and staff who work hard to produce ground-breaking research and change lives through different initiatives within campus and in the broader community.

We successfully executed 69 projects, a key highlight being the UCT Africa Month celebrations, a project CMD collaborated on with the Department of Alumni Development (DAD) and the Faculty of Humanities, which led to a beautiful celebration of music and language and UCT’s announcement of plans to introduce Kiswahili as an elective language course in the School of Languages and Literatures.

Having completed the development phase of Drupal 9 over 2021, we worked on migrating the current Web Content Management System from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 as the current system not only has stability, performance and security issues; but reaches the end of life in November 2023.

While 2022 was a heavy year, continuing a spiral of challenges faced over the past three years, the team had a lot to celebrate in 2022. Among the many highlights, we won 13 Marketing, Advancement and Communication in Education (MACE) excellence awards; and two International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Gold Quaill awards, testament to the professionalism and hard work CMD staff members put into their work.

With all the curveballs thrown at CMD during 2022, the team hardly dropped the ball. Each person pulled their weight, often more than their weight, to ensure that UCT’s stories of excellence, transformation and sustainability were told. Everyone rose to the challenge, standing tall as a strong, reliable, professional, passionate team; and consistently showing commitment to the university and to CMD’s success. For that, we say thank you.

Aloy, Elijah, Olwen and Omphitlhetse
Communication and Marketing Department

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