A joyful welcome

14 February 2024 | Story Thandile Xesi. Photos Robin Thuynsma. Videography Ruairi Abrahams and Boikhutso Ntsoko. Video Edit Ruairi Abrahams. VP Team Roxanne Harris, Ruairi Abrahams, Boikhutso Ntsoko and Rozanne Engel. Read time 4 min.
Students had a fantastic time at the DSA annual Welcome Festival.

The Green Mile on University of Cape Town’s (UCT) upper campus buzzed with activities as new and returning students flocked to the Department of Student Affairs (DSA) annual Welcome Festival. The rugby field served as a hub for societies and sports clubs to showcase their offerings, while students engaged in various activities and enjoyed the lively atmosphere. The festival also featured a series of speeches and live musical performances, adding to the entertainment and excitement.

Addressing the students at the event, UCT Vice-Chancellor interim Emeritus Professor Daya Reddy extended a warm welcome to new and returning students, saying: “We are glad you have chosen to study at Africa’s top-rated university.

“UCT offers not only education of high quality in the programme of your choice, but also opportunities for personal growth, leadership training, relationship building and personal transformation.

“The Vision 2030 mission statement, which applies to all of us, sets a goal to unleash human potential for a fair and just society.”

Student well-being and success

The executive director of the DSA, Pura Mgolombane, encouraged the students to take advantage of the department’s resources and services. Mgolombane said that the DSA is available to assist students with a range of concerns, including student wellness, financial aid, housing and more.

“The DSA – from Student Housing and Residence Life to Student Governance, Orientation and Leadership, Student Undergraduate Financial Aid, the Student Wellness Service and the Executive Director’s office – undertakes to work with you to ensure that your lived experience at this university is humanising and that you flourish,” said Mgolombane.

Students embrace their competitive side at the lively Welcome Festival.

“We are here to support you and to provide different perspectives to help you succeed and flourish.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Transformation, Student Affairs and Social Responsiveness Professor Elelwani Ramugondo echoed Mgolombane’s sentiments: “Our first and foremost job is to represent your interests as students and [you] cannot doubt that we will do so.”

She added: “We do this with a very important structure [Students’ Representative Council], which is the main and apex body that governs student affairs.”

Students engaged in various sporting activities at the Welcome Festival.

Students also had the opportunity to hear from members of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC). Its president, Hlamulo Khorommbi, commended them: “You have made the right choice to study at UCT.”

‘Discover your potential beyond academics’

The SRC vice-president, Jeffery Mokoena, encouraged students to join societies of their choice to discover their potential beyond academics.

“Some of us would not be here representing you if we hadn’t taken the initiative to join societies of our choice,” said Mokoena.

“Your time at UCT is not only about your academic growth, but also about discovering your potential, engaging with others, and making your voices heard.”

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was present on the day and Mokoena encouraged students to “register to vote for the upcoming elections; and have a voice in the democratic process”.

As the day progressed, students engaged in athletic activities, while cheerleaders captivated the audience. Social media also buzzed with comments by enthusiastic students, reflecting on the joyful atmosphere that pervaded the day.

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