Virtual July graduation ceremonies and other updates

07 July 2021 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues and students

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) virtual July graduation ceremonies are scheduled to take place next week. Read more about how the university will be honouring and celebrating with the graduates, and other updates, below.

1. Virtual July graduation ceremonies

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the academic programme, the university will celebrate and pay homage to the sterling job of a resilient crop of students who defied the challenges and managed to complete their programmes of study. These students qualified to graduate as part of the virtual ceremonies to be broadcast on 12 to 19 July.

UCT is very proud of these students. While these graduation ceremonies will once again be held virtually, the enthusiasm for celebrating students’ achievements has never waned. Although celebrating in this way is far from ideal, it is in the interest of the safety of everyone within the university community.

UCT Chancellor Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe will officiate at all graduation ceremonies.

The Communication and Marketing Department has produced graduation-specific social media assets, which are available for graduands and their families to use.

There are two elements available:

  • UCT Facebook profile picture frames: This feature allows graduands to change their Facebook profile pictures using a UCT graduation gown and a range of other UCT branded frames. Some examples of Facebook profile picture frames have been posted on the UCT Twitter page.
  • UCT stickers for Instagram and Facebook stories: This feature allows users to add UCT branded stickers to their Instagram and Facebook stories.

Video tutorials and step-by-step guidelines are available on the graduation feature page on the UCT News website:

UCT encourages graduands to screenshot their social media images (with both frames and stickers) and post these across social media using #UCTGrad2021 and tagging @UCT_News. Pictures with captions can also be emailed to the UCT newsroom.

2. UCT Instagram launch

UCT is now on Instagram. Follow the official UCT Instagram page @University_of_Cape_Town for the latest news, fun snaps of campus and student life, events and much more. Share with us your pictures and videos on Instagram about what makes you proud to be part of the UCT community using #MYUCT and tagging UCT. The three most creative photos or videos shared by 31 July will be selected and featured on the UCT Instagram page.

3. Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA)

UCT has established a Privacy Programme aimed at ensuring that the principles of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), which has recently come into effect, are implemented at the institution.

For general information on the principles of POPIA, see the USAf POPIA guideline for public universities as well as the two infographics on POPIA as distributed previously. An awareness training session was offered on 7 June 2021. The video recording of this training is available online. You may connect to the Teams group to access the internal repository for UCT POPIA information.

4. How UCT will manage the rest of the 2021 academic year

Following the announcement of South Africa’s return to adjusted lockdown Level 4 on 27 June, and after thorough consultation with faculties, the university arrived at the most viable way of dealing with the impact of the lockdown on the first semester exams. University staff are working hard to manage the changing lockdown levels with as little disruption as possible to the academic project.

Please note that the details shared in the VC Desk apply to all faculties, except the Faculty of Health Sciences. The faculty will manage their calendar within the general parameters while taking into account the specific needs of their programmes.

5. Suspension of students on sexual assault allegations

Two students have been suspended by the university in relation to the recent allegations of sexual assault. The students have been suspended with immediate effect, in accordance with the university’s disciplinary procedures. One student is a respondent in a sexual assault case, while the second is suspended for his involvement in the case. The university executive is treating the matter with the urgency and seriousness it demands and will ensure that due process is followed and that the matter is concluded as speedily as possible.

6. Update on UCT’s COVID-19 cases

As at 1 July, the university has 399 reported cases of COVID-19 among non-health sciences staff members, with 351 recoveries. The number of students who have tested positive stands at 167, with 161 recoveries. The university has lost 19 staff members and three students to the virus.

7. SWS offers free Mindfulness training to students

To help students reduce stress and to use trauma as a pathway to embodied wisdom, the Student Wellness Service (SWS) invites students to join a free virtual eight-week Mindfulness course on Thursdays, 18:00 to 19:30. Sessions started on 1 July 2021. Mindfulness is scientifically proven to assist physical and mental well-being; manage stress, pressure, anxiety and depression; increase stamina for fitness and sports training; and aid in reaching full potential at work and home.

Sign up for the free SWS Mindfulness course via email with your full name, student number and area of study.

8. UCT Open Textbook Award

Nominations are still open for the UCT Open Textbook Award. The award may be made to single- or multiple-authored books. No restriction is placed on disciplinary orientation, language or format in which the book is written. There is also no restriction in terms of the publication date of the work. All nominated works must carry a Creative Commons or similar open licence.

For more information, please visit the UCT Open Textbook Award page on the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching website.


Communication and Marketing Department


Read previous communications:

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.

UCT’s response to COVID-19

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March 2020 and to implement a national lockdown from 26 March 2020. UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.

Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, has in June 2022 repealed some of South Africa’s remaining COVID-19 regulations: namely, sections 16A, 16B and 16C of the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions under the National Health Act. We are now no longer required to wear masks or limit gatherings. Venue restrictions and checks for travellers coming into South Africa have now also been removed.


Campus communications


Adjusting to our new environment 16:50, 23 June 2022
VC Open Lecture and other updates 17:04, 13 April 2022
Feedback from UCT Council meeting of 12 March 2022 09:45, 18 March 2022
Chair of Council
March 2022 graduation celebration 16:45, 8 March 2022
Report on the meeting of UCT Council of 21 February 2022 19:30, 21 February 2022
Chair of Council
COVID-19 management 2022 11:55, 14 February 2022
Return to campus arrangements 2022 11:15, 4 February 2022

UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre

On Wednesday, 20 July, staff from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences came together with representatives from the Western Cape Government at the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre at Forest Hill Residence to acknowledge the centre’s significance in the fight against COVID-19 and to thank its staff for their contributions. The centre opened on 1 September 2021 with the aim of providing quality vaccination services to UCT staff, students and the nearby communities, as well as to create an opportunity for medical students from the Faculty of Health Sciences to gain practical public health skills. The vaccination centre ceased operations on Friday, 29 July 2022.

With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.


“After almost a year of operation, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, located at the Forest Hill residence complex in Mowbray, will close on Friday, 29 July 2022. I am extremely grateful and proud of all staff, students and everyone involved in this important project.”
– Vice-Chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.

Thank You UCT Community

Frequently asked questions


Global Citizen Asks: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe & Effective?

UCT’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) collaborated with Global Citizen, speaking to trusted experts to dispel vaccine misinformation.

If you have further questions about the COVID-19 vaccine check out the FAQ produced by the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation (DTHF). The DTHF has developed a dedicated chat function where you can ask your vaccine-related questions on the bottom right hand corner of the website.

IDM YouTube channel | IDM website


“As a contact university, we look forward to readjusting our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in 2023 as the COVID-19 regulations have been repealed.”
– Prof Harsha Kathard, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.