Gratitude to all for dedication and hard work

09 April 2020 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues, students and other members of the university community

We are approaching the two-week mark of the national lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa. This is part of a global effort to stop the pandemic. It has required discipline from every individual and I am very grateful for all that each one of you is doing in your respective roles to keep the university going during this difficult time. Our lives have changed dramatically and every member of the University of Cape Town (UCT) community has had to adapt to a new and demanding reality.

While no one knows yet what will happen on 16 April 2020 (the date that has been set for the end of the lockdown), as a community we will have to respond to what is to come. This will take an extraordinary collective effort.

Across South Africa, higher education institutions are facing similar challenges and seeking inventive, sustainable solutions. There are sector-wide considerations being worked out in the spirit of protecting the academic endeavour and the future of higher education. As vice-chancellors across the sector, we are discussing problems and sharing insights.

I want to assure you of the commitment of the UCT executive and the Leadership Lekgotla (comprising the deans and executive directors) to do all that is practically possible to steer the institution through this difficult and uncertain time to the new normal. At all levels of our institution, colleagues are working extremely hard to ensure that the academic enterprise and its many necessary support operations continue, even in this new, remote working environment.

The hard work that is necessary to shift to online learning is placing enormous additional pressure on academics in particular, but also on the professional, administrative and support staff who contribute to the online enterprise with their expertise. In addition, the complexities of the times are demanding from all a new level of flexibility, transparency, and action-oriented adjustments to protect the academic enterprise and our institution. UCT’s response to COVID-19 is an enormous undertaking, requiring us to overcome multiple challenges, and I am humbled by the efforts I am seeing in our community. We owe a debt of deep gratitude to those involved in this undertaking.

But these are not the only heroes at UCT: across the entire institution, staff members and students are making extraordinary efforts – from their homes, working remotely, they are responding with resilience, creativity and endurance. Thank you!

Many members of the UCT community are volunteering to help serve people with many different needs. Experts and specialists are assisting at provincial or national level, serving on the front-line of this health battle. There are many other examples of the collective efforts of departments and teams, all of them focusing their creativity, energy and selfless commitment to keep UCT’s services and systems in working order.

The necessity to work remotely, coupled with the difficulties of lockdown, is putting unprecedented additional pressure on everyone. Colleagues are working harder than before, in more complex circumstances, as they deal with the demands of home, family and work in the same time frame and space. Students are facing their own complexities as they prepare for the possibility of studying while at home. The practice of social distancing is demanding in itself. It takes special, focused effort to keep from feeling isolated.

It is absolutely necessary to reach out to each other in a positive way during this time. One of the sure ways to overcome this challenge, as a community and as an institution, is to make a committed effort to connect with each other: with loved ones, with social groups, with networks and teams, albeit in a new way and with perhaps a renewed commitment to support and to hold one another.

It is uplifting to hear about members of the UCT community finding creative ways to do exactly that. Colleagues, for instance, are settling into new ways of working, finding ways to balance the 24/7 demands and to remain healthy and positive in their outlook. It is so important for each of us to take responsibility for our own wellness and for those around us. This is a commitment we all can make to ourselves and to those we love.

Another important commitment is to seek help when we need it. If you are battling with the stress of lockdown, please make use of the services that are available to UCT staff and students, even while you are off campus.

Every effort, no matter how small and personal, is a source of hope, along with all the tireless efforts being made on a provincial and national level to bring the pandemic under control. And for these efforts, both great and small, I thank each of you.

Please visit the Coronavirus Disease 2019 page on the UCT website regularly for more information and updates.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 updates

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.

UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated regularly with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.

Frequently asked questions


Daily updates

Friday, 5 February 14:20, 5 February 2021
Monday, 4 January 16:50, 4 January 2021
Friday, 18 December 11:30, 18 December 2020
Thursday, 19 November 09:30, 19 November 2020
Friday, 13 November 12:40, 13 November 2020
Friday, 16 October 10:05, 16 October 2020
Wednesday, 14 October 12:50, 14 October 2020
Tuesday, 22 September 14:10, 22 September 2020
Friday, 11 September 10:05, 11 September 2020
Monday, 31 August 12:20, 31 August 2020
Wednesday, 12 August 10:20, 12 August 2020
Friday, 7 August 11:24, 7 August 2020
Thursday, 6 August 18:26, 6 August 2020
Monday, 27 July 14:00, 27 July 2020
Wednesday, 15 July 09:30, 15 July 2020
Monday, 13 July 14:25, 13 July 2020
Monday, 6 July 16:20, 6 July 2020
Thursday, 25 June 10:15, 25 June 2020
Tuesday, 23 June 12:30, 23 June 2020
Thursday, 18 June 17:35, 18 June 2020
Wednesday, 17 June 10:45, 17 June 2020
Tuesday, 2 June 12:20, 2 June 2020
Friday, 29 May 09:25, 29 May 2020
Monday, 25 May 14:00, 25 May 2020
Thursday, 21 May 12:00, 21 May 2020
Wednesday, 6 May 10:00, 6 May 2020
Tuesday, 5 May 17:05, 5 May 2020
Thursday, 30 April 17:10, 30 April 2020
Tuesday, 28 April 10:30, 28 April 2020
Friday, 24 April 09:35, 24 April 2020
Thursday, 23 April 17:00, 23 April 2020
Wednesday, 22 April 14:25, 22 April 2020
Monday, 20 April 17:45, 20 April 2020
Friday, 17 April 12:30, 17 April 2020
Thursday, 16 April 09:45, 16 April 2020
Tuesday, 14 April 11:30, 14 April 2020
Thursday, 9 April 09:00, 9 April 2020
Wednesday, 8 April 15:40, 8 April 2020
Wednesday, 1 April 15:50, 1 April 2020
Friday, 27 March 11:40, 27 March 2020
Thursday, 26 March 18:30, 26 March 2020
Tuesday, 24 March 15:40, 24 March 2020
Monday, 23 March 15:40, 23 March 2020
Friday, 20 March 16:00, 20 March 2020
Thursday, 19 March 09:15, 19 March 2020
Wednesday, 18 March 16:00, 18 March 2020
Tuesday, 17 March 12:50, 17 March 2020
Monday, 16 March 17:15, 16 March 2020

Campus communications


New SRC and other updates 16:44, 4 November 2020
Virtual graduation ceremonies 13:30, 21 October 2020
Online staff assembly and other updates 15:09, 30 September 2020
Fee adjustments and other updates 15:21, 16 September 2020
Call for proposals: TLC2020 10:15, 26 August 2020
SAULM survey and other updates 15:30, 5 August 2020
COVID-19 cases and other updates 15:26, 5 August 2020
New UCT Council and other updates 15:12, 15 July 2020
Upcoming UCT virtual events 09:30, 15 July 2020
Pre-paid data for UCT students 14:25, 22 April 2020
Update for postgraduate students 12:55, 20 April 2020
UCT Human Resources and COVID-19 16:05, 19 March 2020
UCT confirms second COVID-19 case 09:15, 19 March 2020
Update on UCT COVID-19 response 13:50, 11 March 2020
Update on COVID-19 17:37, 6 March 2020


Video messages from the Department of Medicine

Getting credible, evidence-based, accessible information and recommendations relating to COVID-19

The Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, are producing educational video material for use on digital platforms and in multiple languages. The information contained in these videos is authenticated and endorsed by the team of experts based in the Department of Medicine. Many of the recommendations are based on current best evidence and are aligned to provincial, national and international guidelines. For more information on UCT’s Department of Medicine, please visit the website.

To watch more videos like these, visit the Department of Medicine’s YouTube channel.

Useful information from UCT

External resources

News and opinions

Statements and media releases

Media releases

Read more  

Statements from Government


In an email to the UCT community, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly changing epidemic. [...] Information [...] will be updated as and when new information becomes available.”


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.