Celebrating UCT’s 70 PhD graduates

16 April 2019 | Story Niémah Davids. Photos Michael Hammond. Read time 3 min.
VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng addresses PhD graduands, graduates and other distinguished guests at a special Graduation Lunch on Monday, 15 April.
VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng addresses PhD graduands, graduates and other distinguished guests at a special Graduation Lunch on Monday, 15 April.

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) bumper autumn graduation season is in full swing. As part of the week’s festivities on campus, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng hosted a special lunch reception to celebrate UCT’s PhD graduands, graduates and other honoured guests.

The gathering was held at Smuts Hall on upper campus on Monday, 15 April. Professor David Roger Jones Owen from Swansea University, who was conferred with an honorary doctorate in engineering on Saturday, as well as the recipient of the university’s Social Responsiveness Award, Kelvin Vollenhoven of the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) in the Faculty of Health Sciences, were also in attendance.

But the event was dedicated primarily to UCT’s 70 PhD graduands and graduates, with Phakeng thanking them for “keeping the African light shining bright” through their research. Thirteen are from the Faculty of Commerce; seven from Engineering & the Built Environment, 19 from Health Sciences, six from Humanities, eight from the Faculty of Law, and 17 from the Faculty of Science.

“It’s a massive achievement to be graduating with your PhD. You have devoted years of hard work [in order] to achieve it.

“Your work is an expression not just of your commitment to research, but of your hope to create and effect change. All this research is needed and invaluable,” Phakeng said.


“Your work is an expression not just of your commitment to research, but of your hope to create and effect change. All this research is needed and invaluable.”

Contributing to the global knowledge bank

“Each of you has worked day and night to prove the value of African-based research and to contribute to the global knowledge bank. You are living proof of UCT’s mission to be the best on this continent in research that makes a difference in people’s lives.”

UCT’s PhD graduands and graduates celebrate their achievements with VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng during the lunch held in their honour.

She extended a special thank you to the supervisors and family members in the audience.

“None of us are islands and we count on the consideration and support of our loved ones and the support of others in the academic community. Without them none of this would be possible.”

She urged the PhD graduands and graduates to use the knowledge gained during their research wisely, to keep sharing and developing it, and using it to effect change in South African communities, as well as on the continent and around the globe.

“We’re counting on your research to do that and to make us the best in Africa and for Africa,” Phakeng said.

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Graduation April 2019

The University of Cape Town honoured over 5 000 students during 14 graduation ceremonies that took place from Wednesday, 10 April until Thursday, 18 April 2019. During the 14 ceremonies – attended by about 14 000 people – 70 doctoral degrees and 383 master’s degrees were conferred. An honorary doctorate in engineering was be awarded to Professor David Roger Jones Owen on Saturday, 13 April 2019. Among the speakers at the various ceremonies were Judy Sikuza, deputy executive director of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation; Nkazi Sokhulu, co-founder and CEO of Yalu Financial Services; Sam Paddock, co-founder of GetSmarter and GetWine; UCT engineering alumnus Mavo Solomon; and Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.




Our stories: inspirational graduates

Fourth UCT degree for EMS director Medeé Rall, director of the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies at UCT, collects her fourth degree from the institution today – her PhD in education. 12 Apr 2019
‘Don’t allow your circumstances to define you’ Psychology graduand Minkateko Ndlovu (21) says she has emerged successful from three “tough” years at university because she decided not to allow her challenges to define her. 10 Apr 2019
‘I am somebody because of UCT’ With help from colleagues and classmates, graduand Mteteleli Jobela has beaten the odds and will be capped in the Sarah Baartman Hall tomorrow. 10 Apr 2019
Graduation part of queer activist’s mission Nigel Patel’s graduation is a stepping stone on the way to fulfilling their life’s mission to effect the decriminalisation of queerness. 09 Apr 2019
Master’s oceanography thesis ‘all at sea’ The inhospitable Southern Ocean is not a place from which any master’s graduand – not even an oceanographer – would choose to relay final changes to their thesis. 09 Apr 2019
‘This is my mother’s graduation’ While it’s his name on the degree, Ntebogang Segone says his 17 April graduation belongs to his mother. 08 Apr 2019
Women top UCT’s civil engineering honours class UCT women are making significant strides in civil engineering, where they account for six of the department’s 11 first-class honours students graduating this month. 08 Apr 2019
Making his ‘first lady’s’ dream come true When Sanele Mangena graduates with his BCom in economics and finance from UCT, he will make his mother’s dream come true. 05 Apr 2019
New script for shark survivor and drama graduand When a great white shark attacked Caleb Swanepoel in June 2015, he thought he would die. But a new script was being written for the April graduand. 05 Apr 2019
SA’s first deaf law graduate Qobo Ningiza refused to be put off by multiple rejections, and next week he will become South Africa’s first deaf law graduate. 04 Apr 2019
‘Imposter’ graduates with full suite of distinctions Severely burnt in a gas explosion 15 years ago, 24-year-old Aniek Nieuwenhuis has found new meaning in her life, defying the odds stacked against her. 04 Apr 2019