The University of the Western Cape conferred 16 doctorates, 74 master’s degrees, 10 honours degrees, 403 undergraduate degrees and 241 diplomas and certificates.
In total, the University conferred just under 5 000 degrees, diplomas and certificates in 2019.
During today’s ceremonies, UWC’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, commented on the pride, joy and excitement on the faces of students and parents as their journey ended in success.
He said, “Graduation is about celebrating the successful completion of your academic endeavours that has meant many years of hard work, commitment and dedication. Being here today means that you have made the right and best choices about your future…to all our graduands – congratulations and well done.
“To the parents, guardians and loved ones here – our deep appreciation for standing by and supporting our students. We will not know many of the extreme sacrifices that you have had to make to ensure that this graduation happens. We thank you for supporting our students and offer our congratulations,” said Prof Pretorius.
For many students, like social worker Johan Fourie, obtaining their degrees came with years of sacrifice and unwavering determination. He forfeited his studies to care for his mother who was diagnosed with cancer. When he returned to the University, he discovered that he had cancer too.
Fourie, who was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia in May this year, graduated cum laude in social work.
“It was very important to me and a major accomplishment because I come from a home where the highest qualification for my parents was Grade 3. I value the opportunity to become a qualified social worker and to be able to serve communities around the country with grace, compassion and empathy,” said Fourie.
Janke Jacobs graduated with a degree in dentistry. It was not an easy journey for her either. Her dream of becoming a dentist hung in the balance when she contracted ocular tuberculosis in her second year of study. She had to retrain her eyes and learn how to be patient with herself. Today, completely recovered, she looks back at her experience and with an intense sense of accomplishment.
“I remember my ophthalmologist telling me about the odds of me still being able to see being equal to the odds of winning a billion rand in the lottery, but the results showed that the scarring in my eyes missed the ‘focus’ area of my right eye by micrometers. I am forever thankful for the fact that I have finished my degree. It took blood, sweat and a lot of tears, but now I will be starting the new year as Dr Jacobs,” she said with great excitement.
“The experience made me more of a well-rounded human being and practitioner. It taught me persistence and patience.I know now what it feels like being in a miserable and demotivated patient’s shoes, and how complex it can be to treat someone holistically.”