Excitement mounted as students, academics, family and friends made their way to the first Spring Graduation ceremony which was held at Fred Crookes Sports Centre, Steve Biko Campus, today, 3 September 2014.
Graduates were dressed to the nines for the first of three Grad sessions where 299 students successfully obtained their diplomas, degrees, masters and doctorates in the first session. An honorary doctorate was also conferred to acclaimed film producer, Anant Singh, who received a Honorary Doctor of Technology degree in Arts and Design in recognition of his tremendous work in using film in the opposition of apartheid.
All eyes were on the glitzy fashion at the Spring grad and dressing for success was done with such ease for some but for the majority who had graduated, it became a well-slicked ‘grad’ affair, planned months in advance for the big grad day. Having the right colour shoes with the perfect designer dress or suit, coordinated with the right ‘bling’ accessories were clearly a major priority. Apart from the clothing, having the perfect 6cm pencil-high heels became the order of the day with many young lasses ensuring shoes were not just high but properly blinged.
Katekile Mhlongo who obtained her national diploma in Taxation, said, “My dress was a mission to find and I could not find the design I wanted so I had to go home to Pretoria to find it. I was not happy with the choices in Pretoria so I went to Cape Town and thankfully, I found the perfect dress.”
It has become part of the culture that even though part of the formal proceedings do mention that the young ladies needed to be careful when walking on stage with their heels, but in the case of Thulisile Zuma, who had graduated with a national diploma in Accounting, well, her nerves got the better of her. So eager was she to graduate that she slipped just before walking on stage to receive her diploma.
Honorary graduate, Dr Anant Singh thanked the students, staff and his family for witnessing him receive such an accolade. “I am very honoured and chuffed to have received this doctorate, especially to receive it in my home town. South Africa today is very changed country as we celebrate our 20 years of democracy. Our peaceful transition from an apartheid, racist ridden country to democracy is an inspiration to the world. It is one of the most remarkable transformations ever. We have had the very good fortune to have leaders like Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Oliver Tambo, Joe Slovo and so many others lead us to our freedom,” he said.
Other students expressed their gratitude upon graduating. BTech- Cost Management Accounting student, Lungelo Sithole , said, “I feel good and this is a great moment in my life and at the same time hard work has paid off. This is a very good way to kick start my career and I think this will turn around my life in the right direction because I come from a humble background.”
Besides the jubilation of the students, tribute was paid to two dynamic DUT staff members, who both had sadly passed on.
The late Prof Prenitha Singh, a dedicated academic and seasoned researcher, worked at DUT from 1992 until her untimely death last month (August) 2014. She had been the supervisor of Nerina Reddy who had graduated with a Masters Degree in Information Technology. Prof Singh had played a tremendous impact in promoting research, something she was very passionate and of mentoring and guiding her students.
Another inspiring and dedicated person who was mentioned and honoured was none other than Dr Liz Harrison, who passed on in July 2013. She was said to be a born teacher, who had the amazing ability to nurture others to her work at DUT where she helped to create an environment where learning was a natural and enjoyable experience. Both academics were proof that they were sources of inspiration for DUT students who made DUT proud.
– Waheeda Peters
Pictured: The first formal Grad procession at DUT.