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The English and Communication programme honoured the winner of the prestigious Sharon Wilson award, Given Maphike, with a ceremony on 3 November 2023. The prize is given to the top annual English and Communication student, and Maphike earned the award by scoring 89% in Communication Skills 101 in 2022.

The event took place at the Rendezvous Restaurant on Steve Biko campus. Dr J Smith, lecturer in the English and Communication programme, welcomed the guests and thanked them for joining the celebration. “The award is a generous donation by the Wilson family in memory of Sharon. Through this award, her legacy lives on via our students, whose academic journeys have just begun,” said Dr Smith.

Mr Clive Wilson presented the award to Ms Maphike. He explained that the Sharon Wilson Award was established 30 years ago for the top student to honour Mr Wilson’s late wife, Sharon, who worked in the department. When Sharon passed away in 1988, Mr Wilson decided to invest an amount of R2000 in honour of his late wife because she loved teaching. Through the power of compound interest, over the years the award amount has increased, and this year can assist the winner with more than R15000 of her study costs.

“The English and Communication programme meets about 3000 students per year in all faculties in the University,” said Dr Smith. “We teach a wide range of communication-based modules and have a unique blend of staff who specialise in various fields of study. Our staff go the extra mile to support their students, and as we have seen at the end of the Comrades Marathon, sometimes that extra mile can be strenuous and painful,” she joked. “But we all reach the finish line and that is what matters.”

Ms Maphike said she felt honoured to win this award and expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the University for such an honour. “This award is not just a symbol of achievement,” she said, “but a reminder of the responsibility that comes with it. It fuels my dedication to strive for excellence and make a meaningful contribution in my field of study. Once again, thank you from the depth of my heart for this incredible recognition and the belief in my potential.  I am inspired, motivated, and committed to make the most of this honour and to continue my pursuit of knowledge and excellence”.

The event concluded with a photoshoot and delicious lunch.

Pictured: Mr Clive and Mrs Marion Wilson with the Sharon Wilson recipient, Given Maphike.

Patience Makhaye/Mnqobi Ngobese

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