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Graduating Cum Laude a Walk in the Park for DUT Student

Graduating Cum Laude a Walk in the Park for DUT Student


Media Statement by Alan Khan, Senior Director: Corporate Affairs at the Durban University of Technology

For some students, academic excellence comes as a result of long hours of studying and tireless work, but in the case of Gift Ramotsepe, a former student of the Durban University of Technology who now works for Nampak, it comes naturally.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, September 3, 2013), Ramotsepe will receive a National Diploma in Pulp and Paper Technology at the Fred Crookes Sports Centre, Steve Biko Campus, graduating cum laude.

Asked about his feelings towards achieving such good results, the 26-year-old from Springs in the East Rand, Johannesburg, said, “It’s a great accomplishment but I’m not really that excited about it. I guess that’s because this is something I was expecting.”

Outshining peers has become a norm for Ramotsepe who was a top achiever even during his high school days, attaining five distinctions in matric. Coming from a background of high achievers also plays a major role in his excellence. “My dad was brilliant; I believe I took after him. He worked as a prison warden though, a profession which I felt did not allow his brilliance to shine through,” the student noted.

Conscious of his capabilities, Ramotsepe knew he was destined to become something great. After matriculating in 2005, he decided to study Geology at the University of the Witwatersrand where, as usual, he obtained exceptional academic results.

By the time he was in his third-year in 2008, the future looked very bright for him. However, everything changed when the student had to suddenly drop out of school in the same year, due to a critical illness. Unable to complete his course, his dream of becoming a geologist had now been deferred. However, Ramotsepe was not prepared to throw in the towel. “When I recovered from my illness, I suddenly realised that I did not want to continue studying Geology. I then applied to various companies for bursaries. I was eventually offered a bursary by Nampak to study at DUT (the only institution offering a full-time course in pulp and paper technology) starting from 2010,” he said.

Ramotsepe now had to relocate to Durban, a city he was not familiar with. He would be away from his family and girlfriend but he accepted this because he was ready to begin a new chapter in his life. Then tragedy struck once again. His father passed away that year. Although tough, Ramotsepe said he found a way to cope with his loss and not allow it to affect his studies. “I am a born again Christian so my faith kept me going,” he said.

In retrospect, the DUT alumnus feels glad to have completed his course. “I am just happy that I finished my diploma. I didn’t get a chance to graduate with my first course so I am looking forward to the experience this time around,” he said.

Ramotsepe is currently serving his three-year contract with Nampak. But as an individual who is constantly seeking new challenges, he said he intends to branch off to a different part of engineering in future. He also hopes to turn his hobby of taking photographs into a profitable business one day.

A high resolution picture of Gift Ramotsepe is available from Sinegugu Ndlovu on request.

Issued by:

Sinegugu Ndlovu
Manager: Communications
Botanic Mansion
Division of Corporate Affairs
Steve Biko Campus
Gate 1

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