Acting Registrar, Kuselwa Marala, with Manager of CPUT’s Assessment and Graduation Centre, Brian Davidse. Picture: Supplied.
Acting Registrar, Kuselwa Marala, with Manager of CPUT’s Assessment and Graduation Centre, Brian Davidse. Picture: Supplied.

CPUT unveils its new 'decolonised' graduation gowns

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Dec 10, 2019

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Cape Town - The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) has unveiled its customised graduation gown, at its summer graduation series, which started on Saturday, after 14 years of graduation ceremonies at the Bellville campus.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said the summer ceremony would end on Friday. She said the new gowns were conceptualised by CPUT fashion design students who drew inspiration from a variety of ethnic symbols, and natural and national features, even the R20 banknote.

Kansley said the project had taken more than a year to come to fruition and involved many feedback sessions between management and senior fashion design lecturer Walter Buchholz, who project managed the process on behalf of the students.

Buchholz said the result was streamlined and introduced a uniformity to the academic procession.

“The design centres on a core belief that CPUT embraces South Africa’s diversity. The design shows mainly Xhosa, Zulu and Ndebele-inspired symbols with the iconic CPUT waves. There are spaces between the waves that symbolise openness and transparency,” Buchholz said.

Different designs from the students, who were now in their third year, were aligned to create the final product which features beading and embroidery.

The new-look gown for Chancellor (gold) and Vice-Chancellor (silver) academic gowns designed by CPUT Fashion Design students. Picture: Supplied.

The fashion programme leader, Annadine Vlok, said the gowns were made of a mohair mix fabric that was light and comfortable.

Assessment and graduation centre manager Brian Davidse said the gowns were part of the institution’s de-colonisation drive and the comfort of the academic procession was a key factor.

“Many academics had indicated that the old gowns were heavy and they wanted something that was more representative of the CPUT community and the continent,” Davidse said.

@SISONKE_MD

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Cape Argus

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