ACHIEVING TOGETHER: Husband and wife Gérard Filies and Sylnita Swartz-Filies will receive their PhDs on the same day from UWC, a first for the university.
Cape Town - The University of the Western Cape (UWC) will be conferring a series of Doctors, Masters and Honours degrees at two graduation ceremony services today, 27 August 2018.

The university said it would be handing out 44 Doctor’s degrees, 131 Master’s degrees, 60 Honour’s degrees, 285 Bachelor’s degrees, 89 diplomas and 13 certificates.

UWC was placed in the top 3% of research-intensive universities worldwide by the Times Higher Education in its 2018 World University Rankings list of the top 1000 research-intensive universities.

The university, holds joint fifth position with two other South African universities in the 601 800 band.

One of the graduates honoured is associate lecturer Emmanuel Ilori from Nigeria, who will receive his PhD in Public Administration.

Ilori, who had a BSc (Hons) Business Administration, is the eldest of five children and had to work as a security guard to make ends meet.

DEDICATED: Associate lecturer Emmanuel Ilori, from Nigeria, will receive his PhD in Public Administration. Pictures: Supplied

He ended up at UWC travelling to lectures by train throughout his honours programme as classes ran from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. When he missed the last train he slept in the university’s library.

“UWC made me who I am today...The lecturers here are passionate about the development of students and they have a positive impact on them,” said Ilori.

Another extraordinary story is of a couple who will be receiving their PhDs on the same day. Gérard Filies and Sylnita Swartz-Filies, a Kuils River couple who have been married for 20 years and have two children, are both occupational therapists.

Swartz-Filies, said: “We have a close bond with our children and while studying we developed the habit of sitting in close proximity to each other to offer support to our children with their school work when needed.”

Andrew Madella will be getting his postgraduate diploma in Poverty, Land & Agrarian Studies. Madella was 9 months old when he contracted polio, and was left with limited use of his legs. He lost his mother when he was 3.

It did not deter this anti-apartheid activist, who served as secretary-general of Disabled People South Africa, and was a unionist and served on the Employment Equity Commission.

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Cape Argus