Cape Town - The University of the Western Cape is hosting its first in-person graduation since 2019. The institution turned to technology to host the country’s first virtual graduation ceremony and continued to do so during the national lockdown.
The event is being held in a marquee tent which has been especially erected on campus from March 28 - April 1 and not in the Main Hall.
This is being done in adherence with Covid-19 protocols. The graduation is also being live-streamed for those who will not be able to physically attend.
UWC Registrar Dr Nita Lawton-Misra, said graduating with a university qualification is a momentous occasion in any person's life - be it the first or last qualification - all point to growth and result in a better quality of life.
"And when students graduate under circumstances that present more than the usual challenges, then the achievements reach a new level of pride and celebration. I salute all students who rose above the prevailing pandemic conditions and emerged victorious - your strength and resilience bode well for your future success. Congratulations," she said.
There is excitement all around as many graduands had assumed that they would never have their degrees conferred in person.
Georgia Smit, who will be graduating with her Bachelor of Education degree, said it is an honour to graduate in person. She added that first and second-year students have had the privilege of witnessing previous graduation ceremonies.
"This is something we've been looking forward to since starting our journeys at UWC," she said.
Smit said the past four years have come with many unexpected challenges.
"The in-person graduation makes all the hard work we've put in so worth it," she said.
UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, said under the theme of 'In Memoriam', the event will also celebrate colleagues, students, families and friends, fellow South Africans and those who have succumbed to Covid.
"Last year, the University lost its former chancellor Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and Prof Pretorius also remembers theology student Jesse Hess, who was murdered in 2019.
"As we celebrate our students’ success, I believe it is so important to commit ourselves to fight gender-based violence. Not only for Jesse’s sake, but for all the other women in our country and elsewhere whose humanity is denigrated and stripped away through the actions of brutal men," Pretorius said.