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A hush temporarily broke the ululation and celebrations at the Nelson Mandela University’s Madibaz Indoor Centre as the uncle of a deceased student was called up to collect their certificate posthumously.


(From left) Nelson Mandela University’s Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities Professor Pamela Maseko, Mninanwe Jim, Nontlahla Siwisa, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching Dr Muki Moeng after the Monday morning graduation ceremony at which Mziwenene Tinzi was posthumously conferred a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Trying to balance the pride and sorrow of the moment, a shaky Mninawe Siphelele Jim bravely contained his emotions as he walked the ramp towards the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Pamela Maseko, who read out his late nephew’s name.

“Madame Acting Vice-Chancellor, Mr Mziwenene Tinzi, who tragically passed away last year, was a candidate for the Bachelor of Arts, and I request that you confer the degree on him posthumously,” Prof Maseko.

The crowd erupted in celebratory cheer after the acting Vice-Chancellor duly conferred the degree posthumously, as Jim shook her hand.

“I cannot even put into words how I’m feeling. The [graduation] moment was very touching,” Jim said.

“As I walked across the stage, I could just picture him and the dreams that he had for his future. He already had a plan for the house that he aimed to build for his mother when he started working.”

Mziwenene was fatally stabbed in September last year on campus, allegedly by another student. The matter is with the courts, and the University has put mechanisms in place to address on-campus security concerns.

Jim said Mziwenene’s mother could not bring herself to attend the bittersweet graduation ceremony. His graduation was a long awaited achievement as Mziwenene has had a number of stints at other universities in the province, including the University of Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu Unibversity.

According to Jim, Mziwenene had some struggles with his mental health, which had a huge impact on his academic performance previously.

“I think the reason he was able to study and qualify at Mandela University was the environment, and the support he was able to get in order to successfully complete his qualification,” he said.

Mziwenene was one of 396 Bachelor of Arts students who graduated on Monday morning (22 April 2024), and among the more than 5 600 students graduating overall during the University’s autumn graduation. 

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777