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Nelson Mandela University’s two-day virtual summer graduation kicks off on Thursday (17 December 2020), with more than 1 200 students to be awarded their qualifications over five sessions.

The virtual graduation will also see the conferring of honorary doctorates on five outstanding men and women, who have made a remarkable contribution to society, through their work in the fields of literature, economic development and gender advocacy.

With Nelson Mandela Bay, in the Eastern Cape, and George, in the Western Cape, where our campuses are based, identified as COVID-19 hotspots.  As infections continue to rise, the University took the tough, yet responsible decision to host graduation ceremonies virtually.  They will be streamed live on the University’s YouTube channel.

Of the total 1 212 graduands, 39 are doctoral students, 124 masters, 26 honours with several undergraduate degrees, diplomas and certificates.

Honorary doctorates will be conferred on South African Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago, former South African First Lady, Zanele Mbeki, literary giants Sindiwe Magona and Ben Okri, and businessman and former MTN Chief Executive, Phuthuma Nhleko.

A total of 187 students, including 21 cum laude, will also be graduating as the first cohort of the new and highly popular Advanced Diploma in Technical and Vocational Teaching (Adv Dip TVT), which is an innovative programme to provide lecturers in the TVET sector with a professional lecturer’s qualification.

A first in South Africa, the programme was introduced last year as a two-year part-time qualification, as a response to the South African government identifying this sector as a national priority, with a goal of having a headcount of 2.5-million students enrolled in TVET colleges by 2030.

Those graduating in the Adv Dip TVT qualification will add to the 10 000 lecturers in the country (about half of whom are professionally qualified to teach at TVET colleges, although having the requisite skills in the respective fields), teaching more than 700 000 students across the 50 public TVET colleges.

Among those graduating are some of the University’s staff, whose research outputs contribute to some of the public discourse.

Bridget de Villiers, lecturer in the School of Industrial Psychology and Human Resources, will receive her PhD in Human Resource Management with her study, “Promoting Leader Integrity through the Human Resource Management Value Chain.”  This is her second big achievement this year, as she also received the Faculty Emerging Researcher of the Year award for 2020 at the Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards held virtually on Monday, 14 December 2020.

Tatenda Mapeto, a Forest Management lecturer at the University’s George Campus, will receive her doctoral degree in Nature Conservation.  Her PhD, in the field of forest hydrology, offered critical research into eco-hydrological patterns in tree production systems – vital for negotiating South Africa’s ongoing water scarcity.

Lecturer Robin Notshulwana, who will receive a PhD in Education, looked into the unequal gender practices in South African schools, with her research topic, “Girls here and boys there: Participatory Visual Methodology as Pedagogy to facilitate gender sensitive practices with pre-service foundation phase teachers”.

Graduating students will be able to download their certificates from the dedicated graduation website, and can share stories and photographs of themselves safely celebrating their achievement at home. These can be shared on social media using #NelsonMandelavirtualgrad2020 #VirtualGraduation.

The graduation ceremonies will be streamed live for all to celebrate with Mandela University and all its students.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777