Change the world


Nelson Mandela University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa, assured first year students and their guardians that the institution was well on track to receive students for the 2023 academic year and to render the necessary support to make their academic careers a success.

Addressing nearly 2 000 new students, parents and guardians at the Madibaz Indoor Centre on Saturday, Professor Muthwa, said the University strove to see all its students succeed in their studies.

“We have put in place the necessary infrastructure for you to focus on your studies, including modern facilities, supporting and supportive equipment, and digital technology,” she said.

“You will have seen our many beautiful buildings and the various infrastructure projects that are underway as you came to campus, and in the presentation that was flighted earlier. Our investments in equipment and technology are aimed at ensuring that our students are “connected” both on and off-campus.”

After the almost three years of remote and/or hybrid working, learning and teaching as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown restrictions, this weekend’s welcoming ceremony was the first in-person address since pre-pandemic days.

Outlining the various forms of support available to students towards their overall access and success, Professor Muthwa told how the University’s approach aimed to ensure that “no one is left behind”.

“We are on course with our digital transformation trajectory. This has, among other things, seen us consistently improve connectivity for all staff and students,” she said.

“We will continue with the student laptop initiative, which over the last few years has resulted in close to 15 000 students receiving laptops, as they commence with their studies. This is particularly important as we continue growing technology-enhanced learning and teaching.

“To this end, we continue the process of equipping and modernizing our spaces for the hybrid mode of delivery. Our approach is that of ensuring that no one is left behind. The WIFI densification project serves to improve internet availability and quality both, on and off campus is ongoing.”

Professor Muthwa also assured attendees – both in-person and virtually – of institutional efforts to mitigate the effects of the rolling power outages and water restrictions as a result of drying dams.

“At Mandela University, we are committed to sustainability and are working to find alternative means to cushion academic programmes and operations from the impact of water and energy challenges that we face,” she said.

“In many instances, we have already switched to alternative water sources – such as borehole and reclaimed water – to ensure ongoing functioning of our campuses. At the same time, however, we continue with our water saving awareness campaigns, to instil good water usage habits for the long-term.

“Likewise, staff and students have learnt to adapt and innovate to mitigate the challenges of loadshedding. Our sustainability strategy includes the roll-out of additional solar plants on our campuses.”

Addressing  the students directly, the Vice-Chancellor expressed the University’s hopes for students at the end of their academic careers, as they step out into the so-called real world.

“We would like others to recognise and experience you as a Mandela University student, and graduate, because you display, among others, qualities of social awareness and responsible citizenship wherever you go, regardless of the career you pursue. At Mandela, you are called upon to be champions for ubuntu, excellence, equality, equity, humanity, diversity, and social justice. Our country, our world, desperately need for us to work together to make things better, where we are,” she said.

“We also hope that during your change journey at Mandela, we will have instilled the importance of adaptive expertise, creativity and innovation. We would like to think you will be solutions-driven, entrepreneurial and ever-willing to seek out the views of others to collectively produce mutually beneficial answers to challenges.

“As you have gathered by now, much is expected of you on what is the most exciting journey of your young lives to date. You have been granted a rare opportunity to obtain a tertiary qualification – an opportunity that you should embrace and enjoy. You can do this. You are enough.

“But this will not happen by chance. Your life gets better through your own hard work, capacity to embrace change, your cultivation of humanity, and compassion, and humility to accept support.”

The Vice-Chancellor’s welcoming ceremony was preceded by a series of virtual welcoming addresses by the Executive Deans of each of the seven faculties as well as the George Campus welcoming, offering faculty-based and campus-specific information to attendant first year students and their guardians.

Amidst a festive and expectant mood at the welcoming ceremony, students told of their excitement and trepidation about the journey ahead.

Lindelwa Mvelase, from Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal, said she was excited to begin her studies in Law at the University.

“I’m so excited to be here. This is a nice campus and nice place to study. I think it’s safe. I think it’s for me, and I can’t wait to get to know the other kids,” she said.

Arasi Pillay, who matriculated from Collegiate Girls’ High School in Gqeberha, said she was excited to be studying towards a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Medical Laboratory Science. She said she chose to study at Mandela University because her sister enjoyed her time here. Her mother, Priscilla, said: “This is my youngest child. I wish her all the best.”

Danel Coetzee said she was excited to be studying towards a Bachelor of Education.

“I played netball and was involved in athletics at my school and am familiar with the sports fields at Mandela University. It is a beautiful campus,” she said.

Lelona Phakade, who will be studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, said he was very excited to have been accepted to Mandela University.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777