Change the world


A highlight in its annual calendar, Nelson Mandela University kicked off its autumn graduation season with two sessions at its George Campus, in the Western Cape, on Friday (05 April 2024).


New doctors in Nature Conservation Noxolo Ndlovu (far left) and Werner Conradie (far right) together with George Campus Director Dr Kalukwe Mawila and Mandela University Chancellor Dr Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi.   

Celebrating 372 of more than 5 600 total graduands, Chancellor Dr Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi applauded the graduating students, families and friends who have supported them on their academic journey as well as Mandela University’s academic staff for the sacrifices made to reach this momentous achievement.

“In the spirit of gratitude, I’d like to ask the students to stand, and face the community who journeyed with you and give them a round of applause, in gratitude for the many sacrifices made in bringing you this far,” she said.

“On a more personal note, and I believe I speak on behalf of our University community, I’d like to thank our academic staff for their contribution to your success in completing your studies. This is what they work, strive, and live for – your success. So for them, your graduation today signals that they, too, have played their role and are doing so successfully what is expected of them.

“To you all, and on behalf of our University, our heartiest congratulations. To our graduands especially, our very best wishes go with you as you take your next steps into a new world, and one that we believe you will shape.”

The George Campus graduation ceremonies, held on the campus for only the second consecutive year, saw the conferring of two doctoral degrees in nature conservation and the capping of the first cohort of students in the new Bachelor of Honours in Natural Resource Management qualification introduced in 2023.

Addressing the graduating students, their families and University staff, Dr Fraser-Moleketi painted a picture of the world that the graduating students will be going into.

“The world we are releasing you into is beset with contradictions. It is a world of boundless opportunities, yet one that has become increasingly unequal,” she said.

“It is a world that is witnessing the ongoing rapid pace of technological and digital innovation, and yet so many are being left behind. It is a world in which exists general consensus on the need to protect and promote fundamental human rights, yet for many, those same rights are being denied – even deliberately.

“The world that you are going into is one that has broadly embraced multilateralism and the need to keep global peace. Yet that same world is at war with itself. The universal declaration of human rights and the sanctity of international rule of law is sadly under threat at present.

“There are also existential questions about neoliberalism and democracy, and whether or not it is still the ideal system of government. But that’s for a public lecture at a future point.”

Dr Fraser-Moleketi went on to say that as products of Nelson Mandela University, graduates were urged to espouse the attributes of the institution’s students and use the critical thinking, tools, ethos and aptitudes acquired at the University.

“We are also releasing you into a country that is at a crossroads, noting that this year marks the 30th anniversary of constitutional democratic order, with the general election date set for May 29. Just as the world is full of contradictions, so is our country,” she said.

“We have made remarkable gains since the advent of democracy in 1994, and this ceremony is testament to that fact… We also know, and I quote [our namesake Nelson Mandela], that “massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our time. Times when the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.”

“This is the South Africa we are releasing you into. [One] with boundless possibilities, yet one beset with so many challenges. We believe that in your journey with us, we have equipped you with the knowledge and experience to successfully navigate the challenges you will undoubtedly face.

“[It has] also enabled you to mark, as individuals and as successful and responsible members of society, how the power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.

“As President Nelson Mandela said, and I quote, ‘a good head and good heart are always a formidable combination, but when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something special’. Go out and prove that you are the embodiment of that.”

This week will see the first of 16 graduation sessions at the University’s Gqeberha campuses on Friday, 12 April, when graduands in the Business and Economic Sciences’ schools of Management Science and Accounting set to cross the stage in the morning and afternoon ceremonies, respectively. 

For all your graduation content across your social media platforms, please use #MandelaUniGrad24. We would love to collate, share and celebrate this amazing achievement with you on official University platforms.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777