Chairperson of Council, Mr Serobi Maja;

Deputy Chairperson of Council Thovhele MPK Tshivhase;

Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Jan Crafford;

President of Convocation Mr Levy Ndou;

Acting Director Student Affairs, Mr Godfrey Tshikhudo;

SRC President Mr Gcina Mhlabane;

Members of Council and Senate;

University Management;

Academic and Administrative Staff;

Traditional Leaders;

Religious Leaders;

Invited guests;

UNIVEN alumni;

Staff, students, graduandi;

Parents and spouses;

Media practitioners;

Sponsors;

Ladies and gentlemen;

Let me begin by expressing heartfelt gratitude to you all for your presence in this happy occasion which signifies excellence…excellence for the University of Venda, excellence for the province of Limpopo, and excellence for our nation.

By the same token, let me single out our graduandi today for a word of special gratitude. Their commitment, grit and dedication to achieve their goals are the reason for this joyous occasion.

Against the spectre of on-going challenges in the field of tertiary education in our country today your achievements represent hope.

This hope will take determinate form when tertiary education in our country is rid of the inequalities of our past, that endure in our present.

After all if students are not able to study because of unaffordable fees in this day and age of knowledge-based economy it can only mean stagnation if not regression for the country as a whole.

In ensuring that all are able to access the privilege of higher education, we will unlock the potential of our nation as evidenced by this graduation ceremony today.

Programme Director;

For its part, the University of Venda continues to pursue its vision with increasing determination, ‘to be at the centre of tertiary education for rural and regional development in Southern Africa’.

I am encouraged by the increasing contribution the University of Venda is continuing to make to the achievement of our country’s national goals of development and reconstruction.

Over the years the work of this university has contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of not only the region but the entire nation and continues to do so. 

Education remains a critical tool in equipping humanity with the intellectual, scientific and creative means to make our world better and for a sustainable future for posterity.

We look to education for the betterment of the human condition. Your achievements today will make notable difference to our national effort against the perennial menace of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Please always remember that yours is but a journey just begun.  Ahead of you is still a long winding journey that invites you to share your skills, knowledge and experience with those around you.

Embracing the spirit of making a difference and thus contributing to the development of our nation, is a noble cause befitting a graduate of modern day South Africa.

Contributing to the success of our nation, and helping others in your families and communities, is the most fitting way to thank your parents, families, and sponsors for having sacrificed so much to get you here.

We hope too that today is only the beginning of things to come, because collectively education and academic advancement is the greatest gift one can give to a nation.

In all 2923 students are graduating from the University of Venda in this ceremony. These are graduates from School of Agriculture; School of Education; School of Law; School of Environmental Sciences; School of Health Sciences; School of Management Science; School of mathematical and Natural Sciences and School of Human and Social Sciences,

An even closer look at the degrees to be conferred shows that there are 112 undergraduate diplomas or certifications, 82 Bachelor degrees, 927 general academic 1st Bachelor degrees, 1277 professional 1st Bachelor degrees, 258 honours degrees, 74 master’s degrees, 15 doctoral degrees and 178 post-graduate diplomas or certificates.

All these schools provide the necessary research output and produce graduates needed for the development of our nation.

Successes of nations are invariably predicated on their ability to produce cutting-edge skills as well as knowledge and capacity in areas such as infrastructure, basic education, science and technology and preserving our environment.

Let me also encourage all those who will still be furthering their studies to go all the way to doctoral studies. I trust that some of those who will graduate with doctoral degrees will look back where they came from and commit themselves to serving the University of Venda.

In this regard, I note that there has been remarkable increase in the number of doctoral graduates. This is yet another feather in the hat of the University of Venda. I trust that with time this impressive number will double, after all nothing stops us from being on the up and up.

We wish you the best for the future. Make the University proud by being hard working, innovative, committed, and ethical in your future roles in the workplace and leadership.

By hard work, commitment and innovation in whatever institutions you will be attached to, you will be enhancing the prestige of the University of Venda from where you have graduated.

Lastly, I would also like to pay tribute to the academics, administrative as well as support staff for providing the necessary support during your stay at the University of Venda. They have indeed played an extremely instrumental role towards your progress as future leaders.

I once again wish to congratulate you on your achievements, confident that you will go into the real world to make us proud and to fashion South Africa as a winning nation.

Moses Kotane profoundly defined the aims of education as follows:

Proper education is a mirror in which man sees the world around him and learns to understand it  ̶  the right education enables man to see what the world has been, what it is, and how it can be changed to suit him or his way of living

This alone may be said; and I say it with the most entire conviction of its truth.

Take heed.

I thank you for your kind attention.

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