Academic Achievements of Student Leaders Honoured
UKZN celebrated the academic achievements of student leaders at a gala dinner on the Westville campus.
The Mayor of eMtshezi Local Council and UKZN alumnus, Cllr Bongani Dlamini, congratulated the leaders and advised them about the challenges they faced in the ‘real world’.
Dlamini emphasised the importance of giving back to one’s ‘village’ and community after graduating and implored students to ‘go back home’ to make a difference.
He condemned violence during student protests and advised student leaders and management to ‘sit down and negotiate’ as protests should be ‘seen as the last resort’.
Dlamini said ‘blessers’ and ‘sugar daddies and mommies’ were a serious threat to society. He said ‘nothing was for mahala’, cautioning students that such transactional relationships could lead to early deaths for graduates.
Executive Director: Student Services, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, applauded the students for achieving their academic goals while serving in various leadership capacities at the University. He said that while ‘career SRCs’ and student leaders at other institutions were seen as ‘dinosaurs and ancestors’ for taking up to a decade to graduate, UKZN student leaders excelled academically.
Chalufu said: ‘We came up with the idea of acknowledging and celebrating student leaders’ achievements and being exemplary in balancing being of service to others while excelling academically.’
He encouraged the student leaders to make a difference in their respective communities. ‘I want to challenge all of you who have led and been of service to your fellow students to make your mark in your communities - sometimes all it takes is to give guidance and coaching to others in their journey in life, such as pointing them in the right direction and to where they can access opportunities,’ he said.
‘Go out there and be a change agent. True, you are following in the footsteps of giants who have gone before you such as Biko, Gigaba, Gosientso, and others, but go on and make your own mark.’
He thanked Mrs Priscilla Cele, who had arranged the event, for being the ‘pillar of our office’ and acknowledged the efforts of the Student Governance and Leadership Development Manager and SGLD staff and also the student assistant in their office, Mr Mncedisi Khumalo.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Albert van Jaarsveld congratulated student leaders on their exemplary performance and advised them to ‘make a difference and do so with integrity’.
The Central SRC President, Mr Senzo Ngidi, advised students to apply themselves to help ‘change the lives of our people’. He said: ‘The degree that we have is just paper – it’s up to us to make changes.’
SGLD Officer, Mr Muzomuhle Mhlongo, was the Programme Director and entertainment was provided by Ms Phindile Mngadi and Keen Artists.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal, and the Executive Director: Corporate Relations, Mr Lesiba Seshoka, who gave the vote of thanks, were at the event.