‘I am taking UCT with me’

2019-12-17 06:00
Outgoing University of Cape Town (UCT) chancellor Graça Machel.

Outgoing University of Cape Town (UCT) chancellor Graça Machel.

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Outgoing University of Cape Town (UCT) Chancellor Graça Machel – who will conclude her term this year – was honoured at a special graduation ceremony on Thursday 12 December.

Machel presided over her last graduation ceremonies at a packed Sarah Baartman Hall on Thursday, bringing an end to her tenure of two decades.

“I am not leaving UCT, I am taking UCT with me,” she said in her farewell speech delivered in front of approximately 300 graduates.

In 1999, Machel became the first woman to be appointed UCT chancellor. She was then re-elected for another 10-year term in 2009.

She worked closely with four vice-chancellors: Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Professor Njabulo Ndebele, Dr Max Price and Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng.

“While they each demonstrated a different leadership style, they all shared a deep commitment to the growth of UCT as a research-based institution of teaching and learning.

“They have ensured UCT is positioned as a top-ranked university in Africa and, indeed, globally.”

Machel said being involved with such a reputable African tertiary institution has been a deeply gratifying and enriching experience for her.

“I am proud of the many contributions we, as Africans, have given to the global academic fraternity and the influential role we play on the continent and in South Africa as a leading university. But there is always more work to be done. As such, if there is one issue where I wish we would have made more progress, it is that of tackling this horrific cancer of gender-based violence.”

She concluded her speech by saying she leaves UCT in the capable hands of two highly qualified, dynamic young African women.

“With my successor, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, and vice-chancellor professor Phakeng at the helm of UCT, I have no doubt we will soar to new heights.”

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