From left: Mr Aubrey Mbona, Mr Sammy Mashita,
Ms Bavelile Hlongwa, Mr Fanle Sibisi, Deputy
Minister of Communications Mrs Stella Ndabeni-
Abrahams, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim,
Ms Joy Ndlovu, Mr Haroun Moolla and Ms
Thembeka Dlungwane.

Deputy Minister of Communications, Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, emphasised the importance of education during her keynote address at the 2013 Convocation AGM and Awards ceremony at the Graduate School of Business Auditorium on the Westville campus.

Every year, the Convocation Executive (Convex) hosts the events in celebration of the high calibre of graduates the University has produced.

Quoting Nelson Mandela, Ndabeni-Abrahams said: ‘Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.’

Ndabeni-Abrahams asked alumni to get involved in policy-making and also encouraged students to pursue careers in ICT, stressing the importance of mathematics and science at high school level.

In the President of Convocation report, Mr Fanle Sibisi acknowledged his fellow member of Convex Mr Sammy Mashita for donating a very generous R100 000 to the Alumni Bursary Fund.

Mashita committed to making it an annual donation for as long as he was able to and encouraged other alumni to follow suit with a contribution of any size.

With more than 150 000 members, UKZN’s Convocation is the largest constituency of the University.

Ms Bridget McBean, Executive Director: UKZN Foundation, invited alumni to contact the Foundation and urged them to look at how they could make a difference.

The Chair of Council, Mrs Phumla Mnganga, acknowledged Convex for their vibrant and very visible commitment to the University. She challenged them to articulate the Vision and Mission of the University and suggested they align their projects and programmes with the strategic vision of the University.

Following the AGM, Convocation awards were given to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan (in absentia) and Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim.

Gordhan was acknowledged for his ‘passion about democracy, racial and gender equality, and working to build a prosperous future for all South Africans’.

Abdool Karim was given the award in recognition of her contributions to science broadly and for the stellar efforts she has made in the fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic. In her acceptance speech, she said: ‘As we reflect on successes, I hope that we can look at how to achieve the goal of an HIV free generation sooner, rather than later.’