33 doc­tor­ates at Fort Hare grad

Youngest capped, 25, plans to as­sist emerg­ing farm­ers

Daily Dispatch - - News - By ARETHA LIN­DEN

HIS­TORY was made at the Univer­sity of Fort Hare this year when it con­ferred 33 doc­tor­ates in its spring grad­u­a­tion.

This brings to 110 the num­ber of doc­tor­ates con­ferred at the univer­sity this year, the youngest be­ing 25.

The spring grad­u­a­tion was held yes­ter­day at the Alice Cam­pus.

UFH also hon­oured Rita Mar­ley, wife of the late leg­endary reg­gae singer Bob Mar­ley, with an hon­orary doc­tor­ate in so­cial sci­ences and hu­man­i­ties.

Mar­ley could not make it to the cer­e­mony and her doc­tor­ate was ac­cepted by Rose­mary Dun­can from the Rita Mar­ley Foun­da­tion on her be­half.

In a tear­ful mo­ment, the crowd of about 2 000 par­ents and aca­demics, with help from the choir, started singing Bob Mar­ley’s One Love after Dun­can was capped.

De­liv­er­ing Rita’s speech, Dun­can said the hon­our was one of Rita’s trea­sured mo­ments.

She touched on the high cost of fees, UFH’s rich his­tory and told the crowd “Don’t worry ev­ery lit­tle thing is go­ing to be al­right”.

“What­ever your ca­reer goals, as you take flight and spread your wings and soar through the skies, look down and lift some­one up. The more you help to up­lift oth­ers, the greater the re­wards.”

She also en­cour­aged grad­uands to use their qual­i­fi­ca­tions from Fort Hare to un­lock their eco­nom­i­cal free­dom in South Africa.

The youngest PhD grad­u­ate was 25-year-old Lelethu Mdoda who grad­u­ated in sci­ence and agri­cul­ture.

For his re­search Mdoda, who is from Li­bode, in­ves­ti­gated mar­ket par­tic­i­pa­tion and value chain in­te­gra­tion, home­stead and irrigated crop farm­ing in the East­ern Cape.

His study iden­ti­fied fac­tors in­flu­enc­ing small­hold­ers’ de­ci­sions to par­tic­i­pate in mar­kets and mea­sured the prof­itabil­ity of home­stead irrigated crop farms us­ing para­met­ric and non-para­met­ric tools.

As Mdoda was be­ing capped and an­nounced as the youngest grad­u­ate, the crowd rose to their feet and ul­u­lated in cel­e­bra­tion.

Speak­ing to the Satur­day Dis­patch, Mdoda said he was over­whelmed.

He said he planned to use his qual­i­fi­ca­tion to plough back into his com­mu­nity by help­ing small­holder farm­ers be­come com­mer­cial farm­ers. — arethal@dis­patch.co.za

Pic­ture: SISIPHO ZAMXAKA

BRIGHT YOUNG MIND: Lelethu Mdoda earned his PhD at 25 years of age, mak­ing him the youngest PhD grad­u­ate at the UFH’s 2017 Spring grad­u­a­tion

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