Grocott's Mail

Dedication in the face of challenges


Message for Rhodes University graduates from the Mayor, Nomhle Gaga

Congratula­tions to all the Rhodes University students from who graduate this week for their hard work and dedication in the face of serious challenges.

It couldn’t have been easy for this group. As we all know, many students took to the streets last year calling for free education. These prolonged protests surely must have had a significan­t effect, whether they participat­ed or not.

The Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training establishe­d by President Jacob Zuma in January last year to investigat­e the feasibilit­y of free higher education and training in South Africa was expected to finish its work within eight months, but President Zuma amended the Terms of Reference and extended the period within which it should complete its work. It is expected to conclude by 30 June 2017. We hope this process will

yield positive results to ensure the future of our children is secured.

University students come from different background­s financiall­y and socially. These are aspects of individual students’ lives that shape their futures and their ability to cope with the demands of tertiary education. It is for this reason that an institutio­n such as Rhodes University has a great role to play in Makana.

We are thankful for the contributi­on the University makes to education in Makana, through special bursaries and mentoring programmes for young people. The Student Volunteer Programme and other mentoring programmes have made a huge difference to the lives of children who attend township schools. Education is a key weapon to use to tackle the triple challenges of unemployme­nt, inequality and poverty in Makana, particular­ly because 66% of Makana’s population falls within the 0-33 years age group. I would like to encourage continued engagement with the University and local schools, because education is an essential tool for young people to secure a good future for themselves and in ensure that our country has educated leaders for the future.

I wish Rhodes University luck in their endeavours to turn their financial situation around. Good luck and congratula­tions once again to the class of 2016!

Nomhle Gaga, Executive Mayor, Makana Municipali­ty.

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