Rhodes University’s communications officer Velisile Bukula was one of hundreds of graduates capped this week at the institution’s autumn graduation which took place over three days.
On Friday he received his postgraduate diploma in media management, which he dedicated to his late father Amos Bukula.
Born in Lambatha, Bukula moved to Duncan Village, Ziphunzana at an early age and spent his childhood there.
“There are not many options for a young man growing up in the township. You are either part of a gang or you are seen as a socially awkward person.
“From an early age, I wanted to focus and that has always stuck with me. I kept my distance from the streets to avoid peer pressure and influences.
“I dedicate my qualification to my late father Amos Bukula, who told me that I needed to work hard and achieve; that is where my inheritance lay.
“It was a difficult time as I could not even afford a school uniform.
“Before his death my father said he wanted me to be educated and independent.”
Bukula has a colourful educational background, with this being his third qualification.
To attend high school he moved back to his roots and went to Ndema Senior Secondary School where he matriculated in 2004.
He has a national diploma and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Walter Sisulu University.
He has more than 13 years of experience in journalism and communications.
He has held various positions, such as in the Eastern Cape provincial legislature, the department of higher education & training, and the private security industry regulatory authority, and now occupies the position of senior communications officer at Rhodes University.
“I always wanted to study further after graduating but due to work demands, I could not.
“When I joined Rhodes in 2019, I was determined to work and get a qualification through them, and when the opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it with both hands.
“In 2021, I joined the programme. It was a turbulent journey as it was not easy to work full-time and attend parttime classes.
“I had to maintain consistency in my work as well as my studies.
“I feel absolutely overjoyed and proud of myself for the achievement.
“Rhodes is an employer that has given back to me. I would like to thank my director Dr Luzuko Jacobs for affording me the time to give attention to my studies.”
He said all the sleepless nights, sweat and tears had paid off. “I am thankful to Daily Dispatch editor Cheri-ann James, deputy editor Bongani Fuzile and Herald editor Rochelle De Kock, for their willing assistance in my academic journey.”
Vice-chancellor Prof Sizwe Mabizela congratulated Bukula on his achievement and the role he played at the university.
“Warmest congratulations to you, Dlamini, on your graduation, I am so proud of you and thank you for all that you do for the university.
“For you to be on the Dean’s list is something to shout about.”