Rhodes University welcomes new cohort of first-year students

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First year students Jinelle Jacobs (Education) and Siphuthando Fudumele (BSc) with Vice-Chancellor Professor Sizwe Mabizela
First year students Jinelle Jacobs (Education) and Siphuthando Fudumele (BSc) with Vice-Chancellor Professor Sizwe Mabizela

About 1600 First Time Entering Students (FTENs) and their parents and guardians descended on Makhanda for the start of the University's Orientation Week this past weekend. They completed their registration and were allocated to their respective residences.

The Chairperson of Council Judge Gerald Bloem, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sizwe Mabizela, Acting Registrar Professor Dave Sewry and the Student Representative Council (SRC) President Avuxeni Tyala were among those that welcomed the first years.

Spontaneous singing, dancing and laughter could be seen and heard all around campus over the weekend. The University also hosted a cocktail event for Old Rhodian parents and their children at the Steve Biko building.

"The Orientation Programme comprises a host of extremely informative lectures and activities to ensure that new students find the transition to tertiary studies at Rhodes University easy and problem-free.  New students will be provided with information on various study programmes and how they can be navigated successfully, as well as information on residence life, including all sporting and cultural activities available," said Professor Sewry.

The Acting Registrar said that as much as Rhodes University is a contact University, technology forms an integral part of learning, and extensive use of the RUConnected learning management system will support face-to-face interaction.

One of the FTENs, 21-year-old Ayabonga Dola from Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, said he chose Rhodes University because he believes it will be able to shape his career path and turn him into a force to be reckoned with within the media space. "I have always heard that Rhodes University is one of the best in Journalism and Media Studies, and I am looking forward to being equipped by this great University," he said.

Dayalan Govender, whose daughter Bianca Paige Govender has enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts, said coming from Johannesburg and bringing her daughter to Rhodes University is fulfilling because of the history of the University. "My daughter likes the campus; we heard good things about the University and the history and culture behind it. We decided it would be an excellent growing experience for her, being away from home and learning to find herself and be independent. Rhodes University will give her a degree to help her grow and contribute to society," he said.

An 18-year-old Anna Paterson from Makhanda, who will be doing a Bachelor of Social Science, said she decided to come to Rhodes University because she has heard great things from her mother, who works for the University. "I love the University because it is closer to home and is well known for its care for the community. I am glad to be part of such a University that deeply cares and helps its community," she said.

Professor Mabizela said students could look forward to an exciting experience, personal growth and development, and academic success at the University. "Welcome to a place of hope, a place that inspires imagination, a place that nurtures creativity and a place where ideas matter… a place where leaders learn. Welcome to Rhodes University," he said.