Women lead this year’s Rhodes University virtual graduation

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The six honorary doctorates for 2021
The six honorary doctorates for 2021

Sixty-six percent (66%) of the people graduating in Rhodes University’s third virtual graduation ceremony are women. The virtual graduation ceremony will be launched on the Rhodes University official YouTube channel on Wednesday, 28 April 2021, at 12h00. 


Over the last few years, the University has seen a steady increase in women graduates. Of the 2204 graduands at this graduation, 1448 are women.

The graduands in their categories are as follows:

  • 1317 undergraduate students
  • 887 postgraduate students
  • 363 international students


With 715 graduands this year, the Faculty of Humanities, the largest faculty at the University, will see the most graduated with a total of 715. 550 graduands will graduate from the Faculty of Education, 366 from the Faculty of Commerce, 343 in Science, 150 in Pharmacy and 80 will graduate from the Faculty of Law.


As part of the graduation ceremonies, Rhodes University will also award six honourary doctorates to the following distinguished individuals:


  1. Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, African Court for Human Rights and People’s Rights Judge, and Cricket South Africa’s Social Justice Ombudsman will receive a Doctor of Laws (LLD) (honoris causa)
  2. Dr Marguerite Poland, a prolific author and 2016 National Order of Ikhamanga (Silver) recipient, will receive a Doctor of Letters (DLitt) (honoris causa)
  3. Mama Nontsikelelo Ntsiki Biko née Mashalaba, community leader, will receive a Doctor of Laws (LLD) (honoris causa)
  4. Mr William Smith, a former maths and science teacher on television and Order of the Baobab (silver) recipient, will receive a Doctor of Laws (LLD) (honoris causa)
  5. Professor Berhanu Abegaz, Executive Director of the African Academy of Sciences, Emeritus Professor of Addis Ababa University, will receive a Doctor of Letters (DLitt) (honoris causa)
  6. Ms Mary de Haas, advocate and activist for political and human rights, human dignity and social justice in South Africa, will receive a Doctor of Laws (LLD) (honoris causa).


“The global COVID-19 pandemic has sadly deprived us an opportunity to celebrate our students’ achievements with them in the conventional way we’ve always done in the past,” said Dr Sizwe Mabizela, Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor. 

“This, however, does not in any way diminish the value and significance of their great personal accomplishment. I offer our warmest and proud congratulations to each one of our graduands on their graduation. Our heartfelt congratulations extend to their family, friends, guardians and all those whose loving sacrifices and constant encouragement and support have sustained them throughout their years of study at Rhodes University,” Dr Mabizela said.


The Vice-Chancellor applauded those who are the first to earn a university degree in their families, reminding them that the attainment of a Rhodes University qualification is an exacting proposition in the best of times. “To earn a Rhodes University qualification under the extraordinarily trying circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic must have taken something very special,” he added.


“My hope is that our graduates will place their knowledge, special skills and talents at the service of our society and humanity as we rebuild our devastated lives, destroyed economies and shattered dreams and hopes. Wherever they find themselves, may their light shine before others and dispel the darkness of ignorance, doubt, prejudice, greed, selfishness, pessimism and indifference towards others,” concluded Dr Mabizela.


The playlist can be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAztaQ4TBvjTFeqXdNYCqKZquk6hGqwWN 


Follow Rhodes University’s official social media channels for more updates on:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rhodes_Uni

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/school/16216

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkeNry6-KnCW3kl8AsYPQlQ

Website: https://www.ru.ac.za