Virtual graduation

Wahzier Adriaanse from Eastridge has completed his BA degree in Education and graduated summa cum laude at the University of the Western Cape.

A young Eastridge man completed his BA degree in Education at the University of the Western Cape with the highest distinction (summa cum laude) and graduated during a virtual graduation ceremony at the University of the Western Cape.

Wahzier Adriaanse, 22, graduated on Friday April 3 in an unconventional manner necessitated by the national lockdown due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The university management said they decided to go ahead with the graduation ceremony using technology as graduations are life-changing milestones, especially at UWC where many students are first-generation graduands in their families. This year also marks the university’s 60th anniversary.

UWC’s chancellor, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, was filmed constituting the virtual ceremony and conferring the degrees and an address by acting rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Vivienne Lawack, was also filmed.

There are many unique UWC graduation traditions which take place in the quad outside the main hall such as singing and dancing, with cleaning staff joining the celebrations by creating a “red carpet” and guard of honour with their aprons for graduands as they walk towards the hall.

Graduands also gather for photographs at a sculpture by artist David Hlongwane of a domestic worker celebrating the graduation of her son. UWC’s media, marketing and communications office included some of the celebratory footage from previous graduations in the virtual graduation video.

Mr Adriaanse, who attended Hazeldene Primary and Portland Secondary schools and matriculated in 2015, and started his tertiary education at UWC in 2016, enrolling for a four-year Bachelor of Education degree with his majors in English and Life Orientation.

He said his parents supported and helped him through his studies, both his parents trying their best to give him and his siblings everything.

Mr Adriaanse and his older brother, Tashreeq, 26, both teach at Eastville Primary School in Eastridge and their sister, Aqeefah, 15, is a Grade 10 pupil at Portland Secondary School.

“I always admired my teachers when I attended school. All the selfless things they did for the pupils without expecting anything in return. The hours they would put in just to ensure that pupils are being taught; going that extra mile with sports and doing additional activities,” he said.

Making a change in the lives of pupils is what attracted him most to the profession. When he was in matric, one of his teachers helped him apply online to study further. “My brother inspired me too. Having an older brother, also meant you have someone to look up to. Making a change in the lives of pupils is what makes our profession worthwhile,” he said.

“I attended my respective classes and was very seldom absent. I just had this love for going to school. Homework and assignments were always completed on time. I knew school was the pathway to making a success of my life,” Mr Adriaanse said.

He achieved his summa cum laude through hard work and dedication. Adapting to university life was a big challenge and an even huge transition from high school, he said.

“One also has to make a lot of sacrifices like studying on weekends, cancelling get-togethers with friends. It all boils down to how bad you really want it. I never knew I was going to graduate summa cum laude but I always worked hard to achieve good grades,” he said.

“I have always wanted to study further. With life being as it is, one needs to study in order to make something of your life,” said Mr Adriaanse.

UWC registrar, Dr Nita Lawton-Misra, said once things normalise, the university will arrange for students to receive their paper certificates and transcripts, as well as invite graduates to attend a formal ceremony.