Friday, 22 April 2022

Home is where the Heart is

The learners of Hangklip Primary may not realise how privileged they are after this Dean’s Medallist chose to return to her old school in Queenstown to teach.

Marche Jordaan was the top achieving student in the Education Faculty and received the coveted Dean’s medal during the Education graduation on Friday morning, for her consistent average of 85% during her studies.

With a national shortage of Mathematics, Technology and Science teachers, Jordaan could have had the pick of positions to choose from after graduation, however she says she was motivated to return home and give back.

“Teaching at my old school is a huge privilege because I always wanted to give back to the community and I feel like this is a good way of doing that,” she says.

“I believe that is how I can make the biggest difference in children’s lives and I know that not everyone is as advantaged as I was so I would like to be there for those learners whose parents are perhaps not fortunate enough to be able to assist them as much as they need.”

Jordaan says her recipe for academic success was never missing an on-campus class, no matter how insignificant the lesson may have seemed.

“I also completed my assignments to the best of my ability, asked for help and learned from others.”

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Graduating in Spirit

The family of a CPUT student who tragically passed away just a month before her graduation made sure she was there in spirit this week.

Despite battling lymphoma cancer, Nontombi “Thami” Mapundu applied herself to her studies and was excited to be graduating in the CPUT Autumn Grad series. She also had plans to continue her studies into Project Management, however she passed away at the age of 30 leaving behind her grief stricken mother and three siblings.

On Thursday evening Thami’s mother Phelokazi Mapundu and brother Mpumelelo Mapundu attended her graduation ceremony, with her brother symbolically wearing his sister’s graduation gown and sash. The family were seated in the front row along with other family and friends.

Phelokazi says Thami was her last born and the light of her life.

“We wanted to commemorate her dedication to her studies, and thank God for the victory he gave her to be able to graduate.

She was a beloved child and made me very proud,” she says.

Mpumelelo says it was important for his mother and himself to attend the graduation because his sister was looking forward to attending herself.
“We believe and know that Thami is here with us in spirit,” he says.

Academic success comes in different forms for everyone and Summa Cum Laude is one of the highest honours to be bestowed on a student.

The Business and Management Sciences faculty celebrated this success with two students today.

Monwabisi Luthuli is a well-known figure at CPUT since he was once a popular SRC president. Luthuli says while student politics was thrilling he wasn’t achieving the academic success that he knew he was capable of early on his studies.

“I was very active as a student leader and that compromised my academics but then as I matured I decided to come back to CPUT and completed my diploma, and passed all my subjects with distinction, and then I continued to the Advanced Diploma and also just passed Summa Cum Laude now,” he says.

“It has been an absolute great pleasure returning to CPUT.”

Fellow Advanced Diploma in Marketing classmate, Nkaiseng Mokhele also achieved the top honour. She says she has always been a good student, and achieved excellent marks, because she listened to lecturers.

“Dedication, focusing and doing what the lecturers are telling you to do has been my recipe for success. The pandemic was really tough for me because I lost loved ones during this time but I told myself that my goal is to graduate.”

To pass Summa Cum Laude a student must pass all their subjects with distinction on the first try.

Luthuli and Mokhele were part of a cohort of 431 students who graduated during the afternoon ceremony at CPUT’s Bellville campus today.

More than 400 graduants from the Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences will be capped this morning, including the recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s medal.

Elzane Bishop, who will be awarded a BSc in Diagnostic Radiography cum laude (86%), said it is a great honour to have been selected for the Vice-Chancellor's medal.

She said the secret to her success is consistent hard work “after hours, weekends and even holidays”.

“I set myself a goal at the beginning of the four years of studying and was determined to reach that 80% average goal of mine”.

She is currently doing her community service year as a diagnostic radiographer at Karl Bremer Hospital.

Community work and upliftment is a passion for her, and she hopes to use her training and skills to better the lives of other people. “

Elzane is grateful for the guidance from her Lord and Saviour, as well as for the support of her family and fellow classmates who participated in her journey. She thanks her lecturers and CPUT for providing her with the opportunity to be rewarded for her hard work.

Head of the Department (HOD) of Medical Imaging and Therapeutic Sciences (MITS), Dr Merlisa Kemp, said: “As HOD, I am very proud of Elzane and her achievement. She has not only made me proud but all the MITS staff who walked the BSc journey with her.”

The recipient of the Dean’s medal will also be announced during this morning’s ceremony.

The recipient is Fadzisai Makonyonga who passed her BTech in Nursing with an average of 82.6%.

She is a Zimbabwean with formal refugee status in South Africa

Makonyonga matriculated at the St Francis of Assisi High School in Zimbabwe in 1998, with eight distinctions out of ten subjects. During 2014, she obtained a Master’s Degree in Research Psychology from the University of the Western Cape, but it was a career in Nursing which was her ultimate calling and dream.

Makonyonga has three young children often had to accompany her minor son to hospital during the winter months, as he suffers from severe asthma. Despite all these stumbling blocks, she diligently applied herself to her studies and her patients.

She is currently working as a registered nurse in the surgical ward at Vincent Pallotti hospital.

Another highlight of this morning’s ceremony will be the awarding of a PhD: Biomedical Science to Jumoke Aboyewa, who was supervised by Prof Oluwafemi O. Oguntibeju, with Prof  Mervin Meyer.

The thesis title is: The role of gold nanoparticles synthesized using extracts of cyclopia intermedia in the anticancer efficacy of Cyclopia intermedia in the anticancer efficacy of doxorubicin.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Leader by Day Student at Night

Central SRC President Nanga Codana says his graduation is proof that student leaders can balance the challenges of student politics and the stress of academic life.

Codana graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Operations during the Autumn grad series and is currently completing a two-year Post Graduate Diploma in Supply Chain Management.

He has been at the helm of student politics at CPUT since his appointment in March 2021.

Codana says juggling his position while studying full time required lots of emotional intelligence.

“I always tell people that you need to be leader by day and a student at night. You need to dedicate yourself to your books as much as you assist students,” he says.

Codana says assumptions that student leaders are only pursuing careers as political leaders, with no interest in graduating, are a damaging misconception.

“That is not true, if you look at the current cohort of student leaders then you will see that they are progressing and even exceling. What I would like to see is higher education institutions offer courses in student leadership so that we can develop these talented young people for careers beyond political leadership.

Codana was one of 480 Faculty of Business and Management Sciences graduands to be capped in the fifth ceremony of the Autumn Grad Series. Ceremonies will continue three times per day for the rest of the week.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Top gamer graduates cum laude

Last year he became the first South African ever to qualify for the FIFAe World Cup and now Julio ‘Beast’ Bianchi has proven that his talents extend beyond the world of gaming.

The 24-year-old, who hails from Uitsig, graduated to loud applause this morning with an Advanced Diploma in Accountancy, which he passed cum laude.

What makes the day even more special for Bianchi is that he is also jetting off to London where he will compete in the FIFA Team Of The Season (TOTS) Cup.

It was only through a visa delay that he was able to attend his graduation.

“I’m very honoured and grateful to be here. It’s a momentous occasion and I always wanted to celebrate it, especially after the difficult Covid period,” he said.

Bianchi said that as a teenager his entire focus was on football as he realised that the sport was an opportunity for him to grow outside of his surroundings.

As he got older, he began to realise that his football dreams might not materialise as he was starting to feel the strain of injuries and the impact on his education.

While he had “had numerous club offers coming in” he was also starting to discover the world of competitive FIFA online.

He said his PlayStation allowed him to become immersed in the world of FIFA and he started to realise he was extremely good at the game.

Bianchi began to compete in regular competitions around the country and he was noticed by one of South Africa’s biggest gaming organisations, Goliath Gaming, He was soon signed to the professional team and went on to claim a multitude of firsts for a South African FIFA player.

But he never neglected his studies dedicated Mondays to Thursdays to his studies and weekends to gaming.

Sipokazi Mabuwa who will be graduating today with Doctor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering has pushed herself as she has managed to finish her studies in two years and this is a historical record after she had to overcome several obstacles on her way to graduation.

Mabuwa started her Doctoral study in 2020 and finished her work in 2021. Moreover, she has managed to produce a total of 17 journal articles within this two a year period. Mabuwa has also managed to produce her first MEng graduate in 2021. “She is the first female to obtain this qualification in the history of the Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering Department,” principal supervisor, Dr Velaphi Msomi remarked.

Her research title is: Development of new FSP method for enhancing the mechanical properties of FSW and TIG welded dissimilar aerospace aluminium alloy joints. Mabuwa’s research focus is on friction stir welding and friction stir processing.

Reflecting on her journey, Mabuwa said she wanted to register in 2019 but learned it was not possible due to her Master’s submission being late for consideration for the April 2019 graduation.

“Some might have been discouraged, but not me, instead, I used the same stumbling block as my stepping stone. I started idealising my PhD topic together with my supervisor, Dr Msomi, as well as what was expected of me as a PhD student (planning and deliverables),” she explained.

From the topic she was to pursue it became quite clear that some of the materials she was going to use were only available internationally. After learning this, Mabuwa started the process of buying through the CPUT requisition system using her supervisor’s research account. That process took about seven months. The material was bought from China and there were certain processes to be followed like clearing it before it was delivered to the institution. However, during that waiting period, Mabuwa started working on her proposal until her supervisor was convinced it was of a “PhD student quality” then she saved it for the following year.  Next on her list was writing a review paper based on the study she was going to be doing the following year. The paper was submitted to one of the The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) approved journals by December.  “After submitting my review paper while waiting for it to undergo all the processes I wasn’t waiting, instead I used that time to write chapter 1 and 2 of the thesis still in 2019,” Mabuwa continued.

When she registered in January 2020, Mabuwa had all the material and consumables she needed and supervisor-student planning. “All I did was to execute so that I meet all the expectations set out including publications of about 35 articles published on DHET approve journals, out of that 17 articles were directly from my study and five were international collaborations with well-known researchers in my field, while the rest was based on utilising other available materials from the FSW group storage stores.”

Mabuwa said this was done for practising purposes to learn more about the technique she was to use. During this time on the side, she was writing chapter 3.  “One of my biggest traits was that I love learning, and I always strived to make my work more competent in the eyes of the international researchers, that alone pushed me so hard to prove that I was one of them. One of the things that stuck in my mind, was and is that in PhD level you are like a brand ambassador of two entities - that is yourself and your institution. So, whenever I was writing a paper, to me it was like sending a message that this is who Sipokazi Mabuwa is and this is what CPUT is. I love myself very much to brand myself as a researcher of poor quality. Hence on each paper, I gave it my all, researched thoroughly about whatever angle of approach I was to use, and consulted those who published in my areas of interest.”

Msomi described Mabuwa as a very shy individual “but also a very dedicated hard-working student”. “She is also a fast learner, and this is judged by different research techniques that she learned in the space of a year or less. She was not the type of student who would want to be monitored. I am very proud of what she has achieved in the space of two years and I can confidently say she has made an impact on the field. This is judged by the fact that she has been a reviewer for many international journals. I see her growing to higher heights in the next few years.”

Reflecting on her success, Mabuwa who was born in the rural Mnandi location In Willowvale, Eastern Cape, said: “I feel very overwhelmed and excited. I have made my mark and I am very pleased with myself. All glory goes to God.”

“The support I have received from CPUT as a whole has been very wonderful, they have never closed doors on any of my requests…They were very supportive in each and every part of this journey and I also thank to Dr Msomi, he was the one who showed me all the doors when we ran out of funds.”