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She experienced devastating loss and grief on her road to graduation, but quitting was never an option for doctoral graduate Faeda Mohsam.

Mohsam, a lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, suffered two bereavements during her academic journey, necessitating a break in her studies.

First, she lost her father in 2018. Then, in 2021, she lost her beloved daughter during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Today she was awarded a DTech in Informatics during the Summer Graduation ceremony and was one of two doctoral graduates in the Faculty of Informatics and Design.

“I was awake at 1am this morning. I couldn’t sleep. I’m just so delighted to be here and to have finished my degree. I didn’t think I would see the day,” she said before this morning’s ceremony.

Mohsam said it was important to her that her grandson, her belated daughter’s son, has a role model “to look up to and know that everything is possible if he works hard and perseveres.”

She is grateful that she was able to complete the journey.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Almighty for enabling me to accomplish this significant milestone. It has taken me some time, and there have been numerous challenges. Still, I persisted.

“I have learnt to be persistent and resilient in the face of adversity. Quitting was never an option. In the words of our beloved Madiba: ‘Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again’,” she said.

Balancing the demands of a doctoral study was no easy feat. “Full-time lecturing responsibilities, and my personal life was challenging and made maintaining a work-life balance difficult.”

Mohsam said peer support played a pivotal role during her studies and she believes this contributed greatly to the successful completion of her degree and her overall well-being. “Peers understand the challenges, setbacks and triumphs that come with doctoral studies, and this shared understanding fosters empathy and provides a sense of camaraderie, ultimately making the journey less isolating. I had the honour of receiving peer assistance from two amazing ladies I now consider my "research sisters."

Mohsam, who grew up in Mitchell’s Plain, initially joined CPUT in 2004, first working in an administrative capacity, then took up a role as an academic in 2009.

She holds a BTech in Office Management and Technology and an MTech in Business Information Systems, both from CPUT.

Her research title is: The level of alignment between the use of implemented Health Information Technologies (HITs) and the clinical work activities of nurses in the public hospitals of Cape Town.

She expressed her appreciation to her supervisor, Prof Retha de la Harpe.

“Your belief in my capabilities, even during moments of self-doubt, and mentorship enhanced my academic skills and contributed significantly to my personal and professional growth. Thank you for being a source of inspiration, sharing your knowledge generously, and fostering an environment that promotes learning and intellectual curiosity.”

De la Harpe said supervising Mohsam had been a pleasure because of her excellent work ethic. “She applied her mind to her studies with the same dedication. During the duration of her study she had to deal with a few serious family crises and suffered the biggest loss during the pandemic. Although she was devastated it never derailed her and I know that achieving her doctorate is not only for her but for all who are dear to her.”

Graduating with Mohsam was Monica Nehemia who was awarded a PhD in Informatics.

Nehemia, who hails from Namibia, said she felt “very elated and proud of having achieved my dream, and it being an inspiration to many people in my life”.

“It has been a challenge being a student, a mother and a full-time employee. The conundrum of being the best and successful in each one of them simultaneously is a story to tell. The highlight is the appreciation of how the studies have impacted one's thought process. The relationships forged and friendships established during the research forums is one of the highs that will last with me forever.”

Her thesis is titled: A metric model for measuring the value of enterprise architecture in developing countries.

She said it was an honour to be supervised by Prof Tiko Iyamu.

“Thank you for your guidance, trust and believing in me. Thank you for the patience, allowing me to learn and grow, and for teaching me the value of amassing knowledge, sharing knowledge, and imparting knowledge.”

The hard work and dedication of more than 500 graduates were celebrated during this morning’s Summer Graduation ceremony.

The ceremony marked the longest single graduation ceremony in the history of CPUT.

“This graduation is extremely special because not only will you be capped by our Chancellor, the Honourable Thandi Modise herself, but also because a whopping 123 of you are obtaining your Master’s, and 19 of you will receive your Doctorates. Doctorates which would have taken years of dedication and immeasurable sacrifice to obtain,” said Vice-Chancellor, Prof Chris Nhlapo.

The 514 graduates consisted of:

  • 289 graduates from the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
  • 95 from the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences
  • 81 graduates from the Faculty of Applied Sciences
  • 24 graduates from Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences
  • 13 graduates from Faculty of Informatics and Design
  • 12 graduates from the Education Faculty
Monday, 11 December 2023

CPUT Live Radio launched

CPUT Live Radio, an exciting platform which will serve as a hub of communication, learning and creativity, was recently launched.

The new platform will give students the opportunity to express their voices and aims to embody oneness and smartness as envisaged in Vision 2030.

Prof Driekie Hay-Swemmer, Executive Director in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, welcomed the guests to the hybrid event and said the project was a special one.

“It is special because it will be run entirely by our talented students as part of their training and experiential learning. Our students can take the reins and showcase their skills in broadcasting, journalism, production and so much more. Under our esteemed academics and professional leadership of MCD (Marketing and Communication Department), we will give guidance and oversight, our students will have the chance to shine and unleash their creative potential on the airwaves.”

Prof Tembisa Ngqondi, Dean of the Faculty of Informatics and Design, said the project is a collaboration between the Faculty of Informatics and Design, the Department of Student Affairs and MCD.

She said the project would allow students to develop and produce content while preparing their portfolios, hence giving them the opportunity to showcase their skills set.

Ngqondi said the project included the values of ethical content generation.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Chris Nhlapo said the content would showcase the vibrancy of CPUT life in all facets, including highlighting the programmes, services and opportunities available to students.

“It will also document the developments related to learning and teaching at CPUT and profile cutting-edge research and responsive community engagement projects undertaken by our staff. It will also serve as an archive that documents the development of the institution.”

Nhlapo said that in the medium term the project had the potential to be a one-stop shop where all related media content is housed. In the short term the focus would be audio content.

“To all our students, particularly creatives, this is your laboratory. This is where you have to practice to be the best that you can be. Our role as leaders is to provide an enabling environment for you to be the best version of yourselves. All of us must be content creators. And any interested member of the CPUT community is welcome.”

Journalism students will have an aspect of their coursework geared at generating content.

Messages of support were delivered by representatives of Council, the Convocation and the Central SRC.

Dr Sisanda Nkoala, an academic at UNISA and former CPUT Media Department academic thanked industry partners, including CPUT journalism alumna for their support.

Guests were also given the opportunity to listen to some of the first podcasts produced by the students.

Student Aiden Mcconney, who is one of the trainees of the project, described the experience as eye-opening and said the training had taught her about the many aspects of media and taught her new skills.

“I’m grateful to have been a part of this”.

Nonkosi Tyolwana, Acting Dean of Student Affairs, congratulated the students who have completed a training programme and handed over certificates to them.

Dr Garth van Gensen, Director of the Marketing and Communication Department, delivered a vote of thanks and expressed gratitude to all who contributed to the project.

He said many radio personalities started off at a campus radio station.

Click here to listen to the podcasts.

Monday, 11 December 2023

Celebrating graduate success

CPUT will be celebrating the success of more than 500 graduands during tomorrow’s Summer Graduation ceremony.

The graduates include 372 undergraduates and 142 postgraduates, with 123 Master’s and 19 Doctoral graduands scheduled to graduate.

Eleven graduands have passed cum laude and 10 summa cum laude.

Vice-Chancellor, Prof Chris Nhlapo, thanked the university staff, parents, guardians, family members, spouses, friends, donors and all stakeholders who contributed to the graduands' success.

“For many, the road to this point has been challenging, and it will have taken immense grit to not only finish course but excel. You represent the cream of the crop, and as such you have an obligation to realise your full potential. Armed with your qualification, you can launch yourself to greater heights, and also assist in the development and growth of South Africa.”

The ceremony is scheduled to start at 10:00 and will be livestreamed via the CPUT YouTube Channel.

Two CPUT boxers who started boxing this year defied the odds as they won their preliminary rounds, quarter finals, semi-finals and went on to win the gold medals at the 2023 University Sports South Africa (USSA) National Boxing Championships, which were recently held at the Major Sports Hall, Bellville Campus.

The two boxers were Anelihle Bukwane and Hosea Mokgatla and CPUT was represented by 13 boxers (10 males and three females) in the three-day tournament. Overall, the hosts, CPUT received three gold medals, two silver and three bronzes. CPUT team manager, Mvemve Mdingi, who is also the USSA Boxing National Secretary, said: “The performance was magnificent considering the fact that majority of these boxers started boxing this year and therefore they are novice boxers.”

Mdingi also acknowledged the presence of USSA National President, Jerry Laka, as well as South African National Boxing Organisation President, Siyabulela Mkhwalo, the former Head of Department: Sports at CPUT. “He [Mkhwalo] congratulated both our performance and the way our competition was well organised.”

He continued: “The CPUT community should look forward to the most exciting year 2024 of boxing. We are pushing to make our institution the hub of boxing champions. We will be starting a boxing league that will feature well-trained boxers from CPUT, University of the Western Cape and Western Cape ranks.

Bulelani Mlakalaka, Sport Development Officer: Rugby, Boxing and Tennis, said: “I must say it’s [a] great honour to do this especially when the events are successful like this USSA Boxing. It’s a lot of work because I must lead a group of my CPUT colleagues coming in from different departments to make sure that we have a successful tournament.” Mlakalaka who was the event organiser, is happy with the achievement of the boxers although “we did not win the tournament, but we won the trophy as one of the best performing universities in the tournament”. Overall CPUT became number four out of the 12 universities.

As an event organiser, he made sure that the event was a success by working in hand to hand with all the stakeholders in the Local Organising Committee (LOC). “As an event organiser you make sure that you uphold the values of the USSA and CPUT by making sure that all the participating universities are happy at all times despite challenges I might had during the planning phase and during the tournament.”

He thanked the CPUT management for allowing Sport Department to host the USSA Boxing event and all of his LOC colleagues for making sure that CPUT hosted one of the best national student athletes’ tournaments. “For our CPUT community, thank you so much for always supporting all your teams. As Sport Department we strive for #OneSmartCPUT.”

Thursday, 07 December 2023

Study Abroad Fair expands horizons

The Faculty of Business and Management Sciences recently hosted the Study Abroad Fair, which gave students the opportunity to learn about all the exciting international study opportunities available to them.

The hybrid event included presentations by partner universities, Abertay University and the University of St Andrews, outlining the possible opportunities for students at these institutions in Scotland.

Andiswa Mrasi, Acting Manager Strategic Initiative and Projects in the Faculty, said the event aimed to expose students to partnerships the faculty has in different countries.

“It is our intent as a university to ensure that our students are fully aware of the global village that we live in. When you get your qualification, you should be ready to be able to work or even operate a business outside of South Africa. So we've decided to put together this event so that we can make you understand more what internationalisation is all about and why it is important.”

Mrasi said the number of partnerships had grown from 35 partnerships in 2022 to 51 this year.

Students were informed about scholarship opportunities, exchange possibilities and other opportunities while German exchange student, Phuong Trinh Nguyen, shared her experience of being an exchange student at CPUT.

An interactive question and answer session allowed students the opportunity to engage to gain more information about internationalisation.

The day concluded with an appearance by the SA Music Awards nominee, Cairo CPT.

Following the successful Sisonke 2.0 Certification and Celebration Day at the Cape Town Hotel School recently, Adjunct Professor in the Education Faculty, Janet Condy, has urged the CPUT community to “please” volunteer to be part of this unique Sisonke 3.0 project in 2024.

“We believe this is a wonderful capacity development programme for novice supervisors,” said Condy. She said supervision remains an academic practice that requires continuous learning and refining, but more can be done to support and capacitate supervisors. Condy said that world-wide supervisors are struggling with two issues of quality and capacity, “they are expected to be supervising and getting more and more PHD candidates through, despite our students lacking the necessary academic skills. Hence building sustainable higher education supervision mentoring programmes is needed to increase completion and prepare them for work in the higher education sector as well as in professional practice”. “There is a general agreement among academics that this process requires a 'special pedagogy'.”

She said since 2021, a few core participants at CPUT have been working on the Sisonke Supervision Mentoring Programme (SSMP). 'Sisonke' in isiXhosa means 'together' or 'to bridge'. This transdisciplinary research project, involving multiple stakeholders, driven by a real-world problem, has the potential to produce transformative and sustainable supervision pedagogies. Condy said supervision practice was the mutually agreed upon point of reference, which provided a basis for shared language.

At the Sisonke 2.0 Certification and Celebration Day, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation Technology and Partnerships, Dr David Phaho, welcomed the guests, and provided the opening address where he hailed the “exceptional work” done by the Sisonke Supervision Mentoring programme. The keynote address was delivered by Prof Stephanie Burton and was titled: Supervision and supervisors: Being inspired and inspiring.

Condy said in 2023 there were about 72 volunteer mentors and mentees who attended the 12-week Learning Programme from 4 August to 26 October, every Thursday between 13:00 and 14:30. During this time they included a 40-minute input by an expert in a particular field, then they went to break-away groups with their mentors and mentees. In these smaller groups they discussed the topic they have listened to. Finally in the last 30 minutes they all went back to the main group where the mentors reflected on the discussions in each group.

Reflecting on her overall impression about the event, she said: “For me the best part of the day was meeting face-to-face with all the mentors and mentees. All the speakers spoke eloquently on this very necessary topic and gave us much to think about.

“The activity which Prof Retha De La Harpe did with us was exciting as we worked together reflecting on our past learning and thinking ahead of what we want to achieve. The certificates were a highlight as well - it was wonderful to see how excited people were to receive these.”

She added that in 2020 the Director of the Research Development Directorate, Prof Dina Burger, had invited her and De La Harpe to run with this project. They both wrote the initial proposal and got ethical clearance for this research project. Currently Condy is heading the project with Dr Heather Phillips who manages the Learning Programme. “We have a large research team.”