Ntombomzi Mgoduka, 62, is one of the 2,000 University of Fort Hare (UFH) graduands who will be capped virtually during an online graduation ceremony next week.
Mgoduka, a teacher by profession, will receive her Master’s degree in public management during a ceremony on the UFH YouTube page on May 29. The graduation ceremony will be officiated by the chancellor, advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, and vice-chancellor Sakhela Buhlungu.
Mgoduka could not contain her excitement when she spoke to the Dispatch on Wednesday.
She began her Master’s degree at the Mthatha campus in 2016 and said: “It’s been such a challenging yet rewarding journey. I am overjoyed to know I will be graduating next week.”
Mgoduka said as her career progressed, she was driven to study further and “expand” her knowledge.
She said her work in the department of education exposed her to policy and regulations, which pushed her to further understand human interaction and governance through a public management degree.
However, Mgoduka was met with life-changing challenges along the way.
“I’m a single parent who was juggling work and studying, and then I had to face the death of my child. I was devastated, my entire world changed. However, the assistance I received from university lecturers was incredibly helpful. I knew I could contact them at any time about my studies,” said Mgoduka.
The virtual graduation ceremony for the 2,711 UFH students will be the first of its kind.
Speaking on the co-ordination of the digital ceremony, deputy registrar Rose Masha said the institution’s joint graduation team “is doing its utmost to still present the celebratory air”.
UFH always goes all out in celebration during graduation. Although the virtual space cannot capture the joviality 100%, we will still achieve this celebratory air through our wealth of archives
“UFH always goes all out in celebration during graduation. Although the virtual space cannot capture the joviality 100%, we will still achieve this celebratory air through our wealth of archives,” she said.
According to Masha, there will be six different video clips to represent each of the university’s faculties.
“The deans will each present their faculty’s qualifications. This way, graduates and their families don’t have to watch the whole presentation to get to their names. This also ensures they won’t incur steep data costs when, at a click of a button, they can just directly watch their faculty graduation or those of their peers,” said Masha.
Institutional advancement director Tandi Mapukata said the UFH team was presented with a challenge to break new ground.
“With limited or no university resources at all, for a number of months now the technical staff in institutional advancement have invested personal assets to deliver professional hi-tech UFH projects,” she said.
“The virtual graduation project is a welcome challenge. We are constructing something big and professional from a zero base. It’s going to look great,” said Mapukata.