The 2019 Autumn Graduation ceremonies of the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) ended on Wednesday, 17 April in Upington, when 23 students graduated in various national diploma programmes offered at this campus, namely: Agricultural Management; Tourism Management; Human Resources Management; and Internal Auditing and Marketing.
The guest speaker, Mr Charl du Plessis, CEO of the Orange River Cellars Cooperative Limited, the second biggest wine cooperative in the southern hemisphere, shared his sentiments of when he first received his degree as part of motivating newly qualified graduates of the Upington campus. He expressed how excited he was after receiving his first degree, though he was frustrated by the lack of prospects of employment. He never lost hope, however. The first two jobs he secured did not pay much but created a lot of opportunities for his career path. He had to learn to cope with more work and less pay in both instances, which was a good reason for him to resign, but he kept on working. Today, he does not regret the opportunity these challenges presented to him by exposing him to various job opportunities at different companies locally and internationally.
Mr Du Plessis encouraged graduates to never give up when they face the same battles. He advised them not to focus too much on good pay but on gaining the necessary experience, to see challenges as opportunities because they will never regret going through rough times to gain experience.
Prof Gordon Zide, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of VUT, said he was touched by Mr Du Plessis’ academic and career journey as it reminded him of that of his father who worked at Stellenbosch University for over 50 years. “His endeavours eventually led to one of the dining halls being named after him: The Richard Zide Eetsaal,” he smiled. He urged graduates to lift others as they rise because they have fulfilled their dreams and can share them with their families. He advised them to engage with people who will build them and not mislead them socially, politically or culturally.
“Build capacity to develop into a better person; lifting others as you rise,” he said in closing.
Article by: Kediemetse Mokotsi