Gauteng Alumni chapter sets the pace and tone

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If the turn out for and reactions at the Gauteng Alumni Gala dinner on Friday 20 March 2015 is anything to go by, then the university has moved off the starting blocks in preparations for the much awaited 2016 centenary celebrations. The official launch of the centenary countdown is due to start in May this year. The outgoing CEO of FirstRand, Dr Sizwe Nxasana who obtained his Bachelor of Commerce degree from Fort Hare in 1979, Vice Chancellor Dr Mvuyo Tom and members of the Central Centenary Committee played host to alumni of different generations at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Rosebank, Johannesburg. Dr Tom called on Alumni to brace themselves for the act of celebrating a lifetime, a lifetime of excellence and innovation, a lifetime of legends and to remember their Alma Mater, the University of Fort Hare.

 The centenary book is in the process of being written with the help of Professor Wotshela (University of Fort Hare) Prof Lungisile Ntsebeza (University of Cape Town) and Dr Mcebisi Ndletyana,  head of Political Economy Faculty at Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA),  the team will work on documenting the history of the university and the centenary itself.

Libraries are among the centenary projects for both the East London and Alice campuses. A collaborative library in East London will soon be constructed to service Fort Hare, Walter Sisulu and UNISA whilst in Alice one alumnus has made an offer that if the currently proposed  new  Alice campus  library building  is altered to be a single story building he can fund the whole project, said Dr Tom.

Strides are being made to improve students’ experience while at Fort Hare. Construction of the new 2000-bed student village with a state of art student centre is currently at an advanced stage. In addition, new programs that will make the university unique are planned, amongst these being Agricultural Engineering, Veterinary Health science, Marine Science, Electrical Engineering and Electronics.

The guest speaker, Dr Nxasana acknowledged that the continent is at a leadership crossroads and yet there are leaders in excess in the continent. The biggest problem is to shape the state of mind of people and the continent will rely on institutions like Fort Hare to change the state of the civil society and the university can only achieve this with the help of the people. He said people should move from the state of mind that somebody should do it for “us”…. We should get involved and help UFH to change the direction of the continent, he said.

The members of the centenary committee were introduced to the Gauteng chapter audience. They are: Mr Ayanda Mjekula, Prof Loyiso Nongxa, Mrs Thandi Orleyn, Mr  Sebulela George, Mrs Nolitha Fakude, Mr Bheki Khumalo,  Miss Zintle Filtane and Mr Lizo Phiti.