30 November 2021

Opening the ceremony, Vice-Chancellor Professor Thoko Mayekiso, said UMP is committed to offering students a life-changing experience through high-quality curricular and co-curricular programmes which promote the principles of excellence, free enquiry, and academic integrity. 

“We endeavour to enable our students to realise their full potential in the full spectrum of cognitive, social, aesthetic and personal dimensions in pursuit of democratic citizenship. As a result, the university provides learning opportunities that encourage the holistic development of students,” she said.

“At UMP we pride ourselves on educating our students for work and life. It is commonly known that co-curricular activities engage students in ways far beyond the classroom experience. Later in life, when you seek employment, awards in co-curricular excellence make you stand out among your peers,” she continued.

Professor Mayekiso further said curricular activities promote enthusiasm, vitality, persistence, perseverance, positive thinking, and team spirit. “They also inculcate the spirit of resilience, never giving up in the face of adversity and formidable challenges. Aspects of emotional intelligence such as self-awareness, self-acceptance, motivation and the ability to delay gratification are enhanced when students participate and excel in co-curricular activities,” she explained.

Focus on the value you bring

Delivering the keynote address, Mr Phiri encouraged students to understand the factors required to play in the bigger game. “Wherever you grew up, you have the same capabilities as everyone else. What then makes one person succeed and another fail? Why do some people make it big, and others don’t? 

“Often times we find that people who are not as educated, seem to do better in certain circumstances. This is because they focus on the value they bring, instead of asking what value they will get.” 

Mr Phiri said the mistake most people make is to say, I'm educated now, what are you going to give me? What are you going to do for me? Whereas you should be focusing on your own particular value add. 

“Focusing on the value you bring, the first question is what do you want? Do you want to be an entrepreneur, do you want to work for a big company, what do you want to do? Your answers to these questions are very important because they will help you determine the path you're going to choose and focus on. Don’t go through life without planning the path ahead.”

UMPUMP students that were honoured at the Co-Curricular Awards Ceremony.

Challenge your beliefs

Mr Phiri further encouraged students to know what they want to do and the reason for doing it. “What do you want to achieve? What do you hope to get out of this? Are your reasons good enough? How will you deal with what happens in life?”, he added.

“You might feel, for example, that a particular course you are struggling with, shouldn’t even be in the curriculum. I never understood why I had to take accounting while I was studying IT, but in the end that accounting knowledge stood me in good stead.” 

In conclusion, Mr Phiri advised students to have good plans in place, and to take the necessary actions to make those plans happen. “Challenge your beliefs. I encourage all of you to challenge your beliefs. What are your beliefs around what you can do and who can help you? Be in the game, remember to know you want to be compelling, then take massive action and build great companies. I’m giving you the belief that you can!”

The Winners of the 2021 Student Co-Curricular Activities Awards:
  • Residence of the Year Award: Building 7- Mbombela Campus.
  • Society of the Year Award: ENACTUS.
  • Sports Team/Club of the Year Award (Female): UMP Netball Team.
  • Student Representative Council (SRC) Member of the Year Award: Vuyelwa Magagula.
  • House Committee Member of the Year Award: Zamadlamini Nkosi.
  • Society Administrator of the Year Award: Kenny Lethuxolo Nhlope.
  • Sportswoman of the Year Award: Lerato Baloyi.
  • The Living and Learning Achiever of the Year Award: Christeldah Mkhonto.
  • Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award for Excellence in Leadership: Female Student Leader: Vuyelwa Magagula.
  • Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award for Excellence in Leadership: Male Student Leader: Moses Timana.

Congratulating the winners, Professor Mayekiso said: “Mastery of self is very important, as is the leadership of self. By learning and applying these to self-growth, insights like mindfulness, cultivating resilience, handling stress, refining interpersonal skills, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking become possible,” she continued. 

“You have put UMP on the map and enhanced our brand’s reputation. More importantly, you have taught many that as much as winning is important, what's is more important is how you play the game fairly, cordially, enthusiastically and with commitment.”

@ Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures: ChrisplPhoto.