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University
16 August 2021

UMP COMMUNITY: REMAIN RESOLUTE AND RESILIENT

On 7 August, it became day number 500, since the country went into various levels of lockdown. A lot happened in this period, and now the Delta version of the COVID-19 is having the country in its grip, and generating a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. When people are uncertain, they tend to despair, and fatigue sets in, as we are urged to continue being vigilant, and do the right things.

9 August was a significant day, Women’s Day. Celebrating and commemorating that day in 1956, when women took a courageous march to pressurize the apartheid regime to drop its horrible pass laws. Women were reminded of the fact that there are other struggles that still remain – fighting for equality, breaking the back of patriarchy, getting rid of the scourge of Gender Based Violence and having a society where all can thrive, irrespective of their gender.

This communique, is meant to remind us to optimize our own sense of agency, to urge us not to lose hope, to challenge us to strive for being the best at what we are doing, and collectively continue to make UMP a campus of choice to study at, and to work at.

This communique, is meant to remind us to optimize our own sense of agency, to urge us not to lose hope, to challenge us to strive for being the best at what we are doing, and collectively continue to make UMP a campus of choice to study at, and to work at.

Each of the Es taken in turn Embrace change: It is important to embrace change, rather than resist it. It is not a cliché, but reality that change is the only constant. We have shown the penchant to embrace change, when we followed the health protocols : washing hands frequently, sanitizing, observing social distancing, and wearing masks. We need to continue doing these without prodding and policing. May it be in each one to do these, fully knowing that you are protecting all of us when you do so.

Encourage one another: It has been a long journey and in many ways , the disease has taken its toll. However, much as we do not know when this will end , there are signs of hope: vaccination taking place, over 7 million South Africans vaccinated already – and soon to include the 18- 35 years cohort . Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson and other vaccines will soon be used.

Merck Sharpe and Dohme( MSD ) are on the third trials of a drug that will slow the progress of the virus when people are infected thereby reducing hospitalization and death rates. This signifies great progress.

Empower yourselves: Empower yourselves with knowledge and learn new developments with regard to advances made in the on-line learning space. Zoom and Microsoft Teams have entered our vocabulary, and working from home responsibly, and achieving objectives has been shown by staff and students of UMP alike.

Enlist help: Never hesitate to ask for help. Humans are social beings, and should, therefore, never suffer in silence. There is so much collective insight we can tap into, available to us, only if we ask. Much as the virus is new in many ways, creativity and innovation have not deserted our human selves.

Extend a helping hand: Do not hesitate to extend a helping hand to others. There is fulfillment derived from helping others. It is the right thing to do. It is also a noble human trait.

Enlighten others: Do not hoard information. The caution though is to ensure that you get information from authentic and genuine sources – not fake news. Nothing beats application of knowledge.

Engage others in dialogue: We have demonstrated as the UMP community, on several occasions, that there is value in engaging one another. Misinformation abounds out there, and as the younger cohort like most of you becomes eligible for vaccination, remain open minded but vigilant – following scientists for advice, and not consuming the untested diatribe that pseudo-scientists put out there.

Exercise empathy: Nothing beats putting yourself in the shoes of others. We have learnt the importance of caring for one another. The appreciation of doing so has deepened over the last year and a half. May you continue exercising this empathy.

Conclusion

As you study and work online, may you keep in mind the human links that bind us and the aspirations that we want to attain. May the Es shared with you continue to guide you, as you ensure that the UMP community works and studies in a healthy mindset – optimistic and hopeful.

We have a great and beautiful campus, and weather warmer than in many provinces. May renewal and self-improvement be what we strive for all the time.

Prof Thoko Mayekiso
Vice - Chancellor
11 August 202