28 October 2022

Opening the 5th Co-Curricular Awards ceremony, Vice-Chancellor Professor Thoko Mayekiso said UMP places a high premium on these awards and has put a considerable amount of thinking and resources into ensuring that the vast talents that exist among students are recognised and rewarded in a systematic manner.

“Those of you who will be receiving awards this evening should feel proud of yourselves. You are truly deserving of what you will receive, because the criteria by which you have been evaluated has been quite rigorous,” she said.

Professor Mayekiso explained that co-curricular activities refer to those activities which complement the learning of the students in the classroom.

"We endeavour to enable our students to realise their 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 further said that the university prides itself on educating students for work 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 make you stand out among your peers.

You invariably become like a pool of excellence, separating you from the sea of mediocrity. We do not only prepare students to enter their respective professions, but train future leaders for South Africa and beyond, inculcating UMP values.”

UMPVice-Chancellor’s Scholarship Awards for Personal and Leadership Development.

Going beyond academics

Delivering the keynote address, UMP Senior Lecturer of Economics Dr Ferdinand Niyimbanira encouraged students to know that although education and qualifications are very important, they are not the only thing they need to have and to know in life.

“Many young students today are stuck in the same mindset that they only need to pass very well but they missed the process of learning soft skills, which they will need in the future. If they are not equipped with necessary soft skills, they will find it very difficult to overcome challenges which they might come across in the future.”

“Life is a balance between knowledge, behaviour and soft skills. Behaviour is one thing that can easily make a difference in our lives. If you have knowledge and qualifications, which are required in life, and you have the skills to be successful and achieve your goals but if you lack good behaviour or discipline the chances of failing are 100%. But if you have good behaviour and you lack the knowledge and the skills needed to be successful, the chance that you will succeed is almost 90%,” he said.

UMPIndividual winners of the co-curricular awards with the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mayekiso and the Dean of Students, Dr Paul Maminza.

Dr Niyimbanira further said, “You are among students who understand that having good grades in your modules is not enough, thanks to the University of Mpumalanga that provides not only excellence in academic work but across everything we do. Our entire lives we all seem to be in discovery for excellence in everything we do.”

“The world we live in has marvellous and amazing complicated set of connection and interconnections between everything to such an extent that nothing works alone. Hence, I say you are team players and for you to be a team player you must have a team. It is through belonging that you learn the soft skills and discover that you are a leader.

I am calling you leaders because you are responsible for your own growth by participating in whichever co-curricular activity you are involved in. The fact that you were invited to be here tonight means you are talented, you have strong qualities that only few have, which makes you a leader,” he added.

Dr Niyimbanira concluded by showing a slide show of how participating in co-curricular activities has contributed to his own success as well as landing a job opportunity at UMP.

UMPBest sports team and best female sports team: Mbombela Campus ladies football team.

The Winners of the 2022 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): Mbombela Campus ladies football team.
  • Sports Team/Club of the Year Award: Mbombela Campus ladies football team.
  • Student Representative Council (SRC) Member of the Year Award: Bishop Pilusa.
  • House Committee Member of the Year Award: Mandy Fasika.
  • Society Administrator of the Year Award: Zanele Mkhatshwa.
  • Sportswoman of the Year Award: Bongiwe Mahlangu (Volleyball).
  • The Living and Learning Achiever of the Year Award: Lethu Nhlapho.
  • Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award for Excellence in Leadership:
    Female Student Leader: Thandeka Mahlangu.
  • Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award for Excellence in Leadership:
    Male Student Leader: Bathini Madinawe.
UMPBest society group of the year: UMP ENACTUS.

Congratulating the winners, outgoing SRC President Bathini Madinawe said: “This awards ceremony is a traditional event that takes place annually in our university to recognise and reward students for their excellence. I would like to appreciate and congratulate all students who positively portrayed the elements of excellence.

I know that the students who won the awards tonight have performed beyond reasonable doubt. Regardless of their fears, these students have something in common – they love what they are doing and work hard to represent our university.”

@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures @Chrisplphoto.