UFH Luminaries reminisce through a reunion
Today, 12 April 2019, the University of Fort Hare is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1968 through a reunion. This class was part of the golden years of the University of Fort Hare. In August 2018, it was the fiftieth year since the student protests in August 1968 that led to the temporary closure of the University and the expulsion of many student leaders. Among these were Prof Barney Pityana and Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, who were student leaders at the time in the protest against the appointment of the then Rector Professor De Wet, a member of the Broederbond. Through this event, these luminaries, have started to engage the current generation of student leaders and activists and used the event to promote the image of the University and see how the institution can build on the foundation of their legacy and generations that followed. Hosted by Prof. Barney Pityana and the Vice Chancellor Prof Buhlungu, the participants included the Chancellor Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza ( Chancellor of UFH), Mfundi Vundla (Executive Producer of Generations: The Legacy) , Peter Vundla (Advertising Industry Veteran) , Prof Louis Malomu ( Former Registrar of Unisa), Dr Nomathamsanqa Tisani, Dr Langakazi ‘Snowy’ Msengana , Mpumi Bikitsha and other esteemed alumni. The day started with a tour of the Alice campus and followed with a visit to the great Lovedale College (now a TVET College) where many of the delegates spent some time as well.
The delegates also went to see the ZK Mathews house together with the student village and were happy to see the additional residencies funded by DHET being erected. The delegates were also treated to a rendition by the UFH Alice Choir and Marimba Band and were given an opportunity to address students.
The highlight of the day was the Gala Dinner held in a marquee outside the Xhosa Language Centre and was attended by UFH Senior Management including the Vice Chancellor: Prof Sakhela Buhlungu, Dean of Research: Prof Pumla Gqola and the new Director of International Affairs: Dr Hlulani Mabasa.
The attendees were treated to an amazing performance by Nduduzo Makhathini. Mr Makhathini is the Head of the Music Department at the university and is a national and international award winning Jazz artist. Born on 24 September 1982, he hails from Umgungundlovu, Pietermaritzburg. He comes from a musical family and his love for music began at an early age.Makhathini has performed with the likes of Zim Ngqawana, Feya Feku, McCoy Mrubata and is one of the shining diamonds the university has.
In his welcoming message, Vice Chancellor Prof Buhlungu, summed up the university challenges including governance issues. In the same breath he also mentioned the new student village phase two, funded by DHET and the recent research output outcomes which place UFH at number 6 in the per capita research results for 2017.
Prof Pumla Dineo Gqola, one of the conceptual drivers of the reunion remarked “the event provided the class of 1968 and the institution with an opportunity to reflect on events leading to the protests and temporary closure of the University in 1968”
Prof Barney Pityana remarked that the “thing they enjoyed the most during their time at Fort Hare was the debates and the intellectual engagement. He also spoke about “the importance of the 4th Industrial revolution and how it influences all areas of the economy and the social fabric of society. He believes universities need to be different and develop new narratives and agenda and not to be a carbon copies of their competitors”