Dr Sizwe Mabizela's Welcome Message


  VC portrait for 2022


Welcome to Rhodes University! I am delighted that you have chosen our University for your higher education phase of your academic journey. You have successfully overcome many challenges throughout your years of schooling, particularly those recently created by the once-in-a-century global health crises – the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 and 2021, your education was severely disrupted by this pandemic. You have had to learn new and drastically different ways of learning, living and relating to others. You have demonstrated remarkable courage, resilience and determination to cope with uncertainty and stress. Look where you are now! Hearty congratulations and well done. Your success and achievements have come at a significant personal sacrifice.

If you have been counting days to the start of your exciting new experience at Rhodes University, we too have been awaiting your arrival with much excitement and anticipation You are about to embark on an important and exciting adventure of a lifetime – a journey of self-discovery, growth and development.

You are joining a 119-year-old truly special university with a long history of achievement and a rich legacy of academic excellence. Our University enjoys the best pass and graduation rates of any South African university. We have outstanding postgraduate success rates and enjoy one of the best research outputs per academic staff member of any South African university. Our academics are at the forefront of knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination in their fields of research. They are recognised by their peers around the globe as world leaders and experts in the research fields. This means that you may be taught by academics who are actively engaged in creating and disseminating new knowledge. You have chosen wisely indeed!

We are proud of and strive to maintain our reputation as an outstanding university that provides high quality formative education for its students. At Rhodes University we do not just equip our graduates with technical skills for jobs; we educate and prepare them for a future – a future that is uncertain; a future that is unpredictable; a future that is unknown and unknowable; a future that is complex; a future that is constantly changing. We educate, prepare and nurture responsible and engaged global citizens who are able to cope with, and thrive in, uncertainty and change.

A university is a space for contestation of ideas. Ideas are the lifeblood of our intellectual endeavour. And so, not only do we expose our students to new knowledge, technical skills and competences, we also develop and nurture their ability and capacity to reason, analyse, reflect and argue using knowledge and evidence. As a research-intensive university, our approach to teaching and learning is one that seeks to expose our students to the nature of knowledge and induct them into the intricacies and mysteries of creating new knowledge and adapting or applying old knowledge in new contexts.

Rhodes University is a learning community dedicated to furthering public good.  We learn from and through each other, and for us learning extends beyond a lecture theatre, seminar room, library, or laboratory. It also occurs in sports fields, social clubs, student societies, extra-curricular activities and through participation in community engagement initiatives. Your involvement in these and other activities outside of the classroom setting is essential for your holistic development, growth and education. You must however learn to balance your academic demands, extracurricular activities and social life in order to become a well-rounded and well-educated graduate of Rhodes University.

One of the exciting aspects of university experience is the opportunity to meet and interact with other young people who come from different social, economic, geographic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This diversity is essential to create a vibrant intellectual, social and cultural environment which is key to achieving academic excellence and personal growth and development. Our University works hard to create a caring and supportive institutional culture and an affirming and supportive environment which values and celebrates diversity and respects and appreciates individual differences. We encourage you to keep an open mind and be willing to share your ideas, perspectives, views and experiences with other students in a manner that is respectful and enhances understanding of what it means to be fully human.  More important, we encourage you to form new bonds of friendship with other young people whose lived experiences may be different to yours.

As an institution “where leaders learn” and with the motto Vis Virtus Veritas (Truth, Virtue and Strength), we encourage our students to develop the capacity to raise critical, complex and uncomfortable issues that face our society and humankind in a thoughtful and respectful manner. Using the power of reasoned and rational argument and logic, they can persuade those who may hold views that are different to theirs. We encourage our students to endeavour at all times to uphold the values that we cherish deeply at Rhodes University: treating each other with respect, courtesy, dignity and honesty.  Every member of the Rhodes University community enjoys all the rights enshrined in our Constitution. In particular, no one has a right to interfere with the bodily integrity of another person without their consent. Our University has a zero tolerance to sexual and gender-based violence. There is no place at Rhodes University for any behaviour motivated by xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and all other forms of intolerance, bigotry and chauvinistic attitudes.

The University’s Orientation Programme is designed not only to provide you with information on courses that are on offer at Rhodes University, but also to expose you to a wide range of support services and opportunities provided by the University to enrich your experience and enhance your chances of growth, development and academic success. The Orientation Programme is also designed to help you settle quickly and smoothly in campus life and in your studies.

Our academic and support staff are here to support and guide you; they are here to help you realise your dreams, hopes and aspirations; they are here to help you navigate the important transition into adulthood; they are here to make your university experience a positive, rewarding and a fulfilling one. As a small University with dedicated, committed and professional staff, we are able to offer that personal touch that may make a difference in your life. We encourage you to use all the professional assistance and support services available to you.

Use your time at Rhodes wisely; discover your passion and find your purpose in life. And, as Donovan Bailey advises, follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don't let anyone limit your dreams.

Even as we start our 2023 academic year, the threat of the COVID-19 virus remains a constant presence. Our University places a very high priority on ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of students, staff and the surrounding Makhanda community.  In pursuit of this important objective and common good, we urge you to be mindful of others and to play your part in protecting yourself and those around you from contracting the coronavirus.

We wish you much success in the years ahead. Welcome to a place of hope; welcome to a place that inspires imagination; and welcome to a place that nurtures creativity; welcome to a place of ideas. Welcome to Rhodes University!







Last Modified: Mon, 16 Jan 2023 00:37:27 SAST