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Wits graduation shows SA’s true potential



In an era where South Africa’s challenges often cast a long shadow over its narrative, moments that illuminate our collective spirit and resilience carry profound impact. Recently, at a graduation ceremony at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), I was reminded of the enduring hope and unity that defines our nation.

Set against the majestic backdrop of the Great Hall, the ceremony was a masterful fusion of tradition and modernity. Every detail, from gown fittings to photography, was managed with remarkable efficiency. The choir’s performance, blending the traditional Gaudeamus with South African national anthems and a joyful African song of gratitude, resonated with everyone present.

The speeches delivered insight and realism, yet were infused with hope. They acknowledged the myriad challenges we face, but underscored the crucial role of the younger generation in shaping our nation’s future. The expressions of gratitude for the support systems that have underpinned graduates’ journeys highlighted the communal effort behind individual successes.

A conversation with a couple beside us, whose own educational journey ended at Standard 6 (Grade 8) but who were there to celebrate their daughter’s graduation, served as a powerful reminder of the transformative power of education in South Africa. This story, like many others shared that day, bridged gaps in background and belief, highlighting our shared aspirations for our children’s futures. The communal joy in celebrating each graduate’s name being called was a testament to the supportive and inclusive spirit that unites us.

As the ceremony concluded, transitioning from the solemnity of traditional academic processions to the electricity of James Brown’s I Feel Good, an amazing scene unfolded outside the Great Hall. Family members unable to secure tickets had gathered in circles, singing and dancing to celebrate their graduates. This vibrant display wasn’t just deeply moving, but reflected the strength and warmth of our national character.

Wits is a remarkable institution and a national jewel. This graduation ceremony served as a microcosm of our society’s hope, resilience, and vibrant culture, a society truly blessed by its people, yet faced with political challenges.

As we approach the elections and navigate our country’s future, let’s cling to the hope and aspirations we hold and refuse to succumb to cynicism and negativity. The youth, brimming with promise and potential and deserving of better governance, is pivotal in shaping the future. With Hashem’s help, it’s a future we can all contribute to, creating an environment where the next generation can thrive as it rightfully should.

  • Benjy Porter is an entrepreneur, community, and family man.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Monica Miriam

    Apr 14, 2024 at 12:56 pm

    Brilliant and insightful article Benji. Thank you. The stories that I’ve heard of lately are the opposite of what you are claiming here. So good to get (another/positive) perspective

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