Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa installed as the first Chancellor of the University of Mpumalanga.
WHITE RIVER – Education, skills, and enlightenment are essential for real freedom, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday.
Speaking in White River at his installation ceremony as chancellor of the newly-established University of Mpumalanga, Ramaphosa said the new university, among the first established in a free and democratic South Africa, and was an affirmation of “our conviction that only an educated people, a skilled people, an enlightened people, can be a free people”.
“This young African university will become more than a seat of learning and a repository of knowledge. It will become an instrument of progress, a beacon of hope. This is a university whose identity and posture is unashamedly African,” he said.
As one of South Africa’s first post-apartheid universities – together with the Sol Plaatje University in the Northern Cape – the University of Mpumalanga was uniquely placed to define the university of the new democratic age.
DP Ramaphosa installed as the first Chancellor of the University of MP at Ingwenyama Conference Resort, White River pic.twitter.com/LLileGmIHV— South African Gov (@GovernmentZA) April 2, 2016
“It does not have the history of great institutions like Fort Hare or the resources of a Cape Town or Stellenbosch, but it has the kernel of what can grow into a leading African university.
“The University of Mpumalanga exists to create opportunities. It serves many students from impoverished backgrounds. It serves the children of farm workers, mine workers, factory workers, and the many others who have struggled throughout their lives to overcome our awful apartheid inheritance. It serves students who come to this university under-prepared,” Ramaphosa said.
This placed a great responsibility on the university to ready these young people for study – to bridge the divide between what was and what should be.
It placed a responsibility on the university to pay close attention to the material circumstances of its students and to do everything possible to ensure that every student had the means to study, to live, and to succeed.
“This university must join its fellow institutions to work with government to ensure that no person is denied access to higher education because they are poor.
“We need to work together to develop funding mechanisms that are sustainable and ensure a high quality of education,” Ramaphosa said.