Mandela Day Message from the Vice-Chancellor

Posted on July 17, 2019

People around the world annually commemorate the memory of Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of service to humanity by encouraging each other to contribute just 67 minutes of their time to projects that have a positive impact on people’s lives.

At the University of Pretoria, we believe in making every day a Mandela Day. The ability to address social concerns, empathise, give back and uplift humanity is part of how we make an impact and live THE UP WAY.

For many years we have integrated community work into our curriculum in nearly 300 subject modules. In 2019, some 29 000 students are exposed to providing their much-needed skills to communities around South Africa through their curriculum. There are more than 7 500 students who actively volunteer their time to making the world a better place through our official student societies. Our work cuts across more than 1 000 community partners and more than 3 000 projects

This amounts to the University of Pretoria annually contributing more than R60 million in working hours towards community engagement activities. The total improvement and effect of these working hours adds up to over R1 billion annually.

At UP we:

  • actively support efforts that see to the needs of vulnerable students;
  • help our students gain work experience through practically applying their knowledge in community work and work readiness programmes to ensure that their skills have an impact;
  • support persons with disabilities through our Disability Unit and initiatives such as Casual Day;
  • develop our community through uplifting the precincts and economic opportunities around our campuses; and
  • respond to the needs of society through our research initiatives that have a strong focus on addressing our most pressing concerns.

Every department that contributed its time, skills and resources towards Mandela Day activities demonstrated the kind of simple acts of selflessness and kindness that transform lives, our communities and society. May we take the lessons we learnt this Mandela Day with us, and may kindness, empathy, respect and tolerance always help to inform our decision-making.

Prof Tawana Kupe

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

- Author Shakira Hoosain
Published by Hlengiwe Mnguni

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