Dr Sizwe Mabizela's Welcome Message




It is with great delight that I welcome you, our new students, to Rhodes University. If you have been counting days to the start of your exciting new experience at Rhodes University, we have also been waiting expectantly for your arrival. Welcome! You are about to embark on an important and exciting adventure of your life – a journey of self-discovery.

You are joining a 115-year old university with an enviable reputation for and legacy of academic excellence and of nurturing exceptional intellectual talent of young people like you. 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 dissemination in their fields of research. This means that our students are taught by academics who are actively engaged in creating 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. 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, skills and competences, we also develop and nurture their ability and capacity to reason, to analyse, to reflect and to argue using knowledge. Our approach to teaching and learning is one that seeks to expose our students to the nature of knowledge and induct them to the intricacies and the mysteries of creating new knowledge and adapting or applying old knowledge in new contexts.

Rhodes University is a learning community.  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 and 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 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. Our University works hard to create a caring and supportive institutional culture and an affirming 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 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 are 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 using the power of reasoned and rational argument and logic to persuade those who may hold views that are different to theirs and refrain from resorting to intimidation, coercion and violence as a legitimate form of engagement. We encourage our students to endeavour at all times to uphold the values that we cherish deeply in an institution of higher learning: treating each other with respect, dignity and honesty.  Every member of the Rhodes University community enjoys 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 for behaviour motivated by xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and all other forms of intolerance, bigotry and chauvinistic attitudes at Rhodes University.

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 the wide array of services and opportunities provided by the University to enrich your experience and enhance your chances of success.

Our academic and support staff are here to support 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.

We wish you much success in the years ahead at Rhodes University. Welcome to a place of hope, a place of aspiration, and a place of inspiration!








Last Modified: Fri, 25 Jan 2019 09:35:36 SAST