MSc graduates in Forestry and Nature Conservation, with their Supervisors; (Left to right) Noxolo Ndlovu, Dr Keith Little, Lindokuhle Dlamini, Dr Jan Venter, Dr Tineke Kraaij, Mika Vermeulen, Christopher Brooke and Francis Martens.

Nelson Mandela University’s graduation season commenced on a high note with a record number of students successfully completing their studies.

This year 454 students from George Campus, representing an increase of 25% compared to 2017, graduated with qualifications in four faculties: Science; Business and Economic Sciences; Education; Engineering, the Built Environment; and Information Technology.

There was a significant growth in the number of students who qualified with advanced qualifications in several departments, including Forestry, Game Ranch Management, Nature Conservation and Wood Technology programmes.

Seven George Campus students were awarded Master of Science degrees – five with distinction (Cum Laude).

Another highlight of the George Campus graduation, and a first for the campus, was the awarding of two doctoral degrees in the field of Botany.

Some of the National Diploma: Forestry graduates celebrating. (Back row, left to right) Lulama Kratshi and Sibonginkosi Hlatwayo. (Front row, left to right) Nomajola Fente, Ayattolah Gcwabo, Pilasande Kabeni, Nangomso Lindeni and Xhanti Myali.

Investment in the future
Addressing the graduates, Prof Sibongile Muthwa, the university’s new Vice-Chancellor, indicated that education is a critical investment in the future of our country. Quoting a poem by Mia Angelo, she indicated that students should go out into the world, pursue their passion and not lose track of their goals. If students pursue the things they love doing, “the world will not be able to take its eyes off you” she said, alluding to the fact that the university’s association with the icon Nelson Mandela brings about both high expectations and high responsibilities. She urged the graduates to use their knowledge wisely and to make a positive difference in the world.

Doctor of Philosophy
Lecturer in the Science Faculty, Bianca Currie, was awarded the degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) (Botany), with her thesis titled, Social learning for public participation in environmental governance: the case of Knysna Municipality. Dr Currie’s study was supervised by Prof Christo Fabricius.

Lisa Heider’s doctoral thesis titled, Motivation for landscape stewardship as a driver of change – Garden Route, South Africa, was also supervised by Prof Fabricius, with Prof Rob Fincham as Co-Supervisor.

Cum Laude Higher Certificate: Veldfire Management graduates, Matthew Kingma and Lihle Mfeketho flanked by their lecturers, Hannes van Zyl (left) and Braam du Preez (right). Matthew and Lihle have used their success in the certificate programme to gain entrance to the Diploma Programmes in Nature Conservation and Forestry respectively.

Masters of Science (Research)
Three students were awarded MSc-degrees in the field of Nature Conservation, while four MSc-students had pursued their studies in the field of Forestry.

Pasca Dembure’s dissertation for the qualification MSc (Forestry) supervised by Dr R Spinelly and co-supervised by Andrew McEwan and Muedanyi Ramantsana, was titled: Determining productivity, residual damage and cost of two alternative harvesting systems in Pinus elliottii thinning.

Both Lindokuhle Dlamini and Noxolo Ndlovu were awarded the degree MSc (Forestry) with distinction. Keith Little was the Supervisor for both candidates, with Dr B Sivparsad and Dr l Titshall as the two co-supervisors respectively.

Dlamini’s dissertation was titled: Understanding the impacts of foliar insect pests on Eucalyptus species growth and the development of appropriate management strategies. Ndlovu’s study focused on: Long-term impacts of re-establishment practices on pine pulpwood production, South Africa.

The fourth MSc (Forestry) graduate from George Campus, Riaan Engelbrecht, also received the qualification Cum Laude. His study, supervised by Dr R Spinelli and co-supervised by Andrew McEwan, was titled: Grapple cable yarding: a productivity model for fast-growing plantations in Sarawak, Malaysia.

The George Campus Choir performed during the graduation ceremony.

*First published in SA Forestry magazine, May 2018



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