3 July 2021
Africa University installed it’s fifth Chancellor Bishop Gaspar Joao Doingos from Angola and hosted its second virtual graduation ceremony on the 3rd of July 2021 which is the 27th graduation in the history of the institution. The virtual ceremony which drew collective viewership of over 10 000 from across Africa , the US and Europe on Facebook and YouTube platforms saw graduands from 24 African nations namely Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Eswatini, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome Principe, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – take top honors for academic excellence, community service and leadership during their studies.
The festivities began with the installation of the 5th Chancellor of Africa University Bishop Gaspar Domingos of Angola, who was appointed to the position early this year after the university tragically lost its 4th Chancellor Bishop John Yambasu of Sierra Leone in 2020 in a car accident. Bishop Domingos was uplifted and honored with citations and blessings from Board Chairman Bishop Mande Muyombo who led the ceremony, Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Mageto, Reverend Allen Gurupira who represented Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa of the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area and The Reverend Greg Bergquist, Secretary General of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM).
In his acceptance speech, the Chancellor Bishop Domingos affirmed his commitment to serve the university, its staff and the community throughout his tenure standing for the institution and its values.
“It is my sworn oath to the Africa University Board of Directors who saw it fit to appoint me, to the university staff and students whom I shall shepherd, to the alumni, stakeholders and partners that I shall foster and to the future students whose journey has not yet begun with us, that I shall stand with and for you. I shall be the institution’s ambassador extolling the virtues of this great university. I shall share our vision for the creation of the Africa we all dream of creating through excellence in education, relevant and impactful research and the nurture of the next generation of African leadership.”
Bishop Domingos went on to call upon Africa University staff, students, alumni stakeholders, partners and friends to continue to contribute to and share in the amazing journey of the institution that has achieved so much in its nearly 30 years of existence.
“I eagerly look forward working with and alongside you as we take our university to greater heights. I entreat each and every one of you to renew and reaffirm your commitment to Africa University and to the continent of Africa. The only means through which a home can grow is through the work and dedication of the children of that household. Our future, our destiny and the welfare of generations to come rests with us and nobody else. The continent of Africa is ours to uplift and also ours to destroy. Let us work hard to achieve the former. Others may turn their backs on the continent but we, as the sons and daughters of Africa can never do so. As our hallowed school motto says, we must invest in Africa. This university has begun the race and the task to finish it rests with us and with the over 500 graduands going out into the world today.”
To the outgoing class of 2021, their parents and their guardians Bishop Domingos said,
“Though you are departing while I am beginning my tenure, remember Africa University and all she has helped you to achieve in your time here. My prayers are with you and your families. Go forth bravely in the knowledge that the future belongs to you and the possibilities of what you can be come are endless. To your families and guardians, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to you for sacrificing so much for your children. May you be richly blessed as today you share in their accomplishment and are honoured through this celebration for all that you have done.”
The 27th Graduation Ceremony began shortly after the installation of the Chancellor where Guest of Honor and keynote speaker Dr. Michael O. Ugwueke, President and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tennessee delivered a rousing address to the class of 2021 challenging them to look beyond hardship and towards opportunities that lie in the midst of upheaval. Narrating his life as a refugee during the civil war in Nigeria in the 80’s through to his struggles of working and studying after reaching the United States, Dr. Ugwueke emphasized the need for fortitude and resilience. He also encouraged the class of 2021 to look at Africa with new eyes and see it as more than simply a continent to flee from after the attainment of degrees and other qualifications. He stressed that Africa needs it’s youth to remain and invest in its potential and development stating that it is a continent on the rise that has the potential to become a leading global economy.
Reinforcing the message of Dr. Ugwueke, Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Mageto in his opening remarks spoke of the continuing pandemic that necessitated the need for another virtual graduation ceremony after the first in 2020 emphasizing that within the challenges and threats posed by the virus, opportunities presented themselves where Africa University as the first institution of higher learning in the country to be accredited to offer online programmes, managed to rise above the disruption and ensure the continuation of the academic calendar. He also applauded the achievements of the class of 2021 which is a milestone cohort seeing off the first class of the Social Work, International Relations and Computer Information Systems (Online) programmes among others.
“We are graduating the first cohort of our Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Social Work, the Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in International Relations, Master of Education in Educational Technology Studies, and Master of Science in International Relations and Diplomacy. Africa University has been offering fully accredited online programs well before the pandemic started. Today we will witness the graduation of the first cohort of the Bachelor of Science Honours in Computer Information Systems which was taught completely online, from start to finish.”
Acting VC Prof. Mageto went on to mention that a number of new and exciting programmes have been accredited to begin in the August 2021 semester, among these the much-anticipated Bachelor of Law Degree that is set to welcome its first cohort in August. Prof. Mageto also appreciated the university’s partners whose dedication and shared commitment to uplifting African communities has resulted in high impact and dynamic programmes that are focused on in- demand ,relevant and innovation driven sectors of the African development agenda.
“We give our appreciation to WIPO and ARIPO for their continued support of the MIP programme, Claflin University for development of the joint Master of Science degree in Biotechnology and Climate Change, UNICEF for their support on the Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Harmful Practices, the USAID for the Insectary mosquito research, which has resulted in the registration of a patent, and the Africa University farm development trust through the commissioning of a Tilapia fish project.”
Before the awarding of degrees to the graduands, Honorary Doctorate recipient Mr Shingai Mutasa of Masawara Holdings was presented with the full honours and privileges of the honorary degree of Doctor in Business Leadership (Honoris Causa) for his sterling contributions to the advance of ethical business and nurture of investment within Africa through the Masawara Group.
Africa University’s graduates who number over 10 000 from 31 African nations have gone on to become thought leaders, influencers and game changers within their nations, using their skills for positive impact and the development of Africa.