Message: Convocation President
UKZN welcomes new Convocation President
| Mr Vusumuzi ‘Fanle’ Sibisi |
He currently heads the largest stakeholder group of the University of KwaZulu-Natal with a membership of over 140 000 alumni, which is regarded as an important voice to change the future of the University.
Mr Vusumuzi Wiseman Sibisi, also known as ‘Fanle’ among his peers, was recently elected as the new Convocation President and his appointment came with the election of two representatives on Council and six Convocation Executive members.
‘Being President of Convocation is the great honour, in fact, I feel humbled and highly appreciated by the society of graduates and the University in its entirety,’ he said.
Sibisi, who graduated with Bachelor of Admin degree in 2007, currently works as an Assesor at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport (Provincial Regulatory Entity). ‘It is a challenging job because we mostly deal with the taxi industry and other modes of land transport,’ said Sibisi.
His job involves assessing routes applied for by individual members of taxi associations in ensuring that conflict is avoided, mediate conflict and disputes between taxi operators or taxi associations.
Asked about his plans during his tenure, 29 year old Sibisi said it remains a challenge to get all the graduates to participate in Convocation. He added this can be attributed to many different situations, hence they cannot blame anybody.
‘Our duty is to ensure that we take the Convocation and its role to greater heights. We need to ensure that our good working relations that have been established with the Council of the University are enhanced,’ he said.
He added that by maintaining and fostering new relationships with Government officials and the private sector, it will ensure that they collectively shape the University. ‘As a University we need to respond to societal needs and all prominent figures must serve as Ambassadors of the University,’ he said.
However he said the new responsibility remains an enormous challenge that he believes, with the executive team that he was elected with, they will overcome. He said they vow to protect the integrity of the University’s qualifications as well as of the University in general.
Born and raised in Mtulwa, a deep rural community in KwaZulu-Natal, Sibisi understands some of the difficult financial, housing, and teaching and learning challenges faced by students who come from disadvantaged communities, which, through miscommunication, usually results in students’ strike action.
Sibisi, a father of three, was brought up by his mother, who works as a general assistant at Applesbosch Hospital. He grew up as a soccer player and a supporter of Orlando Pirates.
He has served the University in a number of structures, such as House Committee member in 2008; the UKZN Soccer team between 2006 – 2007 and the first elected Student Representative Council President (Westville Campus) after the merger in 2006 – 2007.
He started to participate in the student politics upon his arrival at the then University of Durban Westville where he joined SASCO and the ANC YL. He was elected as a Gender Officer in SASCO, the Deputy Chair of the ANC YL in the branch and served as a member of the House Committee at Killarney and Coastlands residences simultaneously. The highlight of his years in student politics was when he was elected to serve as the Deputy Chairperson of SASCO in KwaZulu-Natal under the leadership of Mr Sammy Mashita, current Convocation representative on Council.
Advising the current and upcoming student leaders he said: ‘Student leaders must focus on what matters the most for students and that requires research capacity building, and also good working relations with the Dean of Students as well as the University community.
‘It remains important not to corrupt so that when you argue, you remain unshaken by your wrongs. Student leaders must also look into the issue of sitting on tender committees, whether it’s a strength or weakness for them. But one thing for sure is that nobody can defend and represent students better than students themselves.’
Today’s SRC now has several opportunities to lead by positive example in achieving their goals. ‘Communication is the key to success.’