UJ Alumni Impumelelo Magazine Edition 8

Convocation welcome message: Prof Tumi Diale

Looking back over a challenging 2021, the pain the COVID-19 pandemic caused is top of mind, says Prof Tumi Diale, President of the UJ Convocation. At the same time, she is keenly aware of the gifts the pandemic delivered. In her 2022 welcome message, Prof Diale references the trauma many alumni, together with millions of people worldwide, experienced: the loss of loved ones, friends and neighbours, people who faced and survived the virus personally, the plunging economy and job losses, as well as the pandemic’s effect on mental health. “We need to acknowledge this pain and the two challenging years that we had to deal with. That said, I want to reflect on the lessons learned and the gifts received and how they can take us forward into 2022,” she said. A particularly successful event was the hosting of the first retiring academics lunch. UJ academics retiring at the end of 2021 were invited to lunch in October to bring them back into the system through the Convocation of which all retired academics are members. “We are re-dash-membering them,” she said. Prof Diale discussed the progress of the Convocation’s five projects: the SWC Female Residence, the Alumni House and Wellness, the

number of groups and chapters. We currently have the School of Tourism and Hospitality, the Applied Information Science, the Mining Engineering and Mine Surveying, and the Commercial Accounting Affinity groups. New affinity groups will include a law affinity group, a psychology affinity group, and a School of Management Sciences affinity group. The psychology affinity group will consist of educational, industrial, counselling and clinical psychology groups. “We have alumni chapters in Gauteng and in the USA. However,

“I’m excited to say that the alumni house is well under way, and we hope that we will open the alumni house at the Johannesburg Business School in the second half of the year. It is one of our big projects, and we are looking forward to launching it,” said Prof Diale. The Convocation’s employee wellness programme is also available to immediate family members who live with members of convocation. “In terms of the affinity groups and chapters, we plan to extend the

Prof Tumi Diale, President of the UJ Convocation.

Affinity Group and Chapters, Graduate Employability, and Development & Fund-Raising.

“Sadly, the Soweto female residence project had to be put on hold due to funding challenges from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The project, under the supervision of Mr Msizi Khoza, was dependent on this funding, and when the funds were not forthcoming, we had no choice but to park it “We however appreciate and acknowledge this change from the DHET, like many of us, they had to prioritise other key issues when the pandemic hit us all. We hope that the DHE rethinks financing a residence in Soweto and that a future executive will run with it” said Diale.


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