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Rhodes University: Rhodes University honours 100 exemplary students

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On Thursday, 06 October 2022, the Rhodes University community celebrated the achievements of some of its most brilliant students in various academic, leadership, sporting, and cultural fields. The Rhodes University Top 100 Awards were established in 2009 and were introduced as a tool to honour and celebrate student excellence.

In her welcome, Rhodes University Director of Student Affairs Nomangwane Mrwetyana expressed how the awards recognised students taking advantage of the opportunity to wholeheartedly get involved in the extra-mural activities the University has on offer while maintaining a solid academic record. She further expressed how proud she was that Rhodes University was reviving the awards after a two-year hiatus (due to COVID-19). “It is important to honour and recognise the positive contributions students make, not only to the University but to the entire community of Makhanda,” she said. “I would like to remind all students to strive to embody ethical leadership as they go out into the world.”

Aside from encouraging students to live a balanced life, the awards aim to create further opportunities for winners to develop their futures, inspire the spirit of service leadership and volunteerism, and to build a fellowship of ‘achievers’ who can maintain a network and communication channel with one another.

Internationalisation Project Officer Dingaan Booi presented the General Excellence Award, for which he was the category judge. He explained that the General Excellence Award is presented to candidates who have excelled in a variety of avenues of their life as Rhodes University students. “These awardees are individuals who had many talents and managed to juggle several aspects of student life. They not only excelled in each but displayed student leadership throughout their career at the University,” he said.

The following students were awarded the Rhodes University Top 100 General Excellence Award in 2022:

Botlhale Modisaotsile
Cebisile Mbongwa
Emma Wagenaar
Handsome Ndlovu
Jason Shephard
Kristen Burgess
Matimu Shivambu
Mpho Kopheli
Nqobile Nzimande
Samantha Carolus
Sandile Lubisi
Taonga Phiri
Ulemu Makolija
Vhenekai Kashangura
Zikhona Mtwa
Viwe Makeleni
The next award presented was the Community Engagement Award, by category judge and Community Engagement Coordinator Anna Talbot. “These individuals had participated in organised and directed Rhodes University community volunteering programmes and had depicted notable leadership and social responsibility within the community engagement space,” she said.

The following students were awarded the Rhodes University Top 100 Community Engagement Award in 2022:

Daniel Roodt
Emma Wagenaar
Kristen Burgess
Lian May
Luyanda Noluthando Hadebe
Monica Lerato Mathebula
Nobesuthu Mnkandla
Panashe Mildred Maneya
Quinlan Caiger
Sivenathi Duma
Takudzwa Makuwa
Uthandile Samela
The Academic Excellence Awards were announced by Tshepo Malebana, the incoming 2023 Rhodes University SRC Academic Councillor. The Academic Excellence Award honours students who are top achievers in their faculty, with each Dean nominating four candidates who have received the highest marks in their respective faculties.

The following students were awarded the Rhodes University Top 100 Academic Achievement Award in 2022:

Fezekile Dhlamini
Jason Shephard
Junaid Nyker
Mpokiseng Morengoa
Vhenekai Kashangura
Christen Nicole Puffett
Danya Janet Botha
Kayla Lauren Asherwood
Lorna Caitlin Maccallum
Panashe Mbiva
Tate Smith
Bianca Jardim
Caitlin Barton
Emma Cole
Fadzai Jimu
Jonathan Hughes
Benjamin Spies
Brysn Jacquire
Lithemba Mbengo
Nkosinathi Nonkonyana
Ntsako Simango
Anele Sibanda
Davids Simasiku
Handsome Ndlovu
Siphokazi Dludla
Tinashe Mashayamombe
Abongile Booi
Amanda Gambiza
Emily Morgan
Stephanie Dwyer
Vimbayinashe Tambudze
The next award presented was the Arts, Media, Society & Cultural Award by the category judge Sikhumbuzo Makandula, a Fine Art lecturer at the University. He explained how the Arts, Media, Society & Cultural Award aims to recognise students who display excellence, talent and/or leadership roles in the cultural sphere at Rhodes University. “The recipients this year are painting a bright future for South African media and entertainment,” he stated.

The following students were awarded the Rhodes University Top 100 Arts, Media, Society & Cultural Award in 2022:

Matimu Shivambu
Thandeka Mfinyongo
The Ubuntu Award was presented by the category judge Sakhe Ntlabezo, who is the Programme Manager for the Makhanda Circle of Unity. “One cannot excel in life without understanding what it means to be a person,” he said. “The recipients of this award provided distinguished service and contribution toward promoting the University, the community, and the country’s national interests and values of ubuntu.

The following students were awarded the Rhodes University Top 100 Ubuntu Award in 2022:

Asanthe Phalatse
Lazarus Kgageng
Nobesuthu Mnkandla
Nqobani Dabengwa
Papama Yose
The athletes were the next to be recognised through the Sports Award, which recognised various students contributing significantly and attaining multiple accolades within the Rhodes University Sports community.

The following students were awarded the Rhodes University Top 100 Sports Award in 2022:

Phumelela Booi
Jesse Stander
Matthew Strachan
Bradley van Heerden
Ephraim Nerombe
Alexandreo Talbot
The Health and Wellness Award was presented by Counselling Psychologist Thobile Ncane, who expressed that this award honoured students who were not only capable of caring for themselves but were proactive and passionate about caring for others. “This honours students who have created wellness programs and initiatives that improved productivity, engagement and overall health of the student body,” she said.

The following students were awarded the Rhodes University Top 100 Health and Wellness Award in 2022:

Nomonde Mdluli
Siphesihle Mvula
Ms Avuxeni Tyala, the incoming 2023 SRC President, expressed how she was honoured to present the Student Leadership Award to her fellow leaders. “This award recognises leadership potential and evidence of high performance in leadership positions at Rhodes University. These may include but are not limited to leadership in residences, social justice, responsiveness and the SRC,” she explained.

The following students were awarded the Rhodes University Top 100 Student Leadership Award in 2022:

Anda Mtshintsho
Bongiwe Sibiya
Bonolo Moche
Botlhale Modisaotsile
Kwanele Siyengo
Lerato Pae
Lian May
Matimu Shivambu
Mela Mpiti
Melody Chauke
Milca Matariro
Mpilwenhle Moleya
Nobesuthu Mnkandla
Omphulusa Nengwekhulu
Panashe Maneya
Putuma Balintulo
Samridhi Sharma
Tagen de Wet
Takudzwa Makuwa
Tamara Chinganya
Taonga Phiri
Thobani Ndebele
Vhenekai Kashangura
Vuyelwa Moyo
Yamkela Ntshakaza
Zikhona Mtwa
The evening was concluded with a vote of thanks and closing remarks from Mr Saph’ulwandisile Vika, the Residence Life, Support and Student Development Manager at Rhodes University. He thanked the various deans, directors of divisions, staff, the 2022 and 2023 SRC and recipients of the 2022 Top 100 Awards for their attendance and participation in making the event possible. He congratulated the recipients again and proudly said, “As parents and staff of the University, we can relax and say we leave the world in great hands.”