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Master of Ceremonies, Chairperson of the Council, Members of the Council, Members of the Interim Management Team, Directors of Schools, Heads of Departments, Members of the Academic and Support Staff, President of the SRC, Members of the SRC, Ladies and Gentlemen Students,

Allow me first of all to thank you for attending this special occasion, the first commemoration of the launch of the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. The 14th of April 2015 is commemorated as the date on which the young fledgling University, established on 16th of May 2014, was presented to the general public of South Africa, in particular, the Ga-Rankuwa community.

I am not privy to the emotion and chemistry associated with this moment, but informed by my experience as the Interim Vice-Chancellor, it must have been one of joy, of long awaited home coming, of relief surging through the veins of those who successfully fought a seemingly impossible liberation struggle.

The SMU was, as it were, like a wild bird released from its cage to forcefully fly into an unknown future, exposed to the experiences and uncertainties of the world and never to return to its state of captivity again. Committed to, not only optimise every opportunity presented by its newly acquired freedom, but to also outgrow and heal from the scars of its prolonged subjection.

Those who released this bird, I believe, did so with the trust that it will be strong enough not only to survive but also to find its rightful place among peers. That it will draw richly and unashamedly from its past experiences and that it will enjoy a competitive edge by continuously embracing and recognising its formative years.

Commemorating the launch of the SMU presents us with an opportunity to reflect on our flight into the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, although we hailed from different corners of our country, I want to believe we have the following in common:

  • We passionately embrace the learning and development opportunities associated with this Campus over a long period of time, manifesting in decisive contributions towards the human resource and leadership needs of the country.
  • We thankfully acknowledge the firm platform said learning and development opportunities continue to provide to the fledgling university, the SMU, to already fly into the future with eagle wings.
  • We also share the call to do whatever it takes to protect and support this fledgling and to empower it to conquer its rightful territory.

I wish to recognise the fact that our staff and students in an exemplary way contributed significantly to the manifestation and growth of our commonalities.

Your passion to achieve a successful future for the SMU not only inspired me to burn the proverbial midnight candle, but it also trumped all efforts to deprive our student community from once in a life time academic opportunities.

We should be acutely aware of the fact that future judgements delivered on the governance, management, academic stature and professional and ethical standards of the SMU, will in effect also impact on perceptions pertaining to our academic and professional stature.

Assisted by our institutional radars, we are constantly obliged to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the immediate challenges facing our institution and the sector. Our future success demands from us to be well equipped and responsive.

The SMU leadership will be extremely satisfied if this occasion could serve to remind us of the dire need to author a new and shared experience, institutional culture, value framework and institutional pride.

Prof Chris de Beer
Interim Vice-Chancellor