Sol Plaatje Memorial Weekend: A decade of excellence drives the future

The Sol Plaatje Memorial Weekend, an annual event honouring Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje, was held on 6-7 October 2023. This year marked a milestone: a decade since the university’s establishment.

Day One began with the renaming of the Luka Jantjie Courtyard to Yunus Ballim Square, in honour of Sol Plaatje University’s founding Vice-Chancellor, Prof Yunus Ballim.

“Today is momentous for SPU as we start our Decade of Excellence celebrations,” Prof Andrew Crouch, the current Vice-Chancellor and Principal of SPU, remarked. “Kudos to you, Prof Ballim, for your meticulous planning.”

As part of the celebrations, Sol Plaatje University hosted its annual Sol Plaatje Lecture later that day. The Honourable Justice Edwin Cameron, former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, discussed the roots of constitutionalism and its role as a repository of power, justice, and moral vision. “We are not a captured nation; South Africans fight when they see a power that seeks to subjugate them. A new elite is on the rise towards fulfilling a constitution that aims to root out corruption and criminality,” he said.

Day one concluded with the inaugural Founder’s Dinner where Prof Andrew Crouch told attendees about the Lesedi La Afrika endowment campaign, urging them to contribute. “A one-time gift lasts forever. I urge you to start giving to secure this university’s future,” he said.

Jennie Glennie, a key founding figure of the university, added: “Sol Plaatje University has become a beacon of hope, offering quality education to the underprivileged but intellectually gifted.”

On day two, Justice Steven Majiedt, the Chancellor of SPU, introduced a landmark event: the country’s first Chancellor’s Forum. Hosted at the SPU Central Campus, the forum aimed to shed light on pressing issues affecting university students.

“SPU is particularly privileged to be hosting the first Chancellor’s forum,” said Justice Majiedt. The forum was a platform for distinguished academics and administrators to engage in critical conversations. Dr Judy Dlamini, Chancellor of Wits University, spoke passionately about students’ mental well-being, and Professor Itumeleng Mosala discussed the student fees crisis. Both highlighted the shared responsibility across all echelons of education and government to address these matters.

Prof Crouch closed the forum stating, “Thank you all for being here. This is not just an intellectual exercise; it’s an actionable call for better student welfare.”

One of the unique initiatives discussed during the weekend was the Talent Pipeline Programme (TPP). Aimed at preparing high school learners for university, the TPP seeks to help young individuals become the best versions of themselves and give back to their communities. “Investing in this fund ensures a learner an opportunity to be the best versions of themselves,” noted Prof Crouch.

The Chancellor’s Golf Day concluded the Memorial Weekend, sponsored by Standard Bank and various local business, and aimed at raising funds for the Chancellor’s Bursary Fund and the TPP. The event was a confluence of sportsmanship and philanthropy, with various corporate sponsors contributing to the cause.

Golf Day Winners

1st male: Zayied Suliman

1st female: Gail Aysen

2nd male: Phillip Maritz

2nd female: Helena Janse

3rd male: Aiden Reyneveldt

3rd female: Gladys Poonawassy

Additional Prizes:

Nearest to the pin 14 male: Peter Salo

Nearest to the pin 14 female: Helena Janse

Longest drive male 18: Andries Kori

Longest drive female 18: Helena Janse

Most golf: Richard Hahlwi

The weekend concluded with a prize-giving ceremony for the golf and a cocktail dinner.

As we reflect on a great event, it’s clear the Annual Sol Plaatje Memorial Weekend served not only as a tribute to Solomon T. Plaatje but also as a testament to SPU’s ongoing commitment to excellence and student welfare.

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