The 76-year-old Dr Hanneke Meyer has the community buzzing with excitement and pride after graduating for her Master of Divinity degree cum laude during the 28 June 2018 morning graduation session at the University of the Free State (UFS).
Dr Meyer was capped and hooded to the background music of a standing ovation from guests and fellow graduates from the faculties of Economic and Management Sciences, Education, Health Sciences, the Humanities, Law, and Theology and Religion.
“I think the Lord has blessed me far beyond what I thought I could do. This is pure grace,” she boasts.
Dr Meyer had always dreamt of doing theology, even during her years of being a teacher, however, at that time her church did not allow for females to be ordained. “It’s so wonderful to be able to do this, it’s wonderful for me to be able to be a minister at this stage, I can’t make it my career anymore because I’m a pensioner, but I’m thankful to the Lord for all He gave me and I think He deserves all the honour and all the praise for what I have achieved. This has shown me that I can still be of some use to the church, even as a 76-year-old pensioner.”
When she thinks of this grace, the remembers the words of Psalm 92 verse 12-13: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.”
As a high school teacher she loved working with teenagers and adolescents. So when she studied among them, she felt right at home. “For me this was a new experience, to have fun with these people. And I’m not a teacher anymore so I needn’t reprimand then anymore. It was so nice and they accepted me in a very good way,” she laughed.
She added that her 101-year-old friend, Tannie Koba, is her role model for embracing youth even in old age.
“You are as old as you feel. If you can still do things, if you can still walk, sing and laugh, if you can still dream, then you’re not old yet. My faith keeps me going. You must never stop dreaming. If you can still dream, you are still young,” she concluded.