UFS honours Alumni

At the annual Kovsie Alumni Award ceremony were, Monique Esterhuyse (on behalf of Anton Esterhuyse for the Executive Management Award), Madam Justice Mahube Molemela (Chancellor's Distinguished Alumnus Award), Neil Powell (Cum Laude Award), Prof. Eunice Seekoe (Cum Laude Award), Odessa Swarts (on behalf of Wayde van Niekerk for the Ambassador Award), Ans Botha (Executive Management Award), Dr Pieter du Toit, Chairperson of the Alumni Association, Rolene Strauss (Ambassador Award), Steven Swarts (on behalf of Wayde van Niekerk for the Ambassador's Award), Helen Namponya, Alumni Officer, Gary Stroebel (Cum Laude Award), and Tanya Calitz (Young Alumnus of the Year Award). PHOTO: CHARL DEVENISH

The University of the Free State has honoured nine of its alumni at the Chancellor’s Alumni Awards dinner held in Bloemfontein on Saturday. For the past 34 years the annual Kovsie Alumni Awards have been held to celebrate the outstanding achievements of its alumni provincially, nationally and internationally. These alumni have not only placed the University of the Free State on the world stage, but inspire the next generation of Kovsies and their communities at large.
Among the recipients of the Cum Laude Awards were former Springbok Sevens captain, Niel Powell, who thanked the University for providing him with a platform to explore his rugby talent to its fullest. Powell began his rugby career as a Kovsie student and went on to have a successful career spanning the Super 12, Currie Cup, Vodacom Cup and the Sevens World Series.
Acting Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Fort Hare, Professor Eunice Seekoe, a nurse by profession, also received a Cum Laude Award. Her specialities in mentoring for sustainable rural public health and evaluation of health policies and health facilities have seen her hold several management positions in public health and leadership positions within the nursing profession.
The third Cum Laude Award recipient was Central Media Group CEO, Gary Stroebel. With a lump in his throat, Stroebel remembered how he could not afford university fees, but was able to attend through the help of a sponsor. He encouraged all those who are able to help a student to do so, as they will be helping someone fullfil their dreams.
Anna Botha, who is better known as Tannie Ans, has been coaching Athletics at UFS for 26 years. She received the Executive Management Award. An athlete herself, she joined Kovsies in 1990 as head track and field coach where she coached three of South Africa’s fastest sprinters – Wayde van Niekerk, Thuso Mpuang and Gideon Trotter.
Former Miss World and current medical student, Rolene Strauss, along with Olympic world record holder and current B.Com student, Wayde van Niekerk, both received Ambassador Awards.
Five-time recipient of the Dean’s Merit Certificate in the Law Faculty, Tanya Calitz, won the first ever Young Alumnus of the Year Award. Her selflessness and humility earned her the respect of her peers and the university management during her 2012/13 tenure as SRC Member: First-generation Students.
The Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumnus Award went to the first woman in South Africa to hold the Judge President of the Free State High Court Division position, Madam Justice Mahube Molemela. “I’m elated, and I think to say elated is an understatement. When I walked in this evening and saw the person who nominated me, I said to him ‘thank you for nominating me, the mere nomination itself is a great honour to me’, and of course the fact that I ended up winning, really feels good,” said Molemela. – Seithati Semenokane