Participants at the virtual ceremony during a light-hearted moment.

CHS Hosts Virtual Long Service and Retirees Ceremony

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) hosted a virtual Long Service and Retirees Awards ceremony to celebrate the commitment and dedication of staff to UKZN.

The event was held on the cloud-based video conferencing service of Zoom with all guests having custom snack boxes delivered to their homes to enjoy at the end of the formal proceedings.

Addressing the gathering, Dean of the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences Professor Musa Mabandla said it was heartwarming that so many staff chose to remain at UKZN – some for over 35 years – indicating that the University is a preferred employer within the Higher Education sector in KwaZulu-Natal.

Retiring Professor Maurice Mars and Professor Manormoney Pillay were thanked for their contribution to knowledge generation, research excellence and mentoring and teaching of countless postgraduate students and staff in the CHS.

Said Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the CHS Professor Busisiwe Ncama: ‘In this day and age, where job hopping is the norm, it is heartwarming to find a group of employees who have chosen to remain at UKZN until retirement. Your institutional knowledge is irreplaceable and adds to the uniqueness of the culture at the University. May I take this opportunity to thank you for growing the research portfolio of the Institution and mentoring and graduating many staff and students at postgraduate levels.  I wish you well on your journeys into retirement.’

A senior technician in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy Mr Matthias Muller-Nederbock, who retires next year, celebrated his 35 year service milestone this year.

‘It has been an absolute privilege to teach and work with students while remaining a lifelong learner during my tenure at UKZN,’ said Muller-Nederbock. ‘Partaking in an environment of knowledge and skills development and assisting students to discover their potential, continues to fuel my dedication to education. I had a wonderful time at UKZN.’

Manager of Student Support Services Dr Saloschini Pillay, who is celebrating her 25th year anniversary at UKZN, took webinar participants down memory lane saying: ‘I served under seven different vice-chancellors and reported to 18 line managers, all with different leadership styles. It has been a journey filled with lots of changes and happenings including the merger, reorganisation, retrenchments, student protests and several other events.’

Professor Fatima Suleman, a professor in the School of Health Sciences and Director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Pharmaceutical Policy and Evidence Based Practice, celebrated 15 years of service at UKZN. ‘I want to convey my heartfelt appreciation to UKZN for allowing me to experience so many opportunities that assisted in growing my career.’

A lecturer in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences Dr Elizabeth Ojewole was overcome with emotion when she said: ‘Thank you for inspiring, motivating and supporting me when I moved to South Africa. UKZN has allowed me to grow my career and my children to spread their wings in the medical fraternity in South Africa. I work with phenomenal, kind-hearted people and am extremely happy at UKZN.’ Ojewole celebrated her 15 year anniversary at UKZN

Ncama also thanked staff who have served on the frontline during COVID-19. ‘As you may know, the College of Health Sciences has borne the brunt of COVID-19 at UKZN, regarding the high level of clinical services required in the frontline as well as the teaching and clinical training of our students. Within this group are dedicated staff who have been busy working in the frontline and I want to thank them for the service they have given to the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your many years of service, commitment and dedication to UKZN. Congratulations on achieving significant milestones in your careers.’

Words: MaryAnn Francis