UJ Imbizo Awards celebrate student volunteer champions

Harnessing the power of volunteerism in Community Engagement (CE) was the theme for this year’s Imbizo Awards.



Hosted by the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Community Engagement unit, the event honoured the Top 10 volunteer champions and showcased winners who have dedicated their time to serving others.

Giving the keynote address, Dr Nolitha Vukuza, Senior Executive Director: University Relations, Student Affairs and UJ Sport, reminded the student volunteers in attendance that anything they wanted to do was possible.

“You can be and do anything. That’s what I really want to impart. I have had 7 careers over 43 years. I am an agitator for self-awareness and self love and I think that anything you can be depends on how much you accord yourself. I ran my race and stayed in my lane. One thing you must never do is to give up on yourself. Never allow anyone to bring you down or intimidate you because there is no one who is better than you.”

Dr Vukuza encouraged the students to continue to give their time to volunteerism and congratulated them on the support and spirit they had given to the Community Engagement unit.

Other speakers at the event included Ms. Memoona Mahomed, Faculty of Education: Work Integrated Learning Coordinator; Ms. Shalin Bidassey-Manilal from the Faculty of Health Sciences Environmental Health Department; and Mr. Lebogang Seale, Senior Manager: Strategic Communications.

Dr Vukuza reiterated UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal Letlhokwa Mpedi’s thoughts that the Community Engagement programmes should be emulated at every university.

She also motivated the students to finish their studies and continue their learning journey by finding their talent and not being afraid to act on their dreams.

“Go out there and keep the spirit of volunteerism and keep learning. Learning comes with discomfort and dislocation. The one thing you need is self-confidence and self-mastery.”

Also speaking at the event was Ms Memoona Mahomed, Faculty of Education: Work Integrated Learning Coordinator.  Ms. Mahomed called the work of the student volunteers “an irreplaceable, priceless commodity” and impressed upon them how the qualities they possessed showed that they were future leaders.

Ms Shalin Bidassey-Manilal from the Faculty of Health Sciences Environmental Health Department added that community service was the most enjoyable and easiest way to change the world for the better.  “If we bring people together we will be able to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and drive transformational change for people and the planet.”

Mr Lebogang Seale, Senior Manager: Strategic Communications, urged the student volunteers to be the type of influencers that are known for doing great things.

“Your university years are meant to transform you. The Imbizo Awards promote leadership and responsibility. You are on the path of becoming great citizens.”

UJ is committed to community engagement as a core function of its mission. UJ is proud of its many successful CE programs, which are designed to build a more just and equitable society.

Watch the awards here:

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