UJ Long Service Awards: Personification of the UJ spirit, says Prof Mpedi  

A long service award isn’t merely a clocking of years spent at an institution. It represents the role employees have played in moulding an organisation and shaping its story.

These were just some of the inspiring words University of Johannesburg (UJ) Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi had to say to the 425 staff members who were honoured at the Long Service Awards on Friday, 17 November 2023.

Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi – UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal

The event was hosted at the Johannesburg Country Club to recognise those who have been with the University for 10 years and longer.

“There is inherent value in the institutional knowledge and experience long service encourages that should be recognised. This is particularly applicable when the promise of an organisation is dynamism and a fervent commitment to innovation,” added Prof Mpedi.

Of the honourees, there were 136 recipients of awards; 50 staff members in the 20-year group, 45 staff members in the 25-year group, 25 staff members in the 30-year group, 9 staff members in the 35-year group, and 7 staff members in the 40-year group.

Prof Mpedi thanked the recipients for their service and loyalty to the institution that they were all a crucial part of.

“I am perhaps best poised to understand this deep connection with the University of Johannesburg. I have been with UJ for more than a decade but my history with the institution runs much further than this. I have found myself intertwined with UJ and the institutions that formed it at many junctures.”

Attendees of the UJ Long Service Awards

He highlighted the importance of moving with the times and adapting to a fast changing world while still adhering to the values of the institution. He enthused that employees are increasingly valuing an organisation’s culture, values, and environment. And as the 4IR gains pace, job satisfaction is no longer determined by financial incentives but also by an alignment of those values and a sense of purpose.

“Our history is rich and represents a long legacy that many of you have seen us through. These awards symbolise the time you’ve given to help us as we pursue those values and principles.”

He thanked the long service recipients for their talents and efforts that have helped the University achieve excellence in many areas including UJ being ranked among the top 3.1% of universities worldwide among other accolades.

Mpedi emphasised how the recipients had also remained loyal to the University through the insurmountable challenges of a digital divide, a devastating pandemic, fees must fall, the 4IR, a growing unemployment rate and bleak economic prospects amid other factors.  Through this all, he said, we seem to emerge stronger, we seem to embody a most resilient spirit. This is the reverberation of your energy.

Prof Mpedi concluded: “As we begin to walk a new path, true to UJ’s story, I am certain that it is your tenacity and resilience that will see us continue to rise and rise again to heights unknown. I thank you for your years of service to UJ and eagerly look forward to the next few decades with many of you as we continue to reimagine the future together.”

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