ATTENTIVE: Some of the graduands

Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) graduated a total of 246, 235 undergraduates and 11 postgraduates among which Onkgolotse Moatshe graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Horticulture.

The 36-year-old doctor was robed in an emotional atmosphere for her PhD-worthy research on “Genotype and plant density effects on growth, yield and oil composition of safflower” under the supervision of Professor Vallantino Emongor.

“Our country faces drought problem since we are semi arid, and that means less rain. Safflower can survive in Botswana climatic conditions. It’s not only that, it also has many uses and benefits like high quality oil comparing with olive oil; medicinal properties that could curb diabetes and heart related issues,” the Researcher in the Department of Agricultural Research in the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security remarked when quizzed in an interview with The Voice online.

She said her PhD escapade was sustained by her teeming keenness to broaden her scope as a researcher as well as contribute to the development of her own country.

Dr. Moatshe recommends PhD scholars to read for their qualification in their own countries since they are closer to the problem-solution developments. 

BUAN alumni and staff bore deep and shallow wrinkles as well as grey and white hair under their caps and hoods as they walked as the embodiment of evidence that the university has contributed to the country and still does.

All the graduants strode timidly yet proudly to the music that evidently evoked nostalgia of the uneasy days of their academic journey.

But as the day proceeded, the atmosphere simmered down to an enthused chatter from the students as they took in warming messages from the guest of honour the Vice President Slumber Tsogwane. 

“It is my honest belief that with the training and experience the graduants gained through years of study, they have been equipped to be leaders in the agriculture and natural resources… Graduation day brings excitement as we are all aware. It means joy and happiness and rightly so because it is a hard earned achievement. On the other hand, it also brings mixed emotions with regards to what the future may hold beyond the university.”

Tsogwane also shared a resonant conviction with the gallery that, “I remember the wisdom of a Greek philosopher who once said ‘A man’s character is his fate.’”

During the ceremony, Tshegofatso Raletshegwana scooped two awards: Prof Daniel Motlhanka Prize comprising a P1, 000 cash prize and the degree of Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Agricultural Economics.

Summer Mabule with her BSc in Range Science received the Dean’s Prize with a first class graduation – the highest award in terms of the faculty. 

“The main things that got me where I am are commitment, hard work, and setting goals. Perhaps the most important thing that generated the three I mentioned is how I grew up: with difficulties and wishing to change them – changing the background as it was at home,” she added.

Following her splendid academic performance, Mabule was immediately recruited by the same university, BUAN, after the release of the results a month prior to the graduation ceremony.

The graduation was harmonized by choral melodies from the BUAN choir. The traditional and rigirous performances of Mafitlhakgosi Traditional Group also complemented the witty poetry performance from Kamogelo Montlame who is also a BUAN student.