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                                                                                                6 APRIL 2017
Director of the Programme, Mr William Vivian
Dean of Regenesys, Dr Penny Law
Guest of Honour, Wendy Lucas-Bull
Senior Management of the School
Graduates and their Families
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a singular honour and a privilege for me to address this prestigious occasion this evening. A graduation ceremony is undoubtedly the pinnacle of any student’s academic journey.
The moment you enrol at an institution of higher learning, you are essentially declaring your vision. You are giving yourself a new purpose in life. You set yourself new goals. You are committing to a life of studying, regular assignments, tests and examinations over a particular period.
The African proverb, “It takes the whole village to raise a child,” captures the essence of the efforts in educating an individual. Your families have made huge sacrifices to make it possible for you to enrol and study towards the various qualifications that you have chosen. Regenesys Business School appoints suitable mentors to guide you in this journey.  All of this is done so that one day, you will successfully complete your studies. One day, you will graduate.
Today is that day. The graduation ceremony is the culmination of all the blood, sweat and tears that you had to shed in pursuit of your academic qualification. This ceremony is the platform to publicly recognise all your hard work over the years. This is an affirmation that you have conquered the obstacles that you came across in your academic journey. Ngempela niphumelele! 
Notwithstanding the fact that this is a moment to celebrate, I want to remind you, our graduates this evening, that this is not the end of the journey for you. We must invoke the profound words of the late President Nelson Mandela, who cautions us about the struggles ahead. In the last chapter of his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, President Mandela gives the injunction: “After climbing one great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
Today, marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. You can only take a moment to rest — heave a sigh of relief, before continuing with the journey of confronting life’s challenges. Education is more than just a certificate. It equips you with skills and knowledge to deal with life’s challenges.
As this is the first week of Freedom Month, we should all remind ourselves that education is a right enshrined in the constitution of our democratic society. We should recommit ourselves to promoting education as an integral part of our development as a nation.  Education is the single most important element that can change our lives and take South Africa forward.
It is through education that the poor can transform into becoming significant players in the country’s economy. Education is an essential tool to lift people out of poverty and enable them to live a better life. It has the intrinsic value in creating societies that are better able to respond to the challenges of the 21st century.
Education has always been at the epicentre of human struggles for emancipation. During the liberation struggle in in South Africa, we were inspired by the Freedom Charter, which proclaimed that the Doors of learning shall be opened to all. This is the promise that we made to the nation in 1994.
Education is at the core of our freedom and democracy. The South African constitution, largely modelled on the Freedom Charter, guarantees the right to basic education, including adult basic education; as well as the right to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.
In 2012, the South African nation adopted the National Development Plan (NDP) as an overarching plan for the country. The NDP identifies improving education, training and innovation as some of the key elements in creating a better and more prosperous South Africa by 2030. The NDP envisages a South Africa where everyone has access to education of the highest quality, leading to significantly improved outcomes.
Lifelong learning, continuous professional development and knowledge production alongside innovation are central to building the capabilities of individuals and society as a whole. Education and skills enhancement are paramount in any society seeking meaningful growth and development.
Education remains an apex priority of government. As the South African government, we are unequivocal in our commitment to providing financial assistance to the financially needy and the missing-middle. The education sector continues to receive the largest part of the national budget.
If we are to dream of a brighter future for our country, it is essential that training in business development becomes an integral part of our education system. That is the best way in which we can cultivate the landscape for the prosperity of future business leaders.
I must commend the Regenesys Business School management and academic staff, for consistently nurturing future business leaders. As one of the globally recognized entrepreneurial, technologically advanced and fastest-growing business schools, you have a huge role in shaping our business sector.
It is through quality education and training that we can produce skilled professionals, and innovators who would contribute significantly to economic development. The business sector are the main drivers of economic development. We can add meaningful value to the growth of the business sector by providing support for business training across society.
We must strengthen the business sector if we want to have a stable economy. The best economies worldwide underpin their economic development strategies on sound business strategies as the driving force. More than 75% of our economy is in the hands of the private sector.
The more successful local businesses we have, the better the economic standing of South Africa in the world. It is imperative that both government and business work together in order to stimulate significant economic growth in our country.
The NDP makes it abundantly clear that the achievement of economic transformation and inclusive growth will not result from a single intervention – it needs a wide range of contributions from a variety of stakeholders across society. Active citizenry is one of the fundamental elements in bolstering economic growth and ensuring that we have a diversified economic landscape.
The Business School’s motto, “Awakening Potential,” is a commitment to nurturing business minds. This is a statement that should not be taken lightly. We must translate it to tangible outcomes, where we continuously support emerging business people for their economic potential to be fully realised.
As I conclude, I would like to remind you that the business graduates of today are the ones who will be leading the economy in 2030. We must cultivate entrepreneurial skills and provide support to emerging businesses. As leaders in business education, you should play your part in developing the next generation of entrepreneurs in South Africa.
Entrepreneurship is a fundamental endeavour for economic emancipation. We must raise a new generation of young people that will not be job seekers but job creators. We need innovative young entrepreneurs who will play a significant role in the renewal of our economy.
Whether you are graduating as a part-time student who is already in a job or business, or you are a full-time student still seeking fortunes in the job world, you must know that you have a responsibility to society. Your skills should not go to waste. With the advancement of technology, there are always new avenues to conducting business.
In closing, I would like to once again congratulate the graduates and their families for this achievement. This is indeed an accomplishment that we must all be proud of. Let us cherish this moment fully aware that South Africa needs your skills and knowledge more than ever before.
It is our future – make it work!
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