African graduates share their gratitude

Students Luzia Bandeira, Angel Tshindj Musaw, Rose Otshi and Betty Kayembe wait outside their hotel

Students Luzia Bandeira, Angel Tshindj Musaw, Rose Otshi and Betty Kayembe wait outside their hotel

Africa University held graduation ceremonies for over 450 students who received graduate and undergraduate degrees in early June. The class of 2014 featured graduates who enrolled through the university’s satellite center in Mozambique as well as a blind student whose graduate work was a model of academic excellence. Their success highlighted the university’s commitment to accessibility and its pan-African ideals.

They are the products of the colleges of agriculture and natural resources, education, health sciences, humanities and social sciences, management and administration, theology—and the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance. The institute presented its largest group to date, awarding master’s degrees in intellectual property, peace and governance and public policy and governance to 82 graduates.

Gloria Alitubeera, a Ugandan who earned a degree in business, spoke for many.

“I am so happy and grateful to God,” she said. “I give thanks to everyone who helped me to make it. To those who granted me the scholarship that enabled me to study and get this degree, I dedicate it to you.”

“I am ready to go out into the world and make a change,” said Angel Tshindj Musaw, a young woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo who trained in the college of education. “I have been taught servant leadership, and with that, I feel I am ready to be a leader anywhere.”

Theology graduate, Eva Mario Ndambi, plans to return home to Angola to serve the church. “Africa University has helped me to believe in myself and my goals,” she said. “I came here knowing nothing at all about pastoral ministry, and now I can stand confidently before people and talk about my ministry.”

Albert Lukudu Wani, the recipient of a degree in environmental studies and sociology, feels a specific and urgent call on his life to make a positive difference in Africa’s youngest and very troubled nation—the Republic of South Sudan.

“I certainly wasn’t thinking of anything other than myself when I came into Africa University in first year,” Wani said. “AU opened my eyes to the fact that there is a world out there that has problems. Africa has problems.

The reality is that if we do not begin to try (to) fix these problems and create a better future, our children and our grandchildren will inherit our problems. I want to help to create a better tomorrow for the next generation.”

Female students earned top honors and awards across the board as it seems to be a tradition of Africa University. Tafadzwa Beta, Alisandra Moyo and Everjoy Machawira, all from Zimbabwe, achieved cumulative grade point averages above 3.6, out of a possible 4.0.

“Africa University was not all about academia. It was a broad-spectrum approach,” said Beta. “It taught me to appreciate diversity and embrace other cultures.”

Many graduates highlighted comfort with diversity and a sense of unity and shared purpose as a cherished and unique part of their Africa University experience.

“The most memorable aspect of my Africa University experience has been the diversity, the love, the Ubuntu spirit we share,” Kenneth Thomas, a Nigerian, said. “At AU, we are all our brother’s keeper, regardless of where we come from.”

“Tsarai Mungoni has demonstrated that having no sight is not an impediment to anyone who desires to get an education,” said Fanuel Tagwira, vice chancellor and chief executive.

Planning is under way for expanding the university’s satellite center network to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Established by the worldwide United Methodist Church in 1988, Africa University is the first private, pan-African university to open in Zimbabwe. It has an annual full-time enrollment of 1,500 students and more than 5,000 graduates at work across sub-Saharan Africa.