In the past month we witnessed thousands of our young people graduating from Universities across our nation; South Africa. Most people who have worked towards achieving a degree will tell you how often we look forward to a graduation ceremony because it’s a great achievement that we get to share with our loved ones. We have always considered University graduation ceremonies to be very formal ceremonies whose proceedings are rooted in ancient Western culture. A few years ago, when we graduated, I would have never imagined anyone to do what was considered out of the “formal norm”; as I have witnessed our young graduates of the last two years do.

The only thing that we witnessed at our graduation ceremonies were, ululations and shouts of gratitude from our families and friends. I even remember telling my mom not to shout or ululate so as not to embarrass me, but of course mom didn’t listen, shout she did…hahaha.

Now that I look back I realise that it was wrong of me to define how she should celebrate her child’s achievement, after all she played a significant role in me accomplishing that degree and in our culture as Zulu’s and African’s our celebrations are always very expressive.

If you have been following the trends on social media, you know that graduation ceremonies in South Africa have taken a whole new meaning.

I was particularly intrigued by graduates of the University of KwaZulu Natal, seeing them proudly wearing their traditional Zulu attire and expressing their happiness through “ukusina” and “ukugiya” (traditional Zulu dance). This is an African way of celebrating, and in all social events in the African culture you are bound to see this kind of expressive behaviour. It is truly remarkable to witness!

Of course, some may feel that these displays of gratitude at University ceremonies may be a bit “disruptive” because everyone may want to do their own thing and reality is, somehow University graduation ceremonies should have a “formalised structure”.

However, I also believe that Universities are supposed to be hubs in which we constantly breeding new ideas and challenging the status quo. Young people are really redefining the status quo and if its disrupts the formalised proceedings, then so be it. No change or transformation comes without disruption. If indeed we are to rewrite the narrative of our higher academic institutions to serve the “woke” generation and contribute to our society then we welcome such “disruptions”.

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