The Arbor Day Tree Planting Ceremony, hosted by The Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Sizwe Mabizela, was an occasion of note. It took place outside Helen Joseph annex on 5 September at 10h00 with the sun, wind and family members out in full support of a group of acclaimed Rhodes veterans. The retirees were warmly welcomed and their respective citations presented with the most dignity, and a customary True Yellowwood tree was planted. Professor Gary Gordon (Head of Drama Dept.) found this appropriate, and in his vote of thanks mentioned that over their careers, each retiree has displayed the qualities of the tree namely flexibility, peace, patience, and strength. Having the VC as the host was definitely fruitful as he highlighted some facets of their lives and personalities, making for a heart-warming and successful event.
Those honoured were:
- Professor Gary Gordon, The Head of Drama, who has worked for the longest at Rhodes University with an amazing 43 years or service.
- Stephen Fourie, the retiring Registrar and, according to the Vice-Chancellor a very valuable man to get council from.
- Miss Nongqele Yaka, who was praised for her commitment and uplifting spirit.
- Joan Miles retiring after three decades of service.
- Thembisa Mzangwa, who according to Dr. Leonie Goosen is the best assistant she’s had through her 29 years of experience in her field.
- John Landman who developed the Geography faculty and the university as a whole.
- Sally-Ann Robertson who is retiring from the faculty of Education and is known for always putting the students first.
- John Jackson who revolutionized the Classical Studies department and even attended the first ever Grahamstown National Arts Festival.
- Nontobeko Solani who was a dedicated cook at Rhodes since 1998 and will be missed by her co-workers.
- Mirriam Heleni, 28 years of service at the law clinic as an interpreter and receptionist, has worked with every LLB student.
- Professor Roderick Fox who excelled throughout his career in the Geography department
- Sheila Ferreira for being a great service to Rhodes regarding financial aspects of the operations and in general
- Miss Nolili Gongqa for her dedication as a cook at Rhodes and being able to prosper through her stents at various dining halls.