Tuesday, October 15, 2013

University of Botswana 2013 graduation

This weekend was graduation here at the University of Botswana. Yes, it is the middle of the semester, but UB always does its graduation ceremony in early October. The graduates completed their classes and exams back in June, but had to wait until now to receive their diplomas.

Graduation was interesting, to say the least. First off, it was scheduled to begin at 6am. No one could explain to me exactly why it was so early in the day, but I was told, “That’s the way it’s always been.” But after arriving there I think part of the reason may have been the heat. And I was lucky because I got to sit under the tent with the faculty, so while I felt the heat I wasn’t subject to having the sun beating down on me which was a relief.

There was a lot of pomp and circumstance, as is typical with any official event here. And plenty of speeches. Though graduation began late, also very typical here in Africa, sometime after 8am, they surprisingly got through it rather quickly. It took only three hours for 3,076 graduates. Yes, that figure is correct. Here are some pictures with commentary.

The ceremony took place in the UB stadium, so here are graduates waiting in the stands for the ceremony to begin:

I took this picture at about 6:45am. As you can see the stands filled with families included lots of umbrellas to shield them from the sun:
After each and every speech, and there were easily close to a dozen of them, the Botswana Defense Force (BDF) band played “fanfare:”

Here were the faculty dressed up in their robes, which were much more fancy than what we have in the U.S.:
This was something I didn’t understand very well. Nothing says, “I love University of Botswana” like sitting on the school seal:

And then here is a video so you can get an idea as to what the graduation was actually like. As you can see here there was lots of shouting and yelling and cheering, which is to be expected. What you don’t hear is anyone calling the names of the students. As you can see, the graduates walk up in pairs, bow in front of the Deans, and then keep walking. At the end of this video you can also see the stage where the Deans were sitting, they all look like they are having an awesome time:

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