On November 19 2014, there was a graduation ceremony at Chancellor College’s Great Hall in Zomba. Some 397 individuals were awarded diplomas and/or degrees. At the same function, President Peter Mutharika was installed Chancellor of the University. Of interest was the fact that because the president arrived at the venue whilst not being chancellor, he did not enter the arena in the chancellor’s robes. Or else some would have protested: “whilst thou dress in borrowed robes?” Related to this fact is that it was the Vice Chancellor who declared the congregation of the university constituted. Interestingly again, when the function was almost over and having been inaugurated earlier on as the chancellor, it was the president who declared the meeting dissolved. He was now functioning as the rightful authority at the function when just a few hours earlier he couldn’t do such a role.
Graduation ceremonies are a joyous occasion for most people. It is the time that we hear statements like “your hard work has paid off”, sleepless nights as students are celebrated and the roles that parents, guardians and others that have contributed to the education of the graduands are recognised. In this article I would want to take you on a journey of some of the interesting statements or phrases that were said at the event.
Let me start off with the traditional oath that the graduating class of the medical degree at the College of Medicine. I bet not many of us pay attention to the words and perhaps some of the people taking that oath pay as much attention either. The oath says that the doctor who is graduating will treat her teachers with the utmost respect. Further the individual swears that she will treat her fellow doctors as colleagues, sisters and brothers. It is also interesting that the graduates swear that they will teach others who are qualified to be taught the trade. The oath does not say: I will like money and my goal will be to be rich. The oath also puts humanity in front of all considerations. There is no mention that my employer shall worship me. It does not say that I will be arrogant and pompous. Neither did we hear that I will slave for humanity and expect to receive no pay for my labour. If this oath were respected by both the swearers and the hearers, the world would have been a better place than it is now.
Let me move on to the ululation and ‘screams’ of relatives at the graduation. Perhaps not contested was the fact that the loudest admiration for the graduands went to Mafumu Matiki who was graduating with his degree in Journalism. I do not know why the loudest sound for Matiki, but one thing I am sure of is that, he has done extremely well. Well done Mafumu.
Other phrases that came out and I believe meant more than we can talk about here were: umphawi watha, mkazi wanga ameneyo, mukayang’anire mtundu, wakukaya, alomwe amenewo, Mchinji basi and others.