On 15 March 2020, Unisa launched a partnership with Titans Cricket (Pty) Ltd at the Supersport Park Stadium Presidential Suite, following the signing of a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) in December 2019.
A framed signed cricket shirt was given to the university as a token of appreciation and in celebration of a new beginning to seal the deal.
Some of the requirements of the MoU highlighted that the partnership would develop sports through higher education by enabling study opportunities for club cricketers in the Northern Gauteng region, strengthening learning at the governance and administration level of executive business, and establishing and branding the Unisa model as the African thought leader of choice.
In his welcome remarks, Pierre Joubert, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Titans Cricket, said that it was an honour for their organisation to establish an affiliation with the university. “This relationship is something we truly cherish as we believe in upskilling and taking our members to school to better their lives.”
Prof Mandla Makhanya, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Unisa (VC), also expressed his delight and excitement in entering into this MoU with the Titans. He said that it provided a visible manifestation of mutual commitment to the sharing of resources and capacities.
The VC mentioned that the club would benefit from the university’s core business through the facilitation of registration and learning for players and cricket management, while the university would benefit from stadia branding, exposure and hospitality, “which is crucial in promoting our brand”, he emphasised. Hence the partnership will collectively contribute towards student enrolment and success, governance and administrative improvement and excellence, as well as marketing and development.
In Makhanya’s view, this is a true expression of ubuntu. It is the magic that happens when people work together with common purpose and for the common good. Speaking about current changes in higher education, the VC said there was a need to look at the sector through different lenses. “If we intend reaching our full potential, we have to accept that we actually have a very broad stakeholder base that collectively comprises the university community.”
He further said MoUs such as this one speak to the university’s mutual appreciation and deep commitment to citizens, referring to the determination that will make a meaningful and measurable contribution to the change that the society would like to see.
Reflecting on the university’s vision as the African University shaping futures in the service of humanity, Makhanya said this reinforced the collaboration while it resonated with practical and symbolic meaning. The university is the largest university in Africa and in the southern hemisphere. “It has a global footprint in terms of its student enrolment as an open distance e-learning (ODeL) university as well as its international partnerships,” he noted.
“Our students can study from wherever they are. I think this would be particularly beneficial for our cricket players and their management who are often away from home for fairly lengthy periods of time.”
The VC said he was hopeful and confident that the relationship would grow and develop to the continued benefit of the respective institutions in the months and years ahead. “We feel humbled and honoured to play our role in the Titans Club’s development and drive for excellence,” he concluded.
“The university is no stranger to capacity building,” said Cristal Peterson, Deputy Director of Marketing and Communication at Unisa’s School of Business Leadership (SBL). She said that the university had hosted sports and a series of workshops that resulted in partnerships with international organisations before.
Before the launch, Unisans enjoyed time with their families at the stadium to watch the cricket match between the Momentum Multiply Titans and the VKB Knights.