Makerere University held its 72nd Graduation Ceremony this week, commemorating 100 years of service to humanity through quality education.
This is the 72nd time the university has conferred a degree upon students who have completed their academic tour at the ivory tower, which is the most prestigious academic institution in the country and, arguably, in East Africa.
Previously, the graduation at Makerere University’s Freedom Square was an event that everyone in the country looked forward to, even if it was painful for those who could not attend for various reasons, and even more painful for those who could not attend for one reason or another.
Stories were told of sharp students inviting their relatives to the freedom square despite the fact that they had missed the graduation shortlist. Then they’d hire a few people to ululate and stage jubilations as thousands joined in.
Graduating from Makerere University was a source of great pride for guardians and parents until the late 2000s.
At some point, the graduands were given two invitation cards, which they distributed to their parents. The candidates also made certain that their parents were seated in the massive tents to witness the results of their many years of toiling at the academic hill, and that the relatives would go off to their ancestral homes and celebrate, much to the envy of others.
Graduands would visit various relatives and friends to fundraise for a party, and on the day, they would carry fellow graduands and the day would go down with all sorts of speeches and praises. Tears would flow as they reminisced about their graduation, and all tribes of gifts would be donated in the end.
The entire graduation process was one that would leave an impression on both the family and the graduand, and at no point did dress code come into play.
All that was required was a new pair of shoes or a regular dress for the females, and a suit or tie for the males, while gowns were shared from one graduation to the next.
I was using “my” graduation ceremony for the fourth time because it was passed down from three of my siblings, and the suit I wore was one I had worn during my final year social festivities.
Today’s graduation ceremonies are more of a fashion and trend show, and candidates spend more time preparing how they will show up and take the day.
It is a time for the paparazzi to make the most of it, a time when people want to be remembered for how they dressed on that particular day, rather than how their academic journey turned out.
Pictures from Makerere’s week-long graduation ceremony clearly show that the female candidates took the day to the next level, parading all forms of fashion and filling timelines with what they normally refer to as drip!
Will these ceremonies have the same significance in the near future?