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GRADUATION: SPEND, SAVE OR INVEST?

By ‘Masentle Makara

Roma, Sept 30 (The Night’s Watch) – “We should be seen wearing our graduation gowns in our villages to inspire young kids who look up to us,” says Bachelor of Education in business studies graduate Mohau Teteisi.

He believes there are many reasons why successes like graduating should be met with positivity, be celebrated and not condemned.

Finishing tertiary school, he says, is only one moment out of very few accomplishments in anyone’s life which must be celebrated, but with prudence.

“Celebrate but do not spend extravagantly. Save the money you would spend on a big party for something you might need in future,” he says.

“Also, instead of robbing a bank just to dress to kill for one day, I’d say wear your old presentable clothes, no one will notice as they will be hidden under the gown.”

Teteisi is one of the over thousand students who graduated from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) this month.

NUL hosted two separate official graduation ceremonies on September 21, and 28, respectively.

A few days earlier, on September 11, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) hosted its own well-designed graduation ceremony at the Lehakoe Cultural and Sports Recreational Centre.

747 students were awarded Bachelors and Associate Degrees in different disciplines.

After the official events at both Limkokwing and NUL, most graduates headed to their respective homes to conclude the celebrations with their own after-parties at home.

What is a graduation party?

It is a “rite of passage” that is constantly reinforced on television and in movies.

It is supposed to be the greatest party a graduate will ever have, so they say, because it marks the end of days as a carefree kid, and the start of responsibility and real life struggles.

However, having a graduation party is definitely not for everybody.

Others just attended the official graduation ceremony and decided to stay away from the expense that is involved in the preparation for an after-party.

“Even having a lunch with family or friends still counts as a worthwhile celebration. We should celebrate with style but avoid spending extravagantly,” says Teteisi.

But is it necessary to have a graduation party?

This is the question many people ask every year around this time and many have already shared a variety of insight on the topic.

To some, hosting a graduations party is a wasteful expenditure.

They think graduates need to consider being as frugal as possible and look for ways to invest in their future.

“It is no longer necessary to throw big parties for graduates, in fact, it is old-fashioned. Let us just say, for example, 1200 students are graduating this year and each one of them is going to spend about M20,000 on a party,” says an entrepreneur Makhetha Thaele.

“That is a combined M24 million spent on parties. That is enough to start businesses that could employ all the graduates,” adds Thaele who is also the treasurer of the opposition Movement for Economic Change (MEC) founded by Selibe Mochoboroane.

“Graduating from a university is a milestone worth celebrating but we should not dwell much on the celebrations and lose focus on what is coming ahead, future. Entertainment does not pay,” he says.

To some people, graduation parties are a celebration of success.

These people argue that everyone has a different way of reflecting on their past success and celebrating it.

To them there’s nothing wrong with anyone wanting to throw a graduation party – but there is an issue with judging others for doing so.

Come to think of it, even when the initiates come home after spending months in the traditional initiation school, they are received with ululations, songs and merriments.  

The initiates arrive in village smeared with red ochre and covered in blankets, surrounded by singing men.

A large feast commences shortly thereafter and each new initiate is given an opportunity to verbalise his own self-composed praises.

Why then would university graduates come home with tails tucked firmly between their legs!

“Graduating is a milestone which must be celebrated whichever way we want. Even throwing a big party doesn’t hurt. As for myself, today I am going for lunch with my parents and they are still going to throw me a party later this year,” says Realeboha Leakha.

Mohau Teteisi

We do it for the hood!

Leakha graduated with a Bachelor of Education in Development Studies.

Like Teteisi, he believes hosting a graduation ceremony in the village can inspire other villagers to reach their potential.

Even reseachers found long time ago that as you witness your peers start to achieve milestones in their lives, you begin to reflect on your own life and what you have done with it — or rather, what you have not done.

Leakha says: “All we want to do is to inspire young children in our communities. We also can’t ignore the fact that we have enemies in the villages, they too need to witness our success.”

Realeboha Leakha

To most parents, throwing a graduation party for children helps them feel good about themselves (children).

“Our children made us happy, so we return the favour by throwing them the parties to make them happy as well.  Graduation ceremony is just similar to Christmas celebration. It is a shame if as a parent you fail to buy your children Christmas clothes. That also destroys children emotionally,” says a 67 year-old Salang Tau. NW

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