Senior graduate inspires matrics

Matrics should grab any chance they get to study further, says a Monte Vista man who earned his doctorate last year… almost 47 years after he finished matric.

Dr Wynand Beukes received his PhD from Stellenbosch University in December after he wrote a dissertation, “From Afrikaner Culture to Corporative: The history of Sanlam’s head office staff, 1918-2008”, that explores Sanlam head office’s staff history.

“The basis of the dissertation is research into the degree to which historical events are reflected in a company’s organisational culture – in this instance the Sanlam head office staff. The conclusion is that this culture echoed exogenous events in the Afrikaner community in particular and in South Africa and the rest of the world in general.

“A chapter in the dissertation is focussed on the degree to which the staff was influenced by race laws.

“The position of women in the company was also directly influenced by external factors,” he said.

Dr Beukes completed his matric at Barrydale High School in the Klein Karoo in 1970.

Following that, he obtained his BA degree in 1974 from Stellenbosch University.

In the years to follow, he worked as a reporter, sub-editor and Sanlam’s newspaper editor.

He completed his Master’s degree with a dissertation on the history of the dam-building community on Table Mountain between 1895 and 1905.

Dr Beukes and his wife, Roanne, moved to Monte Vista in 1979 and are still living in the same house. He is now researching the history of the Dutch Reformed Church in Monte Vista as editor of a half-century jubilee book that will be published in August.

Dr Beukes said matrics should seize every opportunity to pursue tertiary education.

“The time to follow that dream is now – the big challenge is to find enough time to reach success,” he said.

“I lost my permanent job 17 years ago while I was still in my forties. This was an enormous mental blow. However, I decided to improve my situation by completing extra-mural research. It was the right recipe.

“My MA and PhD ensured my route to wellbeing – emphasising the importance of education,” he said.