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Heartiest congratulations to  Antoinette Swart, 83,
who has just graduated with her
Doctorate degree in Ancient Cultures
Rosemary Lapping-Sellars, 80,
who has graduated with a Master’s degree in Visual Arts




Antoinette explains “When I was a little girl of 12, our family holidayed in Stellenbosch and stayed in the old CSV building, now the ABSA bank building. My father, an ex-Matie, told many stories about his student days. My dream of also one day becoming a Matie began during that holiday beneath the oak trees and beside the water furrows along the streets.”

After matriculating from Rustenburg High in North West at the age of 16, Antoinette’s dream of finally becoming a Matie was realised. Over the years, she obtained the following degrees from SU: 1957 – BSc (Botany and Zoology); 1958 – BSc (Hons) cum laude (Botany); 1960 – MSc (Botany); 2011 – BPhil (Bible Interpretation); and, 2013 – MPhil (Bible Interpretation) cum laude, at the age of 75. She loved her student years and the annual song festival and the residence functions were her highlights.

A wide range of interests and a sense of curiosity drove Antoinette to continue studying and, in time, this became a “habit”. Her mother called her a “professional student”. Three of Antoinette’s grandchildren also studied at SU. Johannes Coetzee, her third grandchild, is currently a third-year student working towards a BSc Computer Science degree. Her legacy to her children and grandchildren is, “Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.”

Rosemary who lives in George , believes people should make the most of all opportunities “to the best of your ability”.

“It takes time and perseverance, but the rewards are never-ending.”

Her PhD studies saw her visit Persepolis, the ancient ceremonial capital of the Achaemenes Empire, in Iran twice to study the remains of monuments there — an experience she described as “amazing”.

“I have a vivid imagination, so I was able to resurrect all the columns that had fallen down.”


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Antoinette Swart – Stellenbosch University (

From matric at 16 to a PhD at 83: George resident celebrates milestone (


FEEL GOOD | It’s never too late to learn: Two women in their 80s graduate at Stellenbosch University | News24


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