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Four sisters graduate in one week
Author: Corporate Communication and Marketing Division / Afdeling Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking
Published: 12/12/2022

​Graduation 2022 at Stellenbosch University (SU) will go down in family history as the year that all four of the De Lange daughters, aged between 21 and 27, were capped in a range of different degrees.

Two of the Paarl-based siblings received their Honours degrees, while the youngest two, who are twins, received their undergraduate degrees.

Johanna Maria (Andria) de Lange (27), graduated with her BSc Honours Clinical Anatomy; Roné (25 on 18 December) received her B.Com Honours Industrial Psychology degree; Jani (21) got her BSc Human Life Sciences and her twin sister, Mari, graduated with her B. Accounting degree.

The celebration was made just that much more special by the fact that the parents of the four girls, are also Stellenbosch University alumni – their mother, Anna-Mari de Lange completed her BA in Politics, Philosophy and Sociology in 1989 and their father, Johan de Lange, got his BSc Agriculture in 1989. 

Anna-Mari, a stay-at-home mother and Johan, who works as an executive at Kaap Agri, could barely keep up with all the different graduation ceremonies – on Tuesday 6 December, Wednesday 7 December and Thursday 8 December - but were there in full force to support their daughters and to celebrate their various achievements afterwards.

In an interview, Andria paid tribute to her parents for the constant support and encouragement they've given to all their daughters through the years. The family, who are originally from Porterville, moved to Paarl in 2017.

“Our parents raised all four of us to follow our dreams, our passions, and our ideals. They instilled in us the value of an education and they always emphasised we must try to use our education to help others. Our family philosophy is to help others in whatever way we can, in whichever career we choose.

“We are extremely grateful towards our parents for working so hard to grant us the opportunity to be able to educate ourselves further. They had to endure many financial and emotional challenges to make this possible for us and words will never be enough to describe our gratitude towards them. They have had a child studying at Stellenbosch University since 2014 and two of us will be continuing our studies in 2023. We really honour our parents for their sacrifices, their guidance, and their support and for giving up so many of their own dreams to enable us to pursue ours," said Andria.

Andria said that all four of the De Lange daughters thoroughly enjoy studying. “We all want to pursue our dreams and make an impact whether it is in a small way or on the big stage," she said.  

Next year, Andria will continue her studies at Stellenbosch University by doing a Master of Science in Anatomy.  Roné who hopes to become an industrial psychologist, will apply for jobs in Human Resources; Jani, who wants to become a medical surgical rep, hopes to do a postgraduate diploma in Marketing, also at SU; Mari, will start working as an accounting clerk in an accounting firm in Middelburg, Eastern Cape.

In her own studies, Andria completed her BSc in Human Life Sciences, and then, in 2017, did her post-graduate certificate in Education. She worked as a high school teacher at Paarl Gymnasium, and then moved to a nonprofit organisation called Hilltop Legacy, which operates in and around Paarl.

“My work experiences made me realise that I have a passion for education, healthcare and community work. I decided I want to align my passions, and the only way I can make a difference in all those sectors is to return to university, which is why I did my honours in Anatomy this year. Andria will be doing her Masters in Anatomy, with a view to becoming a lecturer and academic. “In my research, I hope to impact the healthcare system and get involved in community work – and a Masters is an excellent platform from which to do that."

Expanding on how they will celebrate this memorable milestone for all the sisters, Andria said: “We are very humble, down-to-earth people. Celebrations are usually more a moment of thankfulness, where we take a look at the year of where we are, thank each other, thank our parents and give all honour to God, who has blessed us so abundantly. We don't need to go to a fancy restaurant – what we will do, before we all depart on our further journeys, will be to express gratitude for this year."

 An elated Roné, shared the quote, "Kop af en swaai deur", an Afrikaans quote (usually used on the golf course) that her parents always shared with their daughters, which means “just keep going".

“I am truly grateful towards my parents for supporting me through this year and inspiring me to keep on working hard, despite numerous challenges," she said.

 Jani said: "My degree not only increased my love and interest to work in the medical field, but also gave me the opportunity to meet amazing people. These past three years have taught me the importance of support from family members and friends. Through difficult times, my parents kept me motivated, positive and reminded me of my end goal."

 Mari said: “This past year was filled with many wonderful memories, but also a lot of challenges. Despite the latter, my parents encouraged me to keep on working hard, supporting me in every step I take, and I would not have been where I am today if it was not for them."