UMP ceremony honours indigenous tree

General Provincial

The University of Mpumalanga (UMP) held a tree-planting ceremony at its Mbombela Campus on May 13.

The ceremony focused on the yellow-bark fever tree (acacia xanthophloea), an indigenous tree locally known as umKhanyakude, meaning “seen from afar”.The tree-planting ceremony focussed on an indigenous tree, locally known as umKhanyakude, meaning seen from afar. The yellow-bark fever tree (acacia xanthophloea is endemic to the Lowveld, the Kruger National Park and the northern KwaZulu-Natal.

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At the ceremony, the UMP chancellor, Judge Mandisa Maya, asked for a bench to be placed underneath the tree. “It is my wish to see this tree used as a gathering spot where people can sit and discuss whatever thoughts are milling in their minds. The meaning of this is to plant me personally in this beautiful university situated in this beautiful province of Mpumalanga. This is an umbilical cord that I hope will keep us together until the end of time,” she said.


Prof David Mabunda, UMP chairperson of Council, said the University decided to plant the tree “as it was very close to people’s inner beings. The tree is used to honour people or to show love, a globally used practise. Like Americans respect and use the redwood tree, the Europeans respect the Oaktree, while Africa uses the Baobab tree. In modern humanity, we embrace trees and forestry as important because they help produce the oxygen we need to breathe. Soon we will be planting many more trees around campus,” Mabunda told guests.

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The Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Prof Moses Mbewe, said fever tree is important as its roots grow and spread to benefit the soil and fight erosion. “umKhanyakude is an indigenous tree that grows well, is remarkable and cannot go unnoticed. It is a beautiful tree with a striking shape that forms good shade under which people can sit and relax,” he said.