VC congratulates Motsepe Family as TUT awards Posthumous Honorary Doctorate to “ABC” Motsepe

1 November 2023

The Tshwane University of Technology yesterday, 31 October 2023, awarded a Posthumous Honorary Doctorate to one of the country’s beloved sons, the late Augustine Butana Chaane “ABC” Motsepe.

Please Click Here to view the live stream.

In a heartfelt speech (below), Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, brought tribute to Mr Motsepe.

The Chair of Council, Advocate ka-Mbonane.

Fellow Council members:

Dr Nozibele Andrea 
Mandisa Mokoena
Ms Patience Princess Mangoma
Mr Pakiso Motau
Dr Mukondeleli Grace Kanakana
Ms Yedwa Mbali Mjiako

Dr Patrice Motsepe
Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe
The First Lady, Dr Tshepo Motsepe
Ambassador Bridgette Motsepe and all the Motsepe siblings.

What a beautiful moment this is, for the Tshwane University of Technology, where we honour the legacy and contribution of a great South African, The late Augustine Butana Chaane “ABC” Motsepe.

Section 65C (1) of the Higher Education Act empowers institutions of higher learning to award degrees, diplomas and certificates for students who have completed their studies. The same section of the Act also affords an institution of higher learning like the Tshwane University of Technology, the authority to confer Honorary degrees, or degrees awarded honoris causa (for the sake of honour). 

Section 65C(1) of the Act puts it this way:

Subject to its institutional statute, a public higher education institution may, without examination, confer honorary degrees of master or doctor in any faculty upon any person whom the public higher education institution may deem worthy of such a degree. 

The Tshwane University of Technology takes the power and the authority vested in it by the Higher Education Act, most seriously. Both our Statute and our Honorary Degrees Policy were crafted with the utmost care and with due cognisance of the enormity of our responsibility – in the execution of this special mandate. We therefore always seek to ensure that our Honoris Causa recipients are drawn among only the best and the most excellent men and women of impeccable character; they, who have made outstanding contributions in the advancement of human development. 

From the very first Honorary Degree that was conferred by the Tshwane University of Technology since its inception, twenty odd years ago, to the special honorary doctorate of Dr Augustine Butana Chaane “ABC” Motsepe, which we celebrate today; we always select only those candidates whose character can go ‘through the eye of the needle”. We always choose those candidates whose contribution to society is beyond question. In this regard, we have been consistently particular, about selecting awardees whose impact in the world is incontrovertible. 

We choose our honorary degree candidates from a select pool of South Africans and global citizens, from all walks of life, but those who embody the TUT values. The TUT values being: integrity, compassion, diversity, inclusion, equity, excellence and accountability. Only they whose lives demonstrate the pursuit, not of knowledge for knowledge’s sake, but those whose quest is for knowledge that works - those who commit their expertise and their talents to the service of society and the empowerment of others. 

These strict criteria apply equally to our living and to our posthumous awardees. 

The late Augustine Butana Chaane “ABC” Motsepe is one’s of South Africa’s special sons. Through his life, ABC Motsepe demonstrated the relationship between education, sports and entrepreneurship. 

A better epitome of what the Tshwane University of Technology is all about, is hard to find. Few individuals exemplify the relationship between mathematics, communication and sport – as ABC Motsepe did. 

If you think carefully about it, you will realise that football is about calculations and angles: obtuse angles, acute angles, right angles and straight angles. The “shibobo”, just like the “spy-two” are nothing but 45-degree angles!  

If you think about it, football, like entrepreneurship is about putting every effort and everything else in place to ensure a win. 

And so, it was via the route of mathematics, language and sport that ABC Motsepe honed his skills and went on to become an entrepreneur of note in his lifetime

Without clear communication and linguistic articulation, there is no game plan, either for life or for sport. Without effective and articulate communication there is no common game plan between coach and players and between captain and fellow players.  Is it any wonder that this English teacher called ABC Motsepe was able to influence the likes of Matsilele Jomo Sono, one of his students at Orlando High School? A school at which Motsepe, must have taught alongside a fellow English teacher called Ezekiel Eseki Es’kia Mphahlele  (who was three and half years younger than Motsepe). Orlando High School is the same school which produced such stellar alumni as: Kaizer Motaung, Irvin Khoza and Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba.?

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no contradiction whatsoever, in ABC Motsepe’s roles as an educationist, as an entrepreneur, and as a team player: a team player at the National Federated Chamber of Commerce (NAFCOC); and a team builder at the Transvaal United African Teachers Association (TUATA). 

Only a man who was fully in touch with his roots, among the Bakgatla ba Mmakau could play the confident and constructive role he played before, during and after Apartheid. 

The TUT Honorary Degrees Committee had no hesitation, that in the late ABC Motsepe, son of naturally born entrepreneurs, Joseph Tlhopane Motsepe and Stephina Motsepe - they who were entrepreneurs before the notion of entrepreneurship was coined and before black people were allowed to take part in it – and from whom ABC inherited the entrepreneurship gene - the TUT Honorary Degrees Committee had no doubt whatsoever that the late ABC Motsepe not only met but exceeded all our requirements or an honoris causa awardee.

TUT is proud to make this honorific and spiritual connection with the late ABC Motsepe, son of Ga-Mmakau, former classmate of the likes of Nelson Mandela and Sir Seretese Khama at Fort Hare University in the 1940s. The entrepreneurial spirit of ABC inspires our own institutional vision of producing future-ready graduates who find jobs fast and/or invent jobs for themselves just as fast. 

The late ABC Motsepe, has inspired generations of students, business people and sports people. 

In him we have found a candidate whose life epitomises the TUT ambition to keep moving from good to great at every level and in every way. 

ABC Motsepe is the quintessential embodiment of the highest values and ambitions of the Tshwane University of Technology.   

In my capacity as Vice-Chancellor and Principal, it is my greatest honour to be serving in this capacity, at a time when the Council of this great University resolved to award the degree of Doctor of Management Sciences in Organisational Leadership, Honoris Causa, to Augustine Butana Chaane “ABC” Motsepe Posthumously; henceforth also to be known and remembered as the late Dr Augustine Butana Chaane “ABC” Motsepe.

I thank you.

Please Click Here to view the livestream.


For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
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