Former President, Kgalema Motlanthe.
Dr Motlanthe will receive the Doctor of Public Affairs (honoris causa) degree from the Faculty of Humanities for his outstanding contribution to the South African liberation struggle and being exemplary in the many roles he has played, and still plays, in the service of our beloved country.
Among the three candidates to be honoured at the Faculty of Arts and Design is Dr Thomas Chauke, who will receive the Doctor of Performing Arts (honoris causa) degree for promoting music as a universal language that transcends racial, ethnic, and cultural barriers. He is a musical icon, celebrated for his pioneering role in the development and evolution of Xitsonga music that has been awarded with a string of honours and prizes that are as numerous as the albums he has released during an illustrious career that spans more than three decades.
Furthermore, the Doctor of Performing Arts (honoris causa) degree will be awarded to Omar Badsha, not only in respect of his sterling work as an anti-apartheid cultural activist but also as one of the country’s leading artists and documentary photographers.
Vusi Mahlasela, who is simply known as “The Voice” in South Africa, will also receive the Doctor of Performing Arts (honoris causa) for applying his musical skill in the fight for freedom and equality, always with a sense of hope. He is celebrated worldwide for his distinct, powerful voice and his poetic, optimistic lyrics. His songs of hope connect apartheid-scarred South Africa with its promise of a better future. Raised in the Mamelodi township, east of Pretoria, where he still resides, Mahlasela became a singer-songwriter and poet-activist at an early age, teaching himself how to play guitar and later joining the Congress of South African Writers.
At the Faculty of Science, the University will confer the Doctor of Philosophy in Science: Pharmaceutical Science (honoris causa) degree on Prof Alberto Ritieni for his service to South African academic and scholastic development, especially in the field of science. Prof Ritieni is an astute scientist, recognised worldwide as an expert in nutraceutical (functional food) development. He has been collaborating with South African scientists since 2000 and this collaboration has resulted in him hosting several South African students and academics for training. He is lauded globally and is the author of more than 215 scientific papers published in international, peer-reviewed journals, 37 book contribution, and many oral communications. In addition, he has been invited to present lectures at many international congresses.
Prof Lourens van Staden, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, said the five recipients will be honoured for their “tireless commitment and extraordinary efforts to make a positive difference in people’s lives, which resonates with the University’s vision of being globally recognised as a people’s university that makes knowledge work and where this knowledge is advanced in service of society. We are honoured to present these honorary degrees to candidates who absolutely deserve them,” said Prof van Staden.