UCT to honour four of country's best

02 June 2002
South Africa's chief land claims commissioner, an HIV/AIDS activist, a renowned historian and an ardent civil rights campaigner will be awarded honorary degrees by UCT for their exceptional work and contributions in their respective fields.

THESE honorary degrees will be conferred on Advocate Wallace Mgoqi, Zackie Achmat, Vincent Kolbe and Dorothy Cleminshaw, respectively, on Friday, June 21, at the University's June graduation ceremonies.

The degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, will be conferred on Advocate W. Mgoqi. Advocate Mgoqi presently serves as Chief Land Claims Commissioner and as such presides over the process of land restitution.

He formerly practised as a public interest lawyer with the Legal Resource Centre, and played a leading role during the 1970s as a community worker in assisting and representing the beleaguered squatter communities of Modderdam, Unibel, Werkgenot and Crossroads.

The degree of Master of Social Science, honoris causa, will be conferred on Zakie Achmat of the Treatment Action Campaign. Achmat is renowned for his sterling work in keeping the urgency of the AIDS pandemic in South Africa uppermost in the minds of the Government and the public.

He is an exceptional person who has risen through the ranks from ordinary working class beginnings to a university student who graduated from the University of the Western Cape in English literature cum laude.

Having dedicated his life to the pursuit of justice – even where this put him in conflict with prevailing orthodoxies among activists – he has fearlessly mounted constitutional challenges demanding equal rights for gays and lesbians.

A multi-faceted figure in the contemporary cultural landscape and history of Cape Town, Vincent Kolbe will recive the degree of Master of Arts, honoris causa.

His pioneering leadership and involvement in the arts in Cape Town spans more than forty years and started when District Six was still the vibrant social centre of the city.

Throughout his adult life, Kolbe has been consistent in his commitment to the city and to the elevation of debates about its place in the South African past and present.

His commitment to the cultural enrichment of life in the Cape continues as strongly as ever.

Dorothy "Dot" Cleminshaw will receive the degree of Master of Social Science, honoris causa. She is well known among workers for justice and civil rights, although she has always shunned the limelight and worked in quiet but persistent ways to effect change.

Disillusioned with events in South Africa after the Second World War, she became part of the Torch Commando and also joined the Liberal Party.

Most recently she has been concerned with the responsibility of the Government to pay reparations to people identified as victims of gross human rights violations.

She has written letters and articles for the media and been active in NGO committees monitoring this issue.

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