Trio of hon docs

23 July 2012

A hat-trick of honorary degrees saw Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane (who until 30 June served as chair of UCT Council), deputy vice-chancellor Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo and Professor Etienne van Heerden, the Hofmeyr Professor in Afrikaans and Netherlandic Studies, receive honorary doctorates the Universities of the Witwatersrand, Glasgow and the Free State respectively.

Archbishop Njondonkulu Ndungane Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo Prof Etienne Van Heerden
Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane. DVC Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo. Prof Etienne van Heerden.

At Wits' graduation ceremony on 22 June, Ndungane was hailed for his theological contributions, his role in campaigns to abolish Third World debt, his involvement in championing African development, and his part in situating "the Church as a place of compassion, humanity and a fierce advocate for justice in our world".

Nhlapo's honorary doctorate is the second accolade he has received from Glasgow, his alma mater, following his Principal's Prize in 1989. The honorary degree recognised his contribution to UCT governance and to national and international initiatives, such as his work on the initial Project Committee on Customary Law at the South African Law Reform Commission in the nineties. "Professor Nhlapo has worked in the fields of law and education with great distinction and we were honoured to welcome him back to the university as an alumnus who has played such a key role in the evolving legal system of post-1994 South Africa," said the university's principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Anton Muscatelli.

Free State hailed Van Heerden as "the most acclaimed Afrikaans writer of his generation" when it presented the multi-award-winning writer with an honorary Doctor Litterarum, or DLitt, at its winter graduation ceremony on 15 June. "It is the honour of the Free State University to recognise a person who has changed the South African landscape positively," read the university's formal citation.

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