Zakes Mda was awarded an honorary doctorate in literature (DLitt). Mda is a novelist, poet, playwright, painter, composer and filmmaker. He has distinguished himself as a writer, and through his work continues to have a significant impact as a commentator and thought leader.
The many windows to the world that his work offers, the remarkable life journey that he has travelled and the literary benchmarks that he has set, have earned him recognition the world over. This includes being awarded the Commonwealth Book Prize, the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the M-Net Book Prize and the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award for The Heart of Redness (2003). Most notably The Madonna of Excelsior (2004) was selected one of the top ten South African books published in the decade since the dawn of democracy in 1994.
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The university has bestowed high academic honours in the form of degrees awarded honoris causa on the following distinguished men and women.