Professor Daniel Kunene is a renowned literary figure who has, through his translations, contributed to exposing African culture to the rest of the world. His pioneering work on heroic praise poetry explores how heroism is defined and expressed in praise poems, and charts the manner in which praise names are conferred.
Recognised as one of the foremost figures in the translation of South African texts from African languages into English, Kunene completed an acclaimed translation of Thomas Mofolo's Sesotho novel Chaka in 1981. He was also responsible for the widely-praised translation of CLS Nyembezi's 1950 isiZulu novel Mntanami! Mntanami! (My Child! My Child!) in 2010, for which he won the Karel Čapek Medal.
Kunene has used his own prose and poetry in opposition to apartheid in South Africa, demonstrating with great subtlety the multi-faceted relationships between individuals and communities in African society, especially those societies affected by colonialism and apartheid. UCT recognises Kunene's contribution towards preserving the African tradition and promoting it to a wider audience.
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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.