The Durban University of Technology (DUT) hosted a Gala Dinner in honour of the newly conferred honorary doctorates recipients, Dr Esther Mahlangu, Dr Johnny Clegg, Dr Sipho Mchunu and Dr Welcome “Bhodloza” Nzimande last Friday, 07 September 2018 at the Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel and Convention Centre.
The Gala Dinner was embraced by the presence of esteemed guests including the former DUT Chancellor, Judge Vuka Tshabalala, Chairperson of DUT Council, Mr Wiseman Madinane, DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu, members of DUT Executive Management, DUT staff, recipients of the honorary doctorates and their friends and families. Also in attendance were other external stakeholders of the University.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo said DUT is thrilled to have bestowed such honour in these respected pioneers in visual and performing arts. “I would like to urge our honorary doctorates recipients to collaborate with the University because it is through collaborative efforts that we can make a meaningful contribution towards the development of this country,” she said.
She also advised DUT students to take a valuable lesson from these remarkable individuals that in everything that they do they must portray passion, authenticity, resilience and service.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu said this has been an important day for the University, commenting that it has also evoked many childhood memories. “There is so much richness in our culture and heritage, which we tend to take very lightly, and I think it is our role as universities to preserve this richness in our heritage,” said Prof Mthembu.
Prof Mthembu said Dr Johnny Clegg’s speech which was delivered earlier on during the graduation ceremony on his behalf by Dr Rene Smith, enlightened his understanding about the role of Arts. “His speech was full of history, and I think it should have been a lecture,” he said.
He also urged that we should all pursue our passions in order to achieve more as a nation. “Mama Mahlangu has taken this country to the globe using her culture and heritage,” he added.
Dr Esther Mahlangu who was introduced by a Ndebele praise-singer, said she never thought she would receive such an honour, and she is excited that she received this honour through using her god given talent and preserving her heritage.
“Don’t ever undervalue your talent and heritage because it has taken me all over the world, and everywhere I travel, I always receive good hospitality and respectfor my work,” she said excitedly.
Dr Sipho Mchunu said he feels highly honoured and very grateful to DUT for the honour that it has bestowed on him.
Dr Mchunu expressed his gratitude to his partner in Juluka band, Dr Johnny Clegg, who was also honoured with an honorary doctorate by DUT, but could not attend the ceremony. “I would like to thank him for the mutual respect that we had for each other. I didn’t know English when we met and he also didn’t know IsiZulu. My first trip overseas to Germany was with him. I would like to thank him for the special relationship that I had with him. Johnny Clegg refers to my children as his children, even when he buys gifts, he also buys for my children,” said Dr Mchunu.
He added that this recognition is not just about him but it is also for his family. “My family should be grateful that I was honoured when I was still alive. I am also very happy that I was honoured while I’m still alive,” he said.
Dr Welcome “Bhodloza” Nzimande thanked his family for their love, support and tolerance because without that he could have not achieved what he has achieved in his career.
He also shared his vision for the establishment of a centre for traditional music development. “The centre could help to explore the commercial potential of traditional music, and provide a platform where legends could impart knowledge and set global standards. The centre could be a catalyst and instigator for traditional music,” said Dr Nzimande.
Pictured: Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu congratulates honorary doctorates recipients, Dr Sipho Mchunu, Dr Esther Mahlangu and Dr Welcome Nzimande during the Gala Dinner.