Renowned radio and TV legend, Dr Welcome Nzimande urged the Durban University of Technology (DUT) students and graduates to become leaders with purposeful convictions, and never seek popularity and rewards.
“Graduates, in your various career pursuits you must understand that leadership and excellence worthy of doctoral awards does not need any podium or elevated perch. To lead and excel is a quest and passion applicable anywhere even if unnoticed, away from the glare of publicity, and without a podium. But then again do not lead and excel because you seek rewards; lead and excel because you seek best results,” he was speaking at DUT’s Fred Crookes Sport Centre after being conferred with an honorary Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Visual and Performing Arts, last Friday, 07 September 2018.
“I wish to say to the graduates that from my professional journey I have experienced that passion makes good leaders and that indeed a journey of a thousand miles begins very humbly, even on the back of a mule. Lead passionately wherever you are,” said Dr Nzimande.
The vibrant Dr Nzimande said this recognition has revitalized and spurred him to pursue more purposeful ventures to make South Africa a better place. “This award has opened my mind to new possibilities and opportunities, and it has strengthened my courage and conviction to proceed with purposeful pursuits. As a country we have come a long way, yet we still have a long way ahead of us,” he said.
The Richmond-born veteran broadcaster reminisced about his childhood memories, which he believes also shaped him to be the person he is today. “My leadership experience intensified during my high school days at Kwa-Dlangezwa High School in Empangeni where I was the head-boy and received awards for leadership and Boy of the Year during the Speech and Prize-giving Day. Often, I would hold meetings to discuss leadership issues of the school, with Professor Sibusiso Bhengu who was our school principal, in later years he became the first Minister of Education in President Nelson Mandela’s Cabinet,” said Dr Nzimande.
“For instance, we almost shared a nickname with my dear friend Dr. Zweli Mkhize – the National Minister of COGTA – who was known as Bhidliza, whilst I was Bhodloza and our third mate was Phihliza. Kwa-Dlangezwa High School provided us with platforms that sharpened and shaped our future careers. My high school leadership experience made me understand and appreciate the value of education and its role in the life of any leader,” he said.
Through his contribution, “Bhodloza” as Dr Nzimande is popularly known, has become synonymous with Maskandi music. He shared his journey with this music genre. “I was eager to learn and grow, and took a keen liking on umaskandi music. It was a genre that was not popular to the listeners and often derided by colleagues. Nonetheless I took on the challenge of popularizing umaskandi music through innovation. I introduced umaskandi competitions, which brought public attention to the genre, and thoroughly engaged listeners and artists. Amongst other strategies I declared 1982 – The Year of uMaskandi,” he narrated with visible enthusiasm.
“Suddenly umaskandi music had public appeal and enjoyed fair airplay. Leading umaskandi artists like NganZiyamfisa noKhambalomvaleliso noMzikayifani Buthelezi reached gold-disc status with sales of over 25 000 LPs as early as in 1982,” he added.
The visionary Dr Nzimande also outlined his future plans to nurture new talent and promote traditional music. “My vision involves the establishment of a Centre for Traditional Music boasting programs including talent searches for umaskandi musicians, seminars and joint performances with veteran musicians, theory and research, etc. In time, this Centre could easily incorporate programs involving Drama, Crafts, Izimbongi (praise-singers) nokunye (and many more),” he said.
The Executive Dean in Faculty of Arts and Design, Dr Rene Smith said; “Welcome Nzimande is being honoured for his contribution to the arts and creative industries in South Africa. Announcer, translator, producer, station manager, facilitator and cultural icon synonymous with Ezodumo and Ukhozi, ‘Bhodloza’ is a household name and a Living Legend. Nzimande is recognised nationally for promoting traditional music and Maskandi artists and is being awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Visual and Performing Arts.”
Pictured: Dr Welcome “Bhodloza” Nzimande.