Autumn Graduation
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The Faculty of Arts and Design at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) will award an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Visual and Performing Arts to the world-renowned South African storyteller, author, poet, playwright, activist and actress, Ms Nokugcina Elsie Mhlophe, popularly known as “Gcina Mhlophe.” The honorary degree will be conferred at the DUT 2024 Autumn Graduation ceremony, which will be held at the Olive Convention Centre, Durban on Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 09h00.

The awarding of the honorary degree is in recognition of Gcina Mhlophe’s exceptional contribution and accomplishment to the world of the Arts, particularly in literature and the entertainment industry. She will be among 371 graduands from the Faculty of Arts and Design who will grace the Durban graduation stage and be acknowledge for their dedication and achievement.

The multi-talented award-winning Mhlophe is most highly acclaimed for her one-woman autobiographical play, titled, Have You Seen Zandile? in which she was the lead actress. The play was first produced in 1986 and received a standing ovation from its audience at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. Mhlophe played the role of Zandile, and DUT’s 2022 Honorary Doctorate recipient, Dr Thembi Mtshali, played the character of Zandile’s grandmother. Have you seen Zandile? which was directed by Maralyn Van Reenen has been flighted on numerous international stages, namely the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, Edinburgh, London, Basel, Zurich, Chicago, and Tennessee. The play was performed as a BBC radio drama for which she won the Sony Award for best actress, and the play won awards in Chicago and Edinburgh.

She was an editorial advisor for the Staffrider, a literary magazine founded in Johannesburg in 1978 and published until 1996. The publication was a primary instrument of artistic and intellectual resistance in the struggle against apartheid. As a literary activist, she founded and directed the Zanendaba storytelling company in Johannesburg and has championed literacy through the Nozincwadi organisation to resource communities to read, especially young children. Her “million books project” has impacted on countless children in South Africa in her efforts to grow a vibrant reading culture. She is the founder and Executive Director of Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust under which projects such as the annual Nozincwadi Story and Book Festival are hosted.

Sharing her congratulatory remarks, the former Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Design at DUT, Professor Runette Kruger, said: “The Faculty of Arts and Design takes pride in conferring an Honorary Doctorate on Ms Gcina Mhlophe. The inspiring work she has done in the arts and in literacy has contributed immensely to the cultural richness of South Africa. Through her dedication and creativity, Ms Mhlophe shines a light on South African tales for local and international audiences while also preserving the culture and art of storytelling. Ms Mhlophe’s sustained excellence and achievements embody the aim of the DUT ENVISION2030 strategy, which is to improve the lives and livelihoods of our people.”

Professor Kruger further mentioned that the Faculty of Arts and Design looks forward to collaborating and engaging with Gcina Mhlophe, as her decades of rich industry experience will benefit both the DUT students and the university’s academic programmes immensely.

Pictured: The DUT 2024 Honorary Doctorate recipient, Ms Gcina Mhlophe.

Simangele Zuma

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