Media Statement by Prof Nqabomzi Gawe, Acting Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor: Institutional Support and Official Spokesperson of the Durban University of Technology (DUT)
Top honour for Mechanical Engineer, Gordon Murray and Artist Nanda Soobben
Durban University of Technology (DUT) is pleased to announce that two renowned alumni will receive honorary doctoral degrees in recognition of their exceptional contribution in the field of engineering and art. The university will confer the honorary awards upon Mechanical Engineer, Gordon Murray and Artist Nanda Soobben, at DUT’s April 2010 Graduation Ceremony at Fred Crookes Sports Centre, Steve Biko Campus. In total, 4500 graduate and postgraduate students will receive their respective qualifications, from 14-22 April, from the faculties of Health Sciences, Accounting and Informatics, Applied Sciences, Art and Design, Engineering and the Built Environment and Management Sciences.
Formula 1 McLaren Designer, Gordon Murray
The former Brabham and McLaren Formula 1 designer is coming home to his alma mater, where he will receive his honour from the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment on April 17 at 10am. Gordon Murray, a Mechanical Engineering graduate of the then Technikon Natal, was awarded the Silver Tusk Award at DUT’s Convocation Alumni Awards Banquet in 2008. The Silver Tusk award is presented to alumni who have made significant achievements.
As Chief Designer of the Formula 1 Brabham Team, Murray’s cars totalled 22 Grand Prix wins, finishing in second place in the 1975 and 1981 Constructors’ Championship and gave Nelson Piquet the Drivers’ Championship in 1981 and 1983. At the end of 1986, Murray joined McLaren as Technical Director. His Honda powered McLaren won 15 of 16 Grand Prix in 1988, and gave Ayrton Senna his first Drivers’ Championship.
During the period between 1988 and 1991, the McLaren team won four consecutive Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships with drivers Alain Prost in 1989 and Ayrton Senna in 1990 and 1991. From 1991-2004, Murray headed McLaren Cars to design road-going Supercars, the McLaren F1 and the Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren. In July 2007, he established the Gordon Murray Design Consultancy, where he is working on the T25 prototype city car, along with a future lightweight economical Supercar project.
Esteemed cartoonist, Nanda Soobben
Nanda Soobben earned his diplomas from ML Sultan Technical College in Commercial Art and Parson’s School of Design in New York for animation. He is a political activist and Black Cartoonist. He receives his honour from the Faculty of Art and Design on April 22 at 10am.
As a cartoonist, his academic achievements are judged by his numerous national and international exhibitions, his role as a political activist through his work as a Black Cartoonist and his work in local and international media. In 2007, Soobben received an Amnesty International Award for speaking the truth through cartoons, a Special Congressional Recognition Award at the World Affairs Council (WAC) and an international Certificate of Honour for showing leadership through his work.
In 2007, Soobben was awarded the United States Congressional Award for Outstanding Achievement by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. An Amnesty International Award for using his cartoons to “tell the truth” and a Certificate of Honour from the City of San Francisco. In 2009, he won The Heritage Award for being one of six South Africans honoured for their contribution towards the preservation and promotion of South African heritage and culture.
In the Cartoonist Category in 2009, Soobben won the Vodacom Journalist of the Year (KZN) award, which he has been awarded twice before.
Nanda Soobben continues his social activism through his work and is the proprietor of the Centre for Fine Art, Animation and Design (CFAD) in Durban. Nanda uses his school, which offers a variety of courses, to develop talents of students across the racial divide. He has also been commissioned to develop an animated series on the life of former President Nelson Mandela.
Writing the Foreword to Soobben’s book, Editor, Kaizer Nyatsumba describes him as “… one of this country’s great cartoonists.” He said: “To be counted among its (Apartheid’s) innumerable sins is the fact not only that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of our darker-hued South Africans’ innate talents lay undiscovered, un-nurtured and, therefore, unutilised or under-utilised; but there is the ignoble fact that there are many others whose talents were not allowed to be displayed before a bigger audience and to flourish. It was such talents’ fate to blossom unseen, unappreciated and without being accorded the recognition and praise due to them”. In Soobben’s second book titled “Witness to a Decade”, the late Prof Fatima Meer said: “Nanda Soobben is the first cartoonist emerging from the previously disadvantaged communities of the apartheid era. His work is in itself a measure of our achievements as a democracy in the last decade.”
For more information, please contact:
Cell: 083 5601667
Spokesperson on the behalf of Gordon Murray:
Professor Theo Andrew, Executive Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
Durban University of Technology
Tel: 031 3732762
Cell: 082 572 9037
Division of Corporate Affairs
Durban University of Technology
Tel: 031 373 2845
Cell: 073 67 33345