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DUT honours Human Rights Commissioner, Renowned artist and Scientist

DUT honours Human Rights Commissioner, Renowned artist and Scientist

Media statement by Nomonde Mbadi, Executive Director of Corporate Affairs

Durban University of Technology (DUT) will honour three prominent individuals with Honorary Doctor of Technology Degrees during the 2009 Graduation Ceremonies in recognition of their exceptional contribution to society in various ways. The ceremonies will be held from 15th to 21st April 2009.

Human Rights Commissioner, Jody Kollapen, leading artist, Andrew Verster and technology transfer and digital systems expert, Dr Martin Hinoul will receive honorary doctorates in April.

Jody Kollapen

Jody Kollapen will be bestowed an Honorary Doctor of Technology Degree in Public Management in recognition of the significant role he has played in the promotion of human rights. He receives the Honorary Doctorate on 17 April at 9h00.

A lawyer by training, Kollapen has a long history of involvement in the arena of human rights which goes back to many years before liberation. In his role as attorney, he defended many victims of political oppression. He appeared in cases concerning Sharpeville and the death of Steve Biko, after whom the DUT Steve Biko campus is named. In the early 1990s he was a leading figure in the Lawyers for Human Rights organisation.

He became Chair of the Human Rights Commission in 1996. This is a ‘chapter nine’ institution in terms of the South African constitution which forms the basis for institutions of state in support of constitutional democracy. The commission’s functions are to promote human rights in terms of culture, development and attainment and to monitor their observance. It is to his credit that, together with his colleagues, he has ensured that the Commission enjoys considerable respect as a chapter nine institution of exceptional value to the wider society.

His activities include co-authorship of a book on racism and discrimination in the penal system of South Africa. At international level, he has worked in Africa in the human rights field in countries as diverse as Gabon, Algeria, Rwanda and Burundi. He has also seen service on the board of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, the Institute for Democratic Alternatives in South Africa and the London based Article 19.

Andrew Verster

Andrew Verster will receive an Honorary Doctor of Technology Degree in Arts and Design in recognition of his national and international reputation as an artist, for his significant contribution to the Arts through his paintings, writings and designs of set and costumes, and for his generous community contributions. He receives the Honorary Doctorate on 20 April at 16h00.

Verster is a foremost South African artist and is a leading figure in the Art world. Born in Johannesburg, Verster was trained at the Camberwell School of Art and Reading University. He lectured at the University of Durban Westville, Durban and Technikon Natal until 1976. He gave up teaching to become a full-time painter.

He collaborated with the architect Hans Hallen on Mangosuthu Technikon and the Brenthurst Library. He is also a distinguished writer of short stories, articles and radio plays and winner of the BBC World Service Playwriting competition.

He designed the set and costumes for Opera Africa’s Faust, Princess Magogo, and La Traviata and Rigoletto, and for the American production of Princess Magogo, in 2004. He was also responsible for the touring Production design in Chicago, Oslo, Amsterdam, Cape Town.

Verster has won design awards and has published articles in Style Magazine and in Leadership and various architectural journals. His artwork will be exhibited at DUT Art Gallery from 21 April 2009 – 18 May 2009.

Dr Martin Hinoul

Dr Martin Hinoul will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Technology Degree in Engineering in recognition of his international renown as a physicist and engineer, and the major contributions he has made in changing the role of universities, especially in the field of technology transfer and in the development of South African Universities of Technology. He receives the Honorary Doctorate on 21 April at 13h00.

Dr Martin Hinoul is an internationally renowned expert in the field of Technolopolicy and Regional Economic Development in Technology Transfer related projects and business associated with industry. A scientist of note, Dr Hinoul has a PhD in Solid State Physics from the Katholieke University, Leuven in Belgium. He has also presented lectures at universities in Europe, US, Australia, Chin, Japan and South Africa.

He became the first Science and Technology Attache’ for the Belgian Government with an office in the United States. He was based at the Belgian Consul General in Los Angeles. He later joined the Belgian Embassy in Washington D.C. In 2008 Dr Hinoul was the guest professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Technology Groep T in Leuven.
He has worked in the Telephone Manufacturing Company and has applied his technology transfer knowledge in United States, India and China. He turned the industry around when he successfully developed transfer systems in these countries. He also succeeded in setting up several American high tech companies in Belgium, and Belgian companies in the US. He has been working together with local experts to develop a strategy for spin-off companies in the South African context.

He became a member of many professional associations including the American Vacuum Society and the Optical Society of America.

He is the author of several books on technology transfer and digital systems. He has received numerous awards in recognition of his expertise.

For more information, please contact Bhekani Dlamini on 031 373 2845 to facilitate the interview.