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Four leading South Africans are to receive honorary doctorates from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in April.
The four are navy chief Vice-Admiral Johannes Mudimu; former Drum writer the late Prof Lewis Nkosi; University of Johannesburg chancellor and co-founder of the first company controlled by women to be listed on the JSE, Wendy Luhabe; and “intellectual giant” Prof Njabulo Ndebele.
Mudimu said he would accept the honour on behalf of his fellow seamen, while Luhabe believes she is living testimony to the importance of education.
Nkosi’s posthumous accolade would be accepted by Astrid Starck-Adler, his partner until his death, who said the occasion would be an acknowledgement of the former exile’s “rootedness” in SA.
An honorary doctorate in technology in maritime studies would be conferred on Mudimu “for his exceptional role in transforming the SA Navy, his commitment to peace and community welfare, as well as his support to DUT”, the institution said.
Mudimu, who hails from Sophiatown, already holds a master’s degree in military science, and an honours degree in public management governance among several other qualifications.
Luhabe would become an honorary doctor of technology in management sciences for “her pioneering endeavours” among SA’s women entrepreneurs and for her role “in creating social capital for development and progress in the country”, DUT said.
Luhabe co-founded Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (Wiphold) in the early 90s, which “revolutionised” the participation of women in the economy. “It enabled more than 18 000 women to become investors for the first time. Wiphold made history in 1999 when it became the first women-owned business to be listed on the JSE,” DUT said.
DUT would confer a posthumous honorary doctorate of technology in arts and design on Nkosi, “in recognition of his significant contributions as a prolific and profound South African writer and essayist”.
Nkosi, of Chesterville, died in 2010, having spent most of his life in exile. He took up a Harvard scholarship in 1961, and was refused entry back into SA.
He wrote for Drum in the 1950s and wrote the critically acclaimed Mating Birds in 1986.
Described by Max du Preez as an “intellectual giant”, Ndebele would add an honorary doctorate in technology in arts and design from DUT to a long list of academic achievements for his “outstanding contributions to education, literature and public service”.
Meanwhile, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) announced that the National Research Foundation has awarded three new prestigious SA research chairs, which would be located in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science.
The awards, announced by Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor, bring to 11 the number of research chairs at UKZN.
The new research chairs are:
* Land use planning and management
* Rural agronomy and development
* Intelligent real time power systems.
UKZN vice-chancellor and principal Professor Malegapuru Makgoba said the new chairs would strengthen research capacity and build world-class academics in these areas. - The Mercury