For their tireless commitment and extraordinary efforts to make a difference in people’s lives, Stellenbosch University will confer honorary doctorates on six people who have made significant contributions in the fields of medicine, literature, the performing arts, business, science, education and community development.
Recipients include Artscape chief executive and activist for the empowerment of disadvantaged groups Dr Marlene le Roux; Rwandan paediatrician Professor Agnes Binagwaho; group chief executive officer of Women Investment Portfolio Holdings and champion of empowering women Louisa Mojela; a mathematician and scientific leader of international repute, Professor Daya Reddy; the author and recipient of numerous international literary awards, Professor Marlene van Niekerk; and the chairperson of Umalusi and transformation educationist Professor John David Volmink.
“Their tireless commitment and extraordinary efforts to make a positive difference in people’s lives resonate strongly with SU’s vision of being globally recognised as excellent, inclusive and innovative and where knowledge is advanced in service of society,” the university said.
Le Roux said she was honoured to be receiving the doctorate.
“This achievement is a great honour and privilege for me and I accept it with great humility. So many people pave the way for me. As a disabled woman of colour from the Boland rural area, Wellington, I accept this on behalf of and dedicate it to persons/women with disabilities and especially to the girl child with a disability from rural areas.
“In accepting this, I honour both my mothers, one being my maternal grandmother Christina Abrahams, and my mother Christine le Roux (Tietie); both only had primary school education due to the apartheid legacy but who fought bitterly for my right to attend school against all the adversity they faced. I salute them both.
“Their vision has been realised in all my achievements.”
Le Roux’s outreach projects range from theatre appreciation workshops to taking complete productions, along with workshops and educational theatre, to rural areas and communities where arts and cultural opportunities are limited.
Le Roux is to receive the degree Doctor of Education (DEd), honoris causa; Binagwaho the degree Doctor of Science (DSc) (Medicine and Health Sciences), honoris causa; and Mojela the degree Doctor of Commerce (DCom), honoris causa. The degree Doctor of Science (DSc) (Science), honoris causa, will be awarded to Reddy and the degree Doctor of Arts and Social Sciences (DPhil), honoris causa, to Van Niekerk.
Volmink will receive the degree Doctor of Education (DEd), honoris causa.
The honorary doctorates will be conferred on the recipients next year.