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1 December 2022
UWC Greats: Honorary doctorates and gold medals conferred on recipients
The Jakes Gerwel Hall at The University of the Western Cape (UWC) played host to the recipients of honorary doctorates and gold medals, alongside invited guests for a gala dinner, to celebrate their accolades.

The prestigious ceremony took place on 30 November 2022.

Those who were honoured for their contributions are worthy of this recognition because they exemplify creativity, scholarship, selflessness and the courage of their convictions to make a difference in society.
Prof Zoë Wicomb

The honorary doctorates were conferred to 2021 and 2022 recipients:
  • Dr Allan Boesak (theologian, author and political activist)
  • Prof Zoë Wicomb (author and academic)
  • Dr Imtiaz Sooliman (humanitarian and founder of Gift of the Givers)
  • Prof Kwesi Kwaa Prah (internationally recognised as an Africanist thinker, author, sociology professor, and founder of the Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society)
Gold Medals were bestowed on individuals in the community who have made a significant and extraordinary contribution to the upliftment of society through exceptional leadership, community involvement and related activities:
  • Advocate AB Mahomed (respected law practitioner and founder of Al Baraka Bank)
  • Mr Derek Joubert and Mr Peter Takelo (for their commitment to arts education and for nurturing the potential of the rural child in Barrydale)
  • Mr Sean Lance and Mr Peter Wilson (for establishing the African Leadership Institute that invests in the young leaders of Africa through the Tutu Leadership Fellowship)
  • Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (former South African deputy president and United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women)
UWC Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, said: “This is a very special occasion in the history of the University of the Western Cape. While we have conferred many honorary degrees and medals that recognise the extraordinary contribution of individuals, this will be the first time that we hold a special graduation ceremony.”

The Jakes Gerwel Hall was lit up in purple as a tribute to the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who was the Chancellor of UWC for 25 years.
Prof Kwesi Kwaa Prah and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

Current Chancellor, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, said it was an auspicious occasion: “This group of honourees are just amazing South Africans…we focus so much on the challenges we face as a country and easily slip into negativity, and here we have these beautiful, hard working, selfless individuals who inspire hope, and we must say well done, good and faithful servant.”

Celebrated author, Professor Zoë Wicomb, said that this honorary doctorate is a special accolade for her: “I had already promised myself that I wasn’t going to accept another honorary doctorate in South Africa, but because I’m sentimental about UWC since this in many ways is where I grew up - in many ways, it's my home, so I can’t say no to coming here, and naturally I am thrilled”.

Former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel was one of the distinguished guests in attendance and was there in his capacity as Chair of the African Leadership Institute. The Institute's two co-founders, Sean Patrick Lance and Peter Wilson, were conferred gold medals for their work.

Manuel said: “When I saw the list of recipients of honorary doctorates, it was clear that this is a gallery of the great and the good.” He added: “What the University of the Western Cape is doing is to lift out good people…people who actually deserve an accolade, and they want to send out this message to celebrate our heroes.”

Theologian and political activist Allan Boesak shared that this honorary doctorate stands out amongst the many others he has received from across South Africa and the world. 

“The difference is that this one comes from this country, and it comes from UWC, so it is special because of my deep and intimate relationship with this institution, with its people and its students.” He said he’s walked a long path with the UWC community: “In those days (in the 1970s and 1980s) when people spoke about what it means to allow your faith to shape your understanding of justice and liberation - I learnt that here at UWC, and learnt so much from the young people of that generation at UWC.”
Guests at the ceremony included Ebrahim Rasool, a former Premier of the Western Cape and Former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel.
See gallery of the ceremony below. All images by Ruvan Boshoff (UWC Media)