Acclaimed writer to receive honorary PhD from UFH
Graduation ceremony to honour man who helped finish Mandela’s memoir
Multi-award-winning SA poet, short story writer, novelist and cultural activist Mandla Langa will receive an honorary doctorate from his alma mater university, Fort Hare.
Langa will receive a doctor of philosophy in literature during the university’s spring graduation ceremony on Friday, where 426 degrees and diplomas, and 58 PhDs, will be conferred.
The graduation ceremony at the Alice campus will bring the number of PhDs conferred at the university to 102 this year.
After completing high school, Langa enrolled at Fort Hare, where he was actively involved in student politics.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy in 1972.
In 1976 he was arrested and imprisoned for 101 days for his involvement in politics.
After he was released in 1976, he went into exile and lived in different southern African countries, as well as in Hungary and the United Kingdom, where he continued to pen poetry while fulfilling his political duties.
While in exile, Langa obtained a journalism diploma.
Between 1987 and 1989, he published two of his poems, The Tenderness of Blood and A Rainbow on Paper Sky.
His novel, The Lost Colours of the Chameleon, won the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in the Africa region.
When Nelson Mandela died in December 2013, he had not finished the second part of his memoir, Long Walk to Freedom, and Langa was brought in to complete the sequel.
He used Mandela’s unfinished draft as well as notes that Mandela made, together with previously unseen archive material. Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years, was released last year.
Langa serves on the boards of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism and the Foundation for Global Dialogue and Business and Arts SA.
Ntombekhaya Nqumla, 31, from Matatiele, a full-time staff member at UFH, will receive her doctoral degree in biochemistry. An ecstatic Nqumla said: “It has not been an easy journey. I had to balance my job as a full-time staff member, which comes with a heavy workload, with the demands of my studies. I’m very proud of myself.”
She hopes her story will inspire other students to aspire towards post-graduate qualifications.
In May UFH conferred 44 PhDs, many of which were in education...