Stellenbosch University (SU) awarded a record number of 2922 degrees during the March graduation and concluded the week's celebrations by conferring honorary doctorates upon Prof Kofi Agawu and Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa during Friday's (17 March) graduation ceremony.
The Chancellor's Reception, a special function for the recipients of doctorates and honorary doctorates, was held that afternoon at the Wallenberg Research Centre at STIAS.
"As I said at our last graduation ceremony this morning, we have set a new record again with 278 doctoral degrees for the 2016 academic year – 140 this week, and 138 in December last year," Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor at SU, said at the event, and congratulated the recipients of the doctoral degrees. "I want to thank those who have stood by you through thick and thin. Spouses and loved ones and parents and children and other family members and friends - many of whom are here today. Thank you for your support."
The degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), honoris causa, was awarded to Prof Kofi Agawu for his internationally acclaimed contribution to musicology and his ground-breaking research on African music.
Watch the video of Prof Agawu receiving his honorary degree here:
"Music in Africa has a distinguished history of speaking truth to power," said Prof Stephanus Muller during his toast to Agawu's achievements. "It continues to do so in the everyday lives of many in our country and on our continent. Throughout a career spent in the most prestigious universities worldwide, Professor Agawu has done more than any other scholar of African music to interrogate tired positions, to dismantle offensive stereotypes and to reposition musical discourse about African music in a critically probing and intellectually rigorous way."
Prof Agawu thanked his colleagues, wife, teachers and students for their support, and referenced a Ghanaian saying which he said has shaped his life, which translates to "the time that you are living in, its thing is what is done".
"When I arrived in my hotel yesterday, I found a beautiful handwritten message from Prof Wim de Villiers, highlighting our mutual investments in the local and the global," he concluded. "I very much look forward to continued association with the University. Thank you once again for bestowing this great honour on me."
Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa received the degree Doctor of Commerce (DComm), honoris causa, for her role in developing academically sound economic policies for Rwanda, for her contribution in creating world-class institutions and for her actions to establish women as key players in the African economy. Among other roles, Nsanzabaganwa has acted as minister of trade and industry in Rwanda and deputy governor of the Rwandese National Bank.
Watch the video of Dr Nsanzabaganwa receiving her degree here:
"Contrary to an alarming trend of our age, Monique does not believe in alternative facts, or in sidestepping responsibility," said prof Stan du Plessis, who proposed the toast to Nsanzabaganwa. "When you speak to her about her decisions as a minister and as a deputy governor, she continuously emphasises accountability and clear leadership, which allows for the emergence of responsible citizenship."
"Rwanda, which once qualified as a failed state, has managed to rise out of the genocide ashes and prospered," said Nsanzabaganwa."At an occasion like this, I feel very humbled. I dedicate this honorary doctorate of commerce to those who aspire and work hard to make Africa and Africans reach their full economic potential."