Stellenbosch University
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SU to honour outstanding individuals
Author: Corporate Communication and Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking
Published: 05/10/2020

​​​​​​Stellenbosch University (SU) will confer honorary doctorates upon six outstanding individuals who have made valuable contributions in the fields of medicine, literature, the performing arts, business, science, education and community development.

Their tireless commitment and extraordinary efforts to make a positive difference in people's lives resonate strongly with SU's vision of amongst others being globally recognised as excellent, inclusive and innovative and where knowledge is advanced in service of society.

The recipients are the Rwandan paediatrician, Prof Agnes Binagwaho; the CEO of Artscape and activist for the empowerment of disadvantaged groups, Dr Marlene le Roux; the Group Chief Executive Officer of Women Investment Portfolio Holdings and champion of empowering women, Ms Louisa Mojela; the mathematician and scientific leader of international repute, Prof Daya Reddy; the author and recipient of numerous international literary awards, Prof Marlene van Niekerk; and the Chairperson of Umalusi and transformation educationist, Prof John David Volmink.

Binagwaho is to receive the Degree Doctor of Science (DSc) (Medicine and Health Sciences), honoris causa; Le Roux the Degree Doctor of Education (DEd), 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, while Volmink will receive the Degree Doctor of Education (DEd), honoris causa.

SU's honorary doctorates are a way of acknowledging the remarkable work of individuals who are regarded as role models and an inspiration to Stellenbosch graduates.

The honorary doctorates will be conferred in 2021.


More about the recipients.

Prof Agnes Binagwaho is a Rwandan paediatrician who has made remarkable contributions to improving the health and well-being of people in Rwanda and in the rest of Africa. A former Minister of Health, Binagwaho has been at the forefront of the battle against HIV/AIDS and HPV – the human papilloma virus that causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. She has held key advisory positions at the World Health Organisation and the United Nations. Her passion for health equity contributed to the establishment of the University of Global Health Equity, the first of its kind in Africa.

Born in Wellington in the Western Cape, Dr Marlene le Roux has been steadfast in empowering and supporting disadvantaged groups in finding fulfilling careers in the arts. Her 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. She joined Artscape in 2001 as the Director of Audience Development and Education and became a driving force behind Artscape's festivals, which were developed to address current issues and needs for educators, professional artists, medical practitioners and learners.

Louisa Mojela is a well-known figure in corporate South Africa having been a co-founder and long-time Group chief executive officer of Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (WIPHOLD), a company dedicated to the empowerment of women and the creation of development opportunities. Under her leadership, WIPHOLD grew to be the country's premier black women-owned and managed investment company with billions invested across a wide array of industries. More than 200 000 black women are beneficiaries who hold a direct share of 33,6% in the holding company via WIPHOLD Investment Trust and WIPHOLD NGO Trust.

A mathematician and scientific leader of international repute, Prof Daya Reddy has made outstanding contributions to the development, advancement and impact of science in South Africa and globally. As a NRF A-rated scientist, he has reached the pinnacle of his academic career and continues to play a pivotal role in the development of students in the research field of computational and applied mechanics. Through his membership and leadership of several prestigious local and international science academies, he is making a sustained contribution to strengthening the global scientific enterprise.

Prof Marlene van Niekerk has had an immense impact on the Afrikaans literature and literary landscape not only through her own writings, but also through educating well-known authors and winners of literary awards. An extremely productive author, Van Niekerk won 20 local and international awards and prizes with her brilliant novel Agaat translated into seven languages and shortlisted for four international literary awards. In 2011, she received the National Order of Ikhamanga (silver) in recognition of her “outstanding intellectual contribution to the field of literary arts and culture through poetry, literature and philosophical works."

Through his exceptional leadership skills, Prof John David Volmink has made an outstanding contribution to education, in particular, to curriculum reform, the advancement of mathematics education and the quality assurance of schooling in post-apartheid South Africa. Every post-apartheid minister of education requested him to play a leading role in the transformation of education. In addition to serving as chairperson of Umalusi, the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, and various Ministerial Task Teams, Volmink has been instrumental in the establishment of NGOs that help with development and transformation in different parts of the world.