Stellenbosch University (SU) will award approximately 5 500 qualifications during its December graduation series, which will run from 5–9 December. Graduation is a highlight on the University's academic calendar, and 13 ceremonies will be hosted at the Coetzenburg centre from 5 to 9 December.
SU will also award honorary doctorates to a number of individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their respective fields.
Prof Ernest Aryeetey will be awarded the degree Doctor of Commerce (DCom), honoris causa. The former vice-chancellor of the University of Ghana, Aryeetey is the founding secretary-general of the African Research Universities Alliance, a network of universities that focus on building research capacity on the continent.
The degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil), honoris causa, will be awarded to Ms Zubeida Jaffer, an award-winning South African journalist, author and activist. Jaffer started her career at the Cape Times daily newspaper in 1980 and went on to help develop local community newspapers during the time of resistance to apartheid.
Mr Strive Masiyiwa, the founder and executive chairman of the South African-based, diversified international telecommunications group Econet Global Ltd, will be awarded the degree Doctor of Engineering (DEng), honoris causa. He is considered one of the pioneers of the mobile telecoms industry in Africa.
The degree Doctor of Science in Agriculture (DScAgric), honoris causa, will be awarded to Mr Thomas Dreyer (Tommie) van Zyl. He has been at the helm of the innovative ZZ2 farming enterprise and fresh-produce company for more than 20 years. The company is a significant job creator and contributor to socioeconomic development in South Africa.
Prof Agnes Binagwaho, a Rwandan paediatrician, has made remarkable contributions to improving the health and wellbeing of people in Rwanda and in the rest of Africa. She will receive the degree Doctor of Science (DSc) (Medicine and Health Sciences), honoris causa. It will be conferred in absentia.
Psychiatrist and mental health expert Prof Vikram Patel will be awarded the degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil), honoris causa. He is a leading figure in the global mental health movement and a key contributor to the promotion of mental health and the prevention of mental disorders in low and middle-income countries.
“Live by our values"
SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers congratulated the graduands in advance and assured them that a qualification from SU would open doors for them, no matter where in the world they find themselves.
“Despite our challenging year, our international reputation is more than intact. We've built strong networks and purposeful partnerships, and the international community is keen to see what impact our graduates will have," he said.
Reflecting on the Covid-stricken 2020 and 2021, De Villiers said SU had managed to complete those challenging academic years because of the agility and can-do spirit of staff and students. “And in 2022, we have been able to go even further. Our staff and students across the academic spectrum have proved that SU nurtures and advances innovation," he said.
“This is not to say we didn't face significant challenges. The unfortunate incidents at our university have forced us to reflect on what it truly means to be an inclusive institution. But reflection also requires action, and we will do everything necessary to ensure that SU is a place where everyone feels welcome and heard."
He encouraged the graduands to “continue to live by SU's values of excellence, compassion, equity, respect and accountability".