21 June 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin | Photo Tania Allen
Jerry Mofokeng, Prof Francis Petersen and Prof Nico Luwes
Dr Jerry Mofokeng Wa Makhetha, Prof Francis Petersen and Prof Nico Luwes at a luncheon hosted by the UFS Chancellor, Dr Khotso Mokhele.

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Dr Jerrry Mofokeng Wa Makhetha received an honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) degree for his commitment to scholarship and his service to humanity, from the University of the Free State (UFS) on 28 June 2019, during the second last ceremony of the 2019 June Graduations.

“This award will bring credit and honour to the university and endorse his exceptional dedication to the promotion of art, the values and reputation he exhibited in his outstanding career as both a creative artist and as an arts manager,” says Prof Nico Luwes, Head of the UFS Department of Drama and Theatre Arts

Fugard’s The Island a ‘thank you’

For this exceptional honour, Dr Mofokeng, together with Master’s student Charl Henning, agreed to direct and produce Athol Fugard’s play The Island for the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts. “As a sign of goodwill from his side, he decided to offer his talents and direct the play with our department,” says Prof Luwes. 

“Is there a way of linking the theme of The Island with the ethos of the UFS? For me the one aspect that stands out, is the celebration of languages,” says Dr Mofokeng. The play is in the three primary languages of the Free State: English, Sesotho and Afrikaans. Only graduates from the department will be cast, which according to Mofokeng, will “give a professional credence to the training of the department”. 

The play was performed on 27 June 2019 in the Scaena Theatre on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus, and on 1,2 and 6 July 2019 during the Free State Arts Festival also in the kykNet-Scaena Theatre.

Acclaimed actor, academic and writer 

Dr Mofokeng is a world-renowned, respected television and theatre actor. He is also a film writer, academic, and National Arts Administrator. He studied drama at the University of the Witwatersrand and obtained a Master’s Degree in theatre directing at Columbia University in the US. Mofokeng has also starred in a slew of movies and television shows   most notably in the 2005 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Film, Tsotsi. He is currently appearing  on the small screen as Neo Mokgethi (Bra Moscow) in e.tv’s Scandal. 

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