16 April 2021 | Story Dr Cindé Greyling

The University of the Free State (UFS) is looking forward to awarding three honorary doctorates during our April 2021 Virtual Graduation ceremonies. This event will span four days from 19 to 22 April 2021 across our three campuses. 

Be inspired

The UFS will be awarding a Doctor of Letters to Dr Dolf van Niekerk, a Doctor of Philosophy to Dr Sipho Pityana, and a Doctor of Laws to Justice Zak Yacoob.

Honorary degrees are awarded to individuals to recognise their exceptional contributions to society, or lifetime achievement in their field. As always, the recipients inspire us with their resilience, commitment, and desire to make a difference. 

Dr Dolf  Van Niekerk

Dr Dolf van Niekerk has a rich past that has seen him grace the radio waves, bookshelves, and academic ranks. His work includes 27 books in the fields of philosophy, poetry, fiction, drama, and memoirs, for which he has received numerous awards. These include the Eugene Marais Prize, the MER Prize, and the Scheepers Award for Youth Literature. He was an emeritus professor at the University of Pretoria until his retirement in 1994.


Dr Sipho Pityana

Acclaimed business leader, Dr Sipho Pityana, has a passion for education that has seen him serve as Registrar of Fort Hare, Chairperson of NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme), and Chairperson of the University of Cape Town Council. He made his mark in several local and international institutions, including AngloGold Ashanti Limited, while also being the first Director-General of the Department of Labour in the Mandela government, among others. Dr Pityana continues to invest his time in Izingwe Capital and Izingwe Holdings, while chairing and/or serving on several boards and councils. 

Justice Zak Yacoob


As judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa from 1998 to 2013, Justice Zak Yacoob became nationally and internationally known for his contribution to the socio-economic rights jurisprudence of South Africa. Blinded at the age of 16 months after contracting meningitis, he matriculated at the Arthur Blaxall School for the Blind, completed an LLB at the University of Durban-Westville, and practised as an advocate for 25 years. Justice Yacoob advised in several committees and adjudicated in national and international tribunals. He also taught at law schools locally and abroad


We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.