11 June 2024 | Story Dr Nitha Ramnath | Photo Vividimages Photography
HD Conferral for Dr Pumzile Mlambo
From left: Prof Vasu Reddy (Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation of the University of the Free State), Prof Francis Petersen (Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Free State), Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Prof Loyiso Jita (Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State).

The University of the Free State (UFS) conferred an Honorary Doctorate on Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Deputy President of South Africa, for her outstanding contributions to education, human rights, and gender equality.

Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy in Education (honoris causa) in recognition of her lifetime achievements, which have had a profound impact on the country and the world. The private ceremony was attended by close family, friends, and former colleagues.

The Honorary Doctorate is a prestigious award that recognises individuals who have made significant contributions to their field or society through their generous and altruistic actions. Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka's achievements are a testament to her dedication to promoting education, human rights, and gender equality.

In his congratulatory remarks, Prof Francis Petersen, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the UFS, praised Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka for her exceptional leadership qualities, which have inspired countless individuals across the country and globally. "We salute you for always exemplifying the kind of leadership qualities we need to take our country, our region, and our world forward," he said.

Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka was visibly moved by the honour bestowed upon her, expressing her gratitude to the University of the Free State for this prestigious award. "I am deeply grateful to the University of the Free State, and proud to be honoured by an institution of immense credibility and high standards by bestowing such an accolade on me," she said.

The timing of the award is particularly significant, given the recent historic elections in South Africa, which will have far-reaching implications for the country's future. Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka emphasised the importance of creating a government that addresses the nation's pressing problems, including inequality, insecurity, poverty, and gender inequality.

In his remarks, Prof Petersen also encouraged Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka to continue displaying her leadership qualities and making a positive impact wherever she goes. "As an educator and a leader, the influence and impact of someone like Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka extends far and wide," he said.

Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka used the opportunity to congratulate the University of the Free State on its transformation strides and expressed hope for an even brighter future. She also called on those who care about education to unite for better education and to address the gaps in education that still exist in South Africa.

“This opportunity to receive this honour is an encouragement for me to continue to avail myself for problem solving and to work for a better life in the communities, especially access to quality education which is a right for every citizen,” added Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka. 

The Honorary Doctorate is an inspiration to all who have been inspired by her work and leadership.

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