Honorary Degrees 2010

The following honorary degrees were awarded:

December 2010

Watch this video clip featuring brief interviews with each of the recipients.

Judge Navi Pillay

Born in Durban, Judge Navi Pillay graduated from the University of Natal with a BA in 1963 and an LLB in 1965. She earned a master's law degree in 1982 and a doctorate in juridical science in 1988 from Harvard University. She practised as an attorney from 1967, defending many anti-apartheid activists and trade unionists.

She would become the first woman to open a law practice in Natal, and the first black woman and the first attorney to be appointed as an acting judge of the High Court of South Africa. In 2008 she was named as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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Baroness Lynda Chalker

Baroness Lynda Chalker, a British Conservative politician, was a member of parliament in the United Kingdom from 1974 to 1992. She became a life peer in 1992. As a trustee of the UCT Trust in the United Kingdom, she has supported needy black students.

Chalker founded the Chalker Foundation for Africa, which supports medical knowledge and training in Africa. She is also chairperson of the board of the Medicines for Malaria Venture, founder and chairperson of Africa Matters Limited, and a founder board member of the Nelson Mandela Legacy Trust.

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Sir Anthony Sher

An acclaimed actor, writer and director, Sir Antony Sher was born and raised in South Africa. He moved to London in 1968, studied at the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982. His performance in the title role of Richard III in 1984 earned him an Olivier Award for best actor.

Sher has penned fiction and non-fiction, as well as a number of plays. He continues to direct and perform at Cape Town's Baxter Theatre Centre, presenting master classes and writing on gay identity. In 2007 he produced the Channel 4 documentary Murder Most Foul on the murder of actor Brett Goldin in Cape Town.

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Janet Suzman

Janet Suzman boasts a distinguished career as actor and director in theatre, film and television. Born in Johannesburg, she was educated at Kingsmead College and Wits University.

A vocal opponent of apartheid, she moved to England in 1959, studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), of which she is now vice-president.

Celebrated in the UK, she maintains her links with South Africa, regularly performing, directing and producing works here, including Othello, The Good Women of Sharkville, The Cherry Orchard and Hamlet. Her most recent South African play, The Dream of the Dog, opened to rave reviews at the Finborough Theatre, London, in April 2010.

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UCT awarded five honorary doctorates in June 2010.

Tito Mboweni

Tito Mboweni was awarded an honorary doctorate in economic science. A strong African National Congress (ANC) activist and leader, Mboweni served as the deputy head of the Department of Economic Policy in the party. He was chairperson of the National Executive Committee's Economic Transformation Committee, which co-ordinated the development of the ANC's economic policies.

In 1997, Mboweni was made head of the ANC's Policy Department. In May 1994 he was appointed the Minister of Labour in President Mandela's cabinet, a position he held until July 1998. Mboweni served as governor of the South African Reserve Bank from 1999 to 2009.

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Professor Jerry Coovadia

Professor Jerry Coovadia was awarded an honorary degree in medicine. He is a world-renowned expert in child health and disease, and a leader in the struggle for a democratic South Africa. He is both a national and an international figure in paediatric medicine, and a world authority in the field of HIV/AIDS.

He has dedicated himself to the development of research by supervising over 40 postgraduate students, as well as teaching in the medical, nursing and allied health professions for over 20 years.

Coovadia received the Star of South Africa from former President Nelson Mandela for his contribution to democracy.

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Peter Magubane

Photographer Peter Magubane received an honorary doctorate in literature. Magubane photographed the unfolding story of South Africa's liberation over 50 years. He covered many important political events in the 1950s, including the treason trials and demonstrations against the pass laws.

He documented the Soweto student uprisings from June to August of 1976. Coverage of the uprisings earned him worldwide acclaim and led to international photographic and journalistic awards, including the Luthuli Award and the Order for Meritorious Service from former President Nelson Mandela.

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Victor Ritchie

Victor Ritchie received an honorary degree in education. He played a principled role as an educator and leader who successfully resisted the imposition of racially segregated and inferior education during the apartheid era.

A UCT alumnus he began a teaching career of 33 years at Harold Cressy High School where he and his colleagues promoted principles, values and educational practices that were critical in establishing the school as a 'professional learning centre'. He was formally appointed principal in 1969.Under his leadership, Harold Cressy High School became a premier high school for people of colour, and an outstanding school overall. It also became one of the most important feeder schools to UCT.

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David Lewis

David Lewis was awarded an honorary doctorate in economic science. A unionist and academic, his life's work has focused on serving to uplift the poor and marginalised, addressing social issues and broad-based economic development.

Lewis served as general secretary of the General Workers Union between 1975 and 1985, and then as national organiser of the goods transport section of the Transport and General Workers Union until 1990. He worked as an academic at UCT from 1990 to 2000, teaching and publishing with distinction.

He was a founder and director of the Development Policy Research Unit – a major research unit still in existence at UCT – and a director of the Industrial Strategy Project.

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