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Honoured for advancing African knowledge systems

The Unisa Council recently conferred honorary degrees on Moloko John Mashamaite (Doctor in African Languages, honoris causa) and Reverend Daniel Lekota (Doctor of Theology, honoris causa).

Mashamaite was recognised for his sustained career in broadcasting, during which he has contributed to the simultaneous growth, recognition and intentional preservation of African languages, especially Northern Sotho. In addition, in appreciable ways, he has significantly contributed to the promotion of indigenous cultures, such as traditional weddings, and the enhancement of African heritage through songs. In his stellar broadcasting career, Mashamaite has benchmarked excellence in the African language Northern Sotho in the entertainment and broadcasting industry. On the back of such an immense contribution to the vibrant growth of African languages in broadcasting, the Unisa Council, at its meeting of 1 July 2021, resolved to confer the honorary degree in African languages on Mashamaite.

From left to right: Moloko Mashamaite, HE Thabo Mbeki, Rev Daniel Lekota and Prof Puleng LenkaBula

Lekota was honoured for his mission to recruit preachers from different denominations, and for holding workshops and consistently giving opportunities to independent African churches. In addition, he instilled quality assurance before disc jockeys and presenters of Lesedi FM went on air. He distinguished himself by negotiating peace between rival Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates supporters. He conducted the coronation service of King Letsie III on 31 October 1997. Among other notable services he has rendered, the current Prime Minister of Lesotho visited Lekota requesting prayer and for him to bestow the blessing of peace upon the mountain kingdom that was, at that time, mired in violence between politicised military factions. In the mid-1990s, Lekota also negotiated peace between warring taxi operators in QwaQwa, and, in 2015, he visited Israel on a religious fact-finding mission. He was also appointed as an intervention officer by the Free State provincial government to advise the government and to intervene when tensions arise between the government and the people. At its sitting of 21 July 2021, the Unisa Council favourably considered these illustrious interventions and unanimously agreed to confer the distinct honour on Lekota.

Professor Puleng LenkaBula, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said that Mashamaite and Lekota are good citizens who have ensured that in their leadership they create African knowledge systems and Africa socio-religious systems and their relevance in the transformation of society. She also encouraged the youth to take into cognisance the lessons learnt through Mashamaite and Lekota.

These honorary degrees entrench the mission, vision and values of Unisa. Mashamaite and Lekota are worthy of Unisa’s cause considering the impact of their lifelong contributions and accomplishments in society.

*By Tshimangadzo Mphaphuli, Senior Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2021/12/03