Louis Molamu

In 2001, Professor Louis Molamu became one of Unisa’s first black academic registrars.

To the wider public, Professor Molamu is best known for Tsotsi-taal: A Dictionary of the Language of Sophiatown, published by Unisa in 2003. The book is widely acclaimed for its insights into the colourful, defiant world of Sophiatown, the legendary black cultural hub of the 1950s. Molamu himself had spent his early years in Sophiatown until the apartheid authorities destroyed the community, and his family was forcibly relocated to Soweto. After graduating from Fort Hare University College, Molamu went into exile in Britain and later Botswana. He completed his MSc in Sociology at Bradford University in England and in 1980, joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Botswana. Returning to South Africa in 1996, he occupied increasingly senior roles in Unisa’s Faculty of Social Sciences and in 2001, was appointed Registrar, a post which he occupied until his retirement in 2012.  In 2016 he published Degrees of Excellence, a tribute to the honorary graduates of Unisa, which reflects the university’s change of emphasis in the awarding of such degrees after 1994.