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DUT HONORARY DOCTORATE RECIPIENT DR GCINA MHLOPHE ENCOURAGES THE SPIRIT OF VUK’UZENZELE


The Durban University of Technology (DUT) 2024 Honorary Doctorate recipient, Dr Gcina Mhlophe encouraged the spirit of vuk’uzenzele (Get up and do it yourself), when she accepted the Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Visual and Performing Arts, which was conferred by the DUT Chancellor, Ms Nonkululeko Nyembezi. The world-renowned South African storyteller, author, poet, playwright, activist and actress, Dr Mhlophe was honoured for her exceptional contribution in the world of Arts by the Faculty of Arts and Design at the closing ceremony of the DUT 2024 Autumn Graduation at the Olive Convention Centre on Tuesday, 28 May 2024.


Dr Mhlophe (65), from Hammarsdale in KwaZulu-Natal, was humbled to be recongised by a university from her hometown while she was still in good health. This served as a motivation for her to continue making a positive impact and improving lives in the world of Arts. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust.


DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu, Dr Gcina Mhlophe and DUT Chancellor, Ms Nonkululeko Nyembezi.


Her powerful speech, which left guests and fellow graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Design inspired, was delivered on the eve of the national elections. Dr Mhlophe began by mentioning that she lived on ‘vitamin G’ which she stated was ‘vitamin Gratitude’.


“No matter how many awards one has received and how many world stages I have graced and had the privilege to raise the flag of my beautiful country South Africa, I know I must work harder, remain humble and give thanks for each one of these experiences. The many years of working with various educational institutions in South Africa and abroad have made it clear that my calling has been to contribute significantly in the spaces that highlight the power of arts in education,” shared Dr Mhlophe.

She further saluted DUT for arming future nation builders for success. Addressing the graduates at the ceremony, Dr Mhlophe urged them to not wait for others to do things for them, indicating that the ‘spirit of vuk’uzenzele’ must be inside them.


“For change to be delivered on a silver platter? It has never happened in any country or chapter in history. Ask the humble bumblebee, his small wings never stopped him from flying, so can you. I beg you, do not wait for a stroke of luck, hard work is the only way to reach your goals. You know that very well otherwise you will not be sitting here today. Lady luck never visits lazy bones. So, sharpen your senses and hear the moon whispering to you, don’t give up! Through self-love, self-respect and hard work, fight for your futures,” advised Dr Mhlophe who captured the guests through her poetic and melodic speech.


At this exciting ceremony the programme director was the charismatic Mr Alan Khan, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at DUT. He revealed that during the 2024 Autumn Graduation season, 6199 adaptive graduates walked the red carpet as DUT hosted 28 graduation ceremonies in Pietermaritzburg and Durban. This year, 61% of the DUT adaptive graduates were women which meant that the ladies dominated the graduate list. Mr Khan further indicated that DUT was honoured that a national treasure, Dr Gcina Mhlophe had accepted the university’s invitation to receive this prestigious award.

The DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu extended his heartfelt congratulations to Dr Gcina Mhlophe on behalf of the institution.


“Congratulations to Dr Gcina Mhlophe for this milestone, for the gift of life that God has given to her and to all of us who enjoy so much what she does,” said Professor Mthembu.

In celebration of Dr Mhlophe’s milestone, DUT hosted a Celebratory Graduation Dinner in her honour at the Radisson Blu Hotel at Umhlanga on Tuesday evening, 28 May 2024.

Pictured: Dr Gcina Mhlophe as she accepted her Honorary Doctorate at the DUT 2024 Autumn Graduation ceremony.


Photographer: Khulasande Tshayile.

Simangele Zuma


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