A Great Day Dawns For VUT
This was no ordinary day, as we entered the gates of the Vaal University of Technology on the morning of 15 September 2011. There was an air of anticipation as honorary degrees were to be conferred upon two of South African’s leading icons. There was a buzz of activity as the final touches were put into place. People soon started gathering in the Desmond Tutu Great Hall to witness this momentous occasion.
VIP’s arrived and joined the procession as they entered the hall. The congregation stood to honour the guests and looked on with such pride to b part of this exciting event.
This year’s Spring Graduations at the Vaal University of Technology saw South African music icon, Mr Hugh Masekela being conferred with an Honorary Doctorate degree in Humanities, alongside Dr Manfred Siegfried Johannes, President of the South African Institute of Non-Destructive Testing who will be a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate degree in Non-Destructive Testing (Faculty of Applied & Computer Sciences). These special awards are aimed at honouring them for their sustained and lifetime contributions to academia and the performing arts. Guests at this jubilant event included VUT management, staff, students, members of the media, VIP’s and all other stakeholders.
His biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world, who the people of Africa really are.
Mr Hugh Ramopolo Masekela hailed from Witbank,South Africa. From age 14, when he was given a trumpet by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, that started Mr Masekela’s interest in music. He has since sustained a lifetime contribution to the Performing Arts, from the formation of the first African Jazz group, the Epistles to his recent acceptance of the National Order of Ikamanga in Gold Award by President Jacob Zuma. Masekela travelled with the first troupe of the King Kong musical in the late fifties. He established the Botswana International School of Music in 1981 and has become known as a fearless, creative and restless performer deeply engaged with the issues of the day whilst continuously exploring new musical adventures and never losing tack of his roots.
In nominating him for the Honorary Doctorate, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Irene Moutlana said, “The life story and musical career of Mr Hugh Masekela should be an inspiration to all youth, particularly black youth, that determination can catapult one form the dusty streets of black townships to an international icon. He has been a remarkable ambassador of the African continent and a fierce advocate for Human Rights and Democracy.”
Dr Johannes’ expertise has enabled VUT to be one of the leading institutions in the area of Physics and Non-destructive Testing. As a chief member of the external review panel for Non-destructive Testing and member of the Non-destructive Testing Advisory Board, he provided the university with precious counsel and assistance as VUT upgraded facilities for Non Destructive Testing. The many workshops that he has conducted over the years have been invaluable in lifting the profile of this discipline within the institution.
When VUT became a University of Technology, Dr Johannes helped us to put our Non-Destructive Testing and Physics Departments on a firm footing to the point that it is one of our strong research focus areas today. He led the VUT External Review Panel for NDT in 2010; and as a member of the NDT Advisory Board he has enabled us to strengthen our laboratory practices as well as our NDT programme.
Through his advocacy amongst employers, our WiL (Work-Integrated Learning) programme in NDT has become one of the best in the country. We are proud of his achievements and the contributions he has made to our University in Physics and Non-Destructive Testing.
Dr Hugh Ramopolo Masekela and Prof Rianna van der Bank
Manfred Johannes and Prof Raymond Mabuza