VUT Honours The Champions
Every year, the VUT recognises people who add value in changing their communities in their respective ways. During the 2012 spring graduations, honorary degrees were conferred on those who contributed tremendously in areas such as education and health as well as the eradication of joblessness and poverty.
The people being honoured were Dr Gary Immelman, CEO: Med International; Dr Barnabas Lekganyane, Bishop: Zion Christian Church (ZCC) and Dr Frank Mohapi (Post Humus). On the morning of 12 September, the ZCC choir marched around campus and blew their trumpets - signifying that the Bishop had arrived. This was one of the highlights and the audience enjoyed the astounding performance, especially the VUT students who belong to the same denomination.
The above-mentioned champions have confronted issues that impact people’s daily lives and continue to challenge our government on a national level. Below are brief extracts of the contributions of each of these legends:
Dr Gary Immelman
He has been a longstanding friend of the institution since its inception as the Vaal Triangle Technikon. He donated R100 000.00 towards the building fund for the New Technology Station building in support of what was being achieved. In response to receipt of the honorary degree, this is what he had to say: “.....
Dr Barnabas Lekganyane
Like his predecessors, he saw the importance of education and on top of the Kgotso Bursary Fund which was established by his late father, he established the Bishop Edward Lekganyane Bursary Fund. The fund is highly unique in that it considers people from disadvantaged backgrounds. In 1995, the Bishop initiated the construction of the Evelyn Lekganyane clinic, a health center named after his mother. The clinic caters for 400 out-patients and serves the entire community, not only members of the ZCC. The Bishop also initiated the skills training program through the Kganya Group and skills such as bricklaying, welding, electrician, sewing, plumbing and many more are being taught. Recent statistics indicate that over 60% of former illiterate people who received training are now able to earn a living and have created several jobs, thereby contributing significantly towards poverty eradication. He expressed his appreciation for receiving such an honour from the VUT and said: “Good science and technology education is crucial for South Africa’s future innovation. The humanities are important for understanding some of the difficult challenges the country faces such as transformation, violence, corruption, education, service delivery, innovation, the gap between the rich and poor and the issue of race.”
Dr Frank Mohapi (Post Humus)
He was a political activist and regarded the Vaal area as his second home as he frequently recharged his ‘political batteries’ whenever he visited his cousin, the late Dr Mokhesi in Sharpeville as well as relatives from his mother’s side, the Mahabanes in Evaton. During his visits, Dr Mokhesi connected Mapetla to local political activists so as to keep the torch of the liberation struggle burning. The Sharpeville shootings of 21 March 1961, played a prominent role in the young Mapetla’s political development as he, at that very young age, decided to fight for the liberation and emancipation of black people. His daughter, on behalf of the family, accepted the honorary degree and said: “I wish to say to you, my fellow countrymen, political freedom has been achieved and with the same discipline, vision, commitment and education that drove our fathers, economic freedom can be achieved.”
It was an honour for the VUT to confer these prestigious honorary degrees on leaders of such stature.
VUT honors - Prof Riana van der Bank, Dean: Faculty of Human Sciences and Dr Barnabas Lekganyane, Bishop: Zion Christian Church(ZCC)
VUT honors - Prof Riana van der Bank, Dean: Faculty of Human Science and Ms Motheba Mohapi, daughter of Dr Frank Mohapi(Post Humus)
VUT honors - Dr Gary Immelman, CEO: Med International