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Rhodes confers Honorary Doctorate to Prof Peter Tshobisa Mtuze
Rhodes confers Honorary Doctorate to Prof Peter Tshobisa Mtuze
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Rhodes confers Honorary Doctorate to Prof Peter Tshobisa Mtuze

Date Released: Thu, 29 March 2018 10:18 +0200

One of this year’s celebrated Rhodes Honorary Doctorate recipients is poet, priest and academic Professor Emeritus Peter Tshobisa Mtuze, who will be bestowed with a Doctor of Letters (DLitt).

Professor Mtuze is a leading scholar in the field of African languages. He has published more than 30 creative and academic works in varying forms - novels, short stories, poetry, dramas, essays, autobiography, literary guides, translations, cultural and religious published academic papers.

All of these works interpret his life and work in the Eastern Cape Province as umXhosa living in a state of constant socio-political and economic transition. Prof Mtuze represents the very best of what our elders should be: honest; forthright; humble and committed to the greater good.

Born in Middelburg, Eastern Cape, Professor Mtuze has worked in many sectors from being a court interpreter in the old South Africa, to a radio announcer, a salesperson for a publishing company, a civil servant in the homeland government structures, an Editor in Chief of the Greater Dictionary of isiXhosa at Fort Hare.

He joined Rhodes University as Professor and Head of the isiXhosa Department, the first-ever black professor at the University. He is the best-known living isiXhosa author and for this reason; he has been a role model for many young people in South Africa.

Whilst working at Rhodes he received the Bertram’s VO/Skotaville literature award for the best collection of isiXhosa short stories submitted for the competition. His books have been widely used in the schooling system.

He has published books such as An Introduction to Xhosa Culture as well as The Essence of Xhosa Spirituality and more recently his autobiography, An Alternative Struggle.

Professor Mtuze obtained a BA in translation at Rhodes in 1980. This was followed by an Honours degree from UNISA in 1984 as well as an MA in 1986 in African Languages.

He holds two PhDs, one from UCT in African Languages and the other in Theology from UNISA. He is the man who translated Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom into isiXhosa.

Prof Mtuze has consistently broken new ground, as he was also the first Xhosa academic to write a feminist critique. This in itself shows the innovative nature of his research which has been published in many academic journals.

This has greatly enhanced the research visibility of Rhodes University in this field. More recently, PhD theses have been written about the life and work of Peter Mtuze.

He is presently Professor Emeritus and President of the Rhodes Convocation. He is an Anglican priest and canon in the Diocese of Grahamstown and is the rector (self-supporting) of the parish of St. Andrew Ginsberg and St. James Peddie. He is also the Archdeacon of East London, West.