Fort Hare honours 'one of its sons'

Theologian recognised for lifetime achievement.

University of Fort Hare honoured its own "son", the Reverend Dr Simon Gqubule, in East London yesterday for his lifetime of achievement in theology.

Gqubule, an alumnus of the university, received his honorary doctorate in theology during the graduation ceremony at Abbotsford Christian Centre yesterday. African Union Commission chairwoman and former health and home affairs minister Nkosazana DlaminiZuma would also be honoured with an honorary doctorate in administration by the university.

The ceremony will take place in Alice next week, when 2 839 students will graduate from UFH. Gqubule said it felt good to be honoured. "It means a lot for me to be recognised by UFH. It is important because this is where I first had university life. The university was quite small at the time and as its own son, it feels good to be honoured." According to UFH, Gqubule matriculated from the Healdtown Missionary Institution near Fort Beaufort in 1947 and qualified as a teacher at the same institution.

He taught New Testament and systematic theology at the Lovedale United Theological School and UFH. During this period he was part of the team that prepared for the establishment of the Federal Theological Seminary at Alice in 1963. He was the only black member of the teaching staff of the seminary and taught Greek, New Testament and systematic theology.

In 1980, the university said, Gqubule was a visiting professor at the Toronto University School of Theology in Canada and a decade later he was a visiting lecturer at the Wesley College, Bristol, England.

At age 86, Gqubule, a qualified teacher, still plays a role in education. He bragged about Ilitha Lemfundo, a private initiative in which he is involved that offers Saturday classes to grade 10, 11 and 12 pupils in Uitenhage. "Last year, we obtained a 100% pass rate. This year we have about 85 pupils and 30 teachers assisting in all subjects other than Xhosa, Afrikaans and biblical studies. "We don't get funding from government."

The proud father of three - Duma, Thandie and Phumla who are professionals in their own right, said his late wife Miriam "Jay" Mazibuko whom he married in 1960, was also a graduate of UFH. "We also graduated at Edinburgh University in Scotland. She passed on three years ago." Gqubule is a the first black president of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and had been honoured by Rhodes University and the University of South Africa (Unisa).

In a prepared speech he delivered in front of more than 800 graduates yesterday, Gqubule said government needed to train teachers, provide learning and teaching materials. He said using mother-tongue instructions was impractical, referring to government's move to introduce mother-tongue policy in schools.

UFH vice-chancellor Dr Mvuyo Tom said Gqubule was an excellent alumni of the university. "Even in retirement, he is contributing to society and that is a kind of alumni this university produces," Tom said. —

Caption: GOLDEN ALUMNI: Or Simon Gqubule delivers his address after he was awarded with a honorary doctorate in theology by the University of Fort Hare at the Abbotsford Christian Centre yesterday. Picture by: SINO MAJANGAZA


Article Source: DAILY DISPATCH


Source:  Daily Dispatch

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