By Adrienne Carlisle
They are renowned performance poet Linton Kwesi Johnson; human rights campaigners Dr Sheila Sisulu and Dr Barney Pityana; artist Dr Penny Siopis and philanthropist Dr Marguerite Barankitse.
They will be honoured at the university’s graduation ceremonies next week.
Rhodes University will also award a total of 2443 degrees and diplomas over six ceremonies.
Of these, 1327 (54%) are undergraduate bachelor’s degrees and 1116 (46%) postgraduate degrees and diplomas. Just under 300 masters degrees and 78 doctorates will be awarded.
The faculty of science, the third largest in the university, has produced 31 PhDs this year, university spokeswoman Veliswa Mhlope said.
The faculty of humanities celebrates a record of 26 PhDs, up from last year’s 19. In a first for the university, a record 60% of the graduates are women.
The School of African Languages will have its first PhD with a thesis written in Xhosa this year. Also for the first time, they have six PhD students graduating.
Johnson will receive a doctor of literature (DLitt) degree.
He is considered one of the world’s foremost black poets, innovators and educators whose career in reggae and slam poetry spanned four decades.
Sisulu is being honoured for her role in promoting food security for vulnerable communities across the world.
She also committed her youth and adulthood to fighting oppression with a special focus on education, said the university.
Vryberg born artist, Siopis’s work has been studied and referenced worldwide and sold for impressive figures. Her work continually engages with the shifting social and political situations in South Africa.
Pityana, a human rights and anti-apartheid campaigner, is being honoured for his vocal role in South Africa’s fight for democracy.
Barankitse is being honoured for dedicating her life to providing a home to Burundian children orphaned in the horror civil war which ravaged the country.
Rhodes University will confer honorary doctorates on five world game-changers.
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