Rhodes University mourns the passing of its honorary doctorate recipient and struggle icon, Dr Frene Ginwala

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Rhodes University honorary doctorate recipient, Dr Frene Ginwala. Picture credit: Johnny Onverwacht.
Rhodes University honorary doctorate recipient, Dr Frene Ginwala. Picture credit: Johnny Onverwacht.

The Rhodes University community is saddened by the passing of one of its honorary doctorate recipients and the first Speaker of the National Assembly in the democratic South Africa, Dr Frene Ginwala. Dr Ginwala died on Thursday following a stroke.

She was honoured with a doctorate by the University in 1996 in recognition and celebration of her long and sustained contribution to the struggle against Apartheid. She contributed to the drafting of a new electoral law and the establishment of the Independent Electoral Commission.

Dr Ginwala served in the Constitutional Assembly and was instrumental in developing provisions on the role and independence of Parliament. She was elected Speaker in 1994.

“We owe enormous gratitude and appreciation to Dr Ginwala for the selfless sacrifices and outstanding contribution she has made throughout her life. She was an embodiment of selflessness and a true patriot, freedom fighter and gender activist. She played a pivotal role in the inclusion of non-sexism as a founding value in our Constitution and the commitment to gender equality enshrined in the Bill of Rights. She was indeed a gallant freedom fighter, and we pay homage to her,” said Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sizwe Mabizela.

Dr. Ginwala received several national and international awards in her lifetime, including the global award for outstanding contribution to the promotion of human rights and democracy (Priyadarshni Academy, India, 2002); the North- South prize (the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe,2003); the Grande Officer de L’Ordre National Cote Ivoire (1998); and the Order of Luthuli (2005). She has also been awarded honorary degrees from several other universities: the University of Cape Coast, Ghana; the University of Cape Town; the University of the Western Cape; the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the University of South Africa.

“On behalf of Rhodes University Council, Chancellor Justice Lex Mpati, Board of Governors, and the university community at large, we send our deepest condolences to the Ginwala family, friends and former colleagues. May her soul rest in eternal peace,” concluded Professor Mabizela.