On its graduation ceremony on 06 April 2022, Rhodes University will confer a degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) (honoris causa) on activist, politician, and author The Right Honourable Lord Hain of Neath.
Lord Hain’s honorary award will be presided over by the Vice-Chancellor of Robert Gordon University in Scotland, Professor Steve Olivier, who is an alumnus of Rhodes University.
Lord Hain was born and raised in South Africa and committed many years to the fight against apartheid. He was educated in South Africa at Hatfield Primary School and Pretoria Boys High School until he fled the country at the age of 16, after both his parents had been jailed for their activism work.
When forced into exile in 1966, the family relocated to London, England where Hain completed his schooling. His family history of anti-apartheid activism and dedication to serving others has been evident throughout his influential political life, which has spanned over 50 years.
Within a few years of settling in London, Hain became a leader of anti-Nazi leagues, as well as an anti-apartheid movement focused on stopping ‘all-white’ South African sports tours in the late sixties and early seventies. Not only did his campaigns draw global attention to the iniquitous system of apartheid, but they also led to the isolation of South African sport. Rugby and cricket tours of South African whites-only teams had to be cancelled and eventually stopped.
In 1972, a private prosecution resulted in Hain's conviction for criminal conspiracy at the Old Bailey for which he was fined £200. The prosecution was funded largely by apartheid-supporting whites in South Africa due to his campaign against white-only South African sports tours.
That same year, the South African Security Services were suspected of sending him a letter bomb that failed to explode because of faulty wiring.
Hain attended the University of London, graduating with a first-class bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science in 1973 and he later obtained an MPhil from the University of Sussex.
In 1976 Hain was tried for, and acquitted of, a 1975 bank theft, having been framed by the South African Bureau of State Security (BOSS).
Over the years, Lord Hain has served in the UK Parliament in numerous positions from the Opposition Whip in 1995, to a Shadow Welsh Secretary 2009 and Labour MP for Neath 2015.
Lord Hain has been involved in several instances of conflict resolution and negotiation including Northern Ireland, El Salvador, European Treaty, Middle East, United Nations, Gibraltar, Sri Lanka, and Africa.
Lord Hain also served in a number of structures outside of Parliament, including Modernisation of the House of Commons. He is a Vice-President of Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), Chairman of the Donald Woods Foundation charity, Patron of the Canon Collins Trust and a Trustee of the Listen Charity. He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Witwatersrand Business School in Johannesburg. Peter Hain prides himself as a Son of Africa, even though he spent his entire life in a foreign country in an anti-apartheid struggle, he never forgot his roots.
The Lord Peter Hain has been awarded one of the top honours in South Africa. In December 2015 he received the OR Tambo National Award in Silver for his excellent contribution to the freedom struggle.
He was recently involved in the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, giving testimony and exposing the money laundering before then Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo. He has used his position as a political leader in the UK to call for a ban on global institutions and companies that facilitated the State Capture in South Africa.
Lord Peter Hain is a renowned author of more than 20 books, articles and publications, including Mandela, Don't Play With Apartheid, Mistaken Identity: The Wrong Face of the Law and Sing the Beloved Country
“Our nation will remain eternally indebted to you for all your sacrifices in fighting against apartheid and for being a global voice of the voiceless majority in South Africa,” said Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sizwe Mabizela. “I am delighted that the Rhodes University community has seen it fit to honour your sustained and significant contributions by the award of an Honorary Doctorate and warmly congratulate you on this richly deserved recognition and notable achievement.”