Tandabantu August receives honorary degree for championing the rights of people and learners with disabilities, and education excellence

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Mr August will receive his doctorate (honoris causa) on 05 April 2024 during the 09:30 Rhodes University graduation ceremony
Mr August will receive his doctorate (honoris causa) on 05 April 2024 during the 09:30 Rhodes University graduation ceremony

By The Division of Communication and Advancement


Rhodes University has proudly announced its decision to bestow upon Mr. Tandabantu Tennyson August the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD). This prestigious accolade is in recognition of his indomitable spirit, resilience, and unwavering commitment to transforming the lives of numerous young individuals in the Eastern Cape. Mr. August’s journey is a beacon of hope and inspiration, reflecting his exceptional ability to lead and foster change against all odds.

Born in South Africa on 31 December 1948, Mr. August’s early life was shaped by his education at Healdtown High School, followed by his pursuit of higher education where he attained a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Transkei, majoring in English and Geography. His quest for knowledge didn’t stop there; he furthered his studies at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Comparative Curriculum Studies, alongside obtaining teaching certificates from Lovedale and Cicira teacher training colleges, with majors in Physical Science, Mathematics, Science, and Mathematics. This solid educational foundation laid the groundwork for his impactful career in education.

In the realm of sports, Mr. August distinguished himself early on. As a student at Lovedale College, he was selected to represent the Border Rugby Union and the South African Rugby Board (SAARB), even competing against the England Rugby

Union in 1972 at Wolfson Stadium, Gqeberha. This sporting prowess paralleled his professional achievements in education, where he began his career as an Assistant Teacher in 1972 at Wongalethu Secondary School, Mdantsane. He became a Principal at the following Schools: Thanga High and Ndamase High Schools. Under his leadership, schools like Ndamase High School consistently achieved over a 90% pass rate in matriculation exams.

His career trajectory showcases a remarkable resilience and dedication to education.

Despite a debilitating car accident in 1981 that left him physically challenged, Mr. August continued to excel professionally. He transitioned from principal positions to significant administrative roles within the Eastern Cape Education Department, ultimately serving as a Deputy Chief Education Specialist in Curriculum Development at the Provincial Head Office and as a Chief Education Specialist in Human Resource Development at Rhubusana District Office, BCM. Notably, his work extended beyond conventional education frameworks to include significant contributions to the welfare of disabled individuals, a testament to his advocacy and commitment to inclusivity.

Mr. August’s influence extends into various leadership roles in organisations dedicated to the advancement of special education and the support of individuals with disabilities.

As a chairperson for the South African National Association for Special Education (SANASE) and eventually became National Deputy President of SANASE. He is currently an executive member of the Eastern Cape Education Advisory Council (ECEAC), his efforts have been instrumental in shaping policies and practices that enhance the educational landscape for all learners.

His lifetime of achievements has been acknowledged through several awards, including a provincial teaching award of excellence, the 17th Prof Kader Asmal Annual National Teaching Award of Excellence in Teaching, a Certificate of Achievement in the field of rugby, and the MEC Nonceba Kontsiwe (DSRAC) Achievers Award. These accolades underscore his multifaceted contributions to education, sports, and advocacy for the disabled.

Rhodes University’s decision to honour Mr. August with an honorary Doctor of Laws is a fitting tribute to a life dedicated to service, leadership, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. His story is not just one of personal triumph but a reminder of the power of determination, leadership, and the profound impact one individual can have on the lives of many. Mr. August’s legacy is a lasting inspiration, and this honorary degree is a recognition of his significant contributions to society, education, and the lives of the disabled in the Eastern Cape and beyond.

Mr. August will receive his doctorate (honoris causa) on 05 April 2024 during the 09:30 Rhodes University graduation ceremony.