'Role model par excellence' - UCT vice-chancellor receives honorary degree from UK university

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UCT Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng. (Esa Alexander, Gallo Images)
UCT Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng. (Esa Alexander, Gallo Images)

UCT's vice-chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, has dedicated her honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Bristol to the people who contributed in one way or another to her life and career.

Addressing the hall of graduates, academics, friends and family on Monday, Phakeng acknowledged receipt of the honorary doctorate, but said there were people during her career who had contributed significantly to her reaching this point.

There was a special moment when Phakeng's 75-year-old-mother, who made the trip to the UK, got up and heaped praise on Phakeng as she was about to give her acceptance speech.

"This is what we do in our culture," Phakeng explained to the audience.

She said the award was a testament to people like her mother who "made me".

"I accept the award as recognition to the people who have made me who I am today.

"Keep the feeling of endless possibility alive as long as possible," she advised.

"Take your time, work hard, seek good advice, and give thanks for the progress you make. It is within you to carve out your future."

In awarding the honorary degree, the university hailed Phakeng as a trailblazer "in mathematics in post-apartheid South Africa".

She was also lauded as a committed leader and role model par excellence who had created opportunities for other people to access mathematics. 

 

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