Muso’s sec­ond hon­orary award

Leg­endary mu­si­cian­vusi Mahlasela will have a doc­tor­ate from UKZN be­stowed upon him next week


VUSI Mahlasela, leg­endary mu­si­cian, ac­com­plished gui­tarist and soon to be recog­nised again as a doc­tor of mu­sic, this time by the Uni­ver­sity of Kwazulu-natal, will be con­ferred with an hon­orary doc­tor­ate next week.

The uni­ver­sity is set to recog­nise Mahlasela for his con­tri­bu­tion to the bet­ter­ment of South African so­ci­ety and to the global mu­sic in­dus­try.

Five years ago, Rhodes Uni­ver­sity con­ferred an hon­orary doc­tor­ate on Mahlasela, while the SA Mu­sic Awards pre­sented him with a life­time achieve­ment award.

For­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma awarded him the Or­der of Ikhamanga (sil­ver) in 2012.

Speak­ing to the Sun­day Tri­bune this week, Mahlasela said: “This is an im­por­tant hon­our for me. God gave me the gift to im­pact peo­ple’s lives.

“Ev­ery­one who con­trib­utes with their skills, aca­dem­i­cally or on any plat­form, as long it de­picts a pic­ture of who we are, what we should be and in­stils hope must be ac­knowl­edged for their con­tri­bu­tion,” he said.

Oth­ers who will re­ceive hon­orary doc­tor­ates from UKZN are for­mer statis­ti­cian-gen­eral Pali Le­hohla, sci­en­tist and can­cer treat­ment re­searcher Pro­fes­sor Te­bello Nyokong, and the first black South African civil en­gi­neer to grad­u­ate at UKZN, True­man Goba.

“Ev­ery­one has a story to tell, we all have gifts given by God. We need to use them to help oth­ers. I started a mu­sic academy to pass on all the knowl­edge I have ac­quired to young mu­si­cians,” said Mahlasela.

“Un­for­tu­nately, there’s not enough space to show­case our tal­ent be­cause we lack fund­ing,” said the so­cial activist.

Known as the golden-voiced troubadour, the 53-year-old has been a so­cially con­cious mu­si­cian for more than two decades, re­leas­ing his first al­bum, When You Come Back, in 1992.

He has ded­i­cated his life singing about free­dom, so­cial jus­tice, po­lice ha­rass­ment and the Strug­gle. Con­stant po­lice ha­rass­ment and im­pris­on­ment did not de­ter him. In one TED talk per­for­mance in June 2007, com­mem­o­rat­ing June 16, Mahlasela tells a story of how his grand­mother threat­ened apartheid po­lice with boil­ing wa­ter when they came to look for him one evening when he was a teenager. “My grand­mother switched off all the lights in the house and opened the kitchen door.

“She said to them, ‘Vusi is here and you are not go­ing to take him tonight. I am tired of you com­ing here, ha­rass­ing us while your chil­dren are sleep­ing peace­fully in your homes. He is here and you are not go­ing to take him. I’ve got a bowl full of boil­ing wa­ter. The first one who comes in, gets it’,” he said, adding that the cops left soon after­wards.

UKZN’S 2018 grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies, at the Westville cam­pus, run from to­mor­row un­til next Tues­day. More than 9 410 cer­tifi­cates are ex­pected to be awarded in 20 grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies, with 62% of grad­u­ates be­ing women.


Mu­si­cian Vusi Mahlasela, who is to be hon­oured by the Uni­ver­sity of Kwazulu-natal. Scan the im­age to watch Vusi per­form at TED talk.

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