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‘Dr Chaka Chaka’: Princess of Africa gets degree from Tshwane University

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Princess of Africa

Princess of Africa

Tshwane University of Technology Regestrar Micheal Mushaathoni helps South African legendary singer, Chaka Chaka, with her graduation gown before receiving her degree of Doctor of Performing Arts, Horris CAUSA. She is in Pretoria, 13 February 2023.

The honorary doctorate is the latest in a string of accolades.

The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) yesterday awarded world-renowned musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka a doctorate of performing arts amid smiling faces, inspirational speeches and hugs. She has been leading South African popular music for 35 years and has earned a host of accolades throughout her career, including an honorary doctorate.

Ambassador

Known for her popular songs: I’m Burning Up, Thank You Mr DJ, I Cry for Freedom and Umqombothi, Chaka Chaka is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. She has performed for Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth II and Richard Branson and has appeared with Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and Richard Branson.

The awarding of an honorary doctorate by TUT was a long-held dream realized by TUT’s executive dean, Professor Nalini Moodley.

“As the faculty of arts and design, we recognized the power and value of the Princess of Africa and her work.

Dr Machaka’s contribution to society nationally, on the continent and globally, is significant for a South African who had to work against and within a highly constrained and unjust political system.”

As a symbol of the university’s transition from good to great, Moodley said the award was important to the faculty.

‘Journey of greatness’

“Dr Machaka’s award provides our students with an insight into the journey of an internationally recognized entrepreneur, humanitarian, and teacher who is bringing untold value to the global community,” he said.

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“ Your story will inspire all those performers with stars in their eyes to continue to strive for their dreams and go beyond simply by having achieved such an exceptional portfolio.

“[Through the arts] Dr Machaka’s advocacy work for social justice, empowerment of women and girls, resonates deeply with us.”

‘Society must transform’

The arts were necessary to transform society and challenge its behavior, according to Moodley — through subtle messages and some not-so-subtle ones.

“This activism spreads across many fields, to create a consciousness within our students and within our communities – around a wide spectrum of concerns, such as the dramatic shifts in climate and shocking unemployment rates.

Women and children are particularly vulnerable to violence, which calls for activism. More voices are needed against [gender-based violence] to make some changes.”

Acceptance speech

It was a great honor to be associated with such people who make a tremendous difference in society, said Chaka Chaka in her acceptance speech.

I consider myself to be very fortunate and never take it for granted. A young girl was killed at our university, and I am very saddened by this.

“Society must do more to uphold a fair and respectful treatment of women, and we must work hard to uphold better young men.

“The killing of children and women by those who are supposed to protect them has reached epidemic proportion and something has to be done.”

The University of Cape Town conferred the first honorary doctorate of performing arts to a woman in 1911, Lucy Lloyd.

Wits University awarded Ellen Khuzwayo, 76 years after she graduated, the first honorary doctorate to a black woman. Other women who received honorary doctorates include Lilian Dube and Esther Mahlangu.

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Chaka Chaka, 57, is married to Dr Tiny Mhinga, a medical doctor from Soweto born Yvonne Ntombizodwa Machaka.

 

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