Stellenbosch University to honour Dirk Mudge

24 Oct 2016 08:40am
KEETMANSHOOP, 24 OCT (NAMPA) – Stellenbosch University (SU) in South Africa will confer an honorary Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree on retired Namibian politician, Dirk Mudge for his role in facilitating the transition of colonial South West Africa to democratic Namibia.
Mudge, a founder of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) now DTA of Nambia, is one of the selected business and academic leaders to be bestowed with this year’s SU annual honorary degrees.
A statement from the Henk Mudge Foundation received on Thursday said the university wrote that Mudge could arguably be considered one of the main architects of Namibia’s independence.
“With exceptional visionary, strategic and transformational leadership, he not only served as peace broker, leading his traditional support base onto new path, but also played a significant role in facilitating reconciliation between white and black in Namibia,” noted the statement.
Mudge was one of the seven pro-apartheid National Party (NP) members elected to represent the white citizens of South West Africa in the Legislative Assembly of South Africa in 1961.
He in 1969 became the national representative of the NP in South West Africa and was a driving force behind the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference from 1975 to 1977 that aimed to persuade traditional leaders towards compromises and not to support the SWAPO resistance to the apartheid government.
The university said that in many respects, Mudge helped break through the post-World War II impasse on the status and position of his former mandated territory of South Africa.
“Through his outstanding negotiating skills and sense of strategy, this SU alumnus has proven himself an exceptional leader of transformation, who not only helped steer Namibia towards independence, but also paved the way for political transition in South Africa,” the statement noted.
SU said Mudge’s tireless leadership in service of his country, his innovation in search of alternative political solutions for Namibia and his extraordinary transition management capabilities were qualities the university sought to instil in its graduates.
Mudge graduated from SU with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1947.
The other recipients of SU’s honorary degrees for 2016 are professor of Musicology and Music Theory at Princeton University Kofi Agawu; reconciliation mediator Dr Franklin Sonn; business and higher education leader Dr Johan van Zyl; Rwandan government leader, banker and campaigner for women’s rights, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa; and pioneer in computing, satellite technology and engineering Prof Jan du Plessis.
The conferment is expected to take place between December and March next year.