Stellenbosch University honours UB professor

Prof. Dube

Stellenbosch University (SU) of South Africa has bestowed Professor Musa Dube an honourary doctorate. Professor Dube was bestowed the Doctor of Theology (DTh), honoris causa at SU’s second graduation ceremony on March 20, 2018 as part of the institution’s centenary commemoration.

“I’m greatly honoured and humbled to be a recipient of an honorary doctorate from your illustrious university at this moment of its history celebrating 100 years of existing, educating and self-transformation,” said Professor Dube upon receiving the honour.

SU is one of the leading tertiary institutions in Africa, and has acknowledged Professor Dube as an internationally recognised scholar and social activist. The honourary degree she received was in recognition of “having pioneered a new way of reading the Bible in pursuit of justice for all, including African women and peoples still suffering the consequences of colonization, and for drawing on her discipline to fight HIV/AIDS on the continent, being a prime example of socially engaged scholarship,” says a statement from SU.

Prof. Dube
Professor Musa Dube

In her acceptance speech, Professor Dube talked about how gender, race, sexuality, class, ethnicity and other social constructs and social structures had reduced the dignity of many people to nothing.

Addressing the honourary degree recipients, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, said “our honorary degree recipients exemplify not only the graduate attributes that we aim to instil in our students, but also the qualities we seek to take with us into the future as we enter our second century as a leading university.”

Meanwhile, by harnessing advanced critical study along with indigenous resources from her African culture to challenge readers of theology to read the Bible in refreshing and responsible ways, SU appreciates Professor Dube as an African postcolonial feminist theologian professor who epitomises socially engaged biblical scholarship.

SU further describes Professor Dube as a “professor of New Testament at the University of Botswana and remarkable daughter of the continent [who] has established herself as one of the leading voices in postcolonial biblical interpretation”.

Attuned to the needs of her local context, Professor Dube is seen as a scholar who has throughout her writings recognised the importance of grassroots readings of the Bible that engage with the culture of readers in Africa, particularly women. A milestone achievement in this regard was the publication under her leadership of Other Ways of Reading: African Women and the Bible (2001), showcasing the unique contribution of African women’s theologies. Her concern for the continent has also seen her advocate a biblical interpretation that seeks to read for decolonization as an integral part of the liberation struggle.

Moreover, Professor Dube fearlessly critiques African churches’ response to HIV/AIDS. Through her writings, she firstly continues to hold churches accountable for failing to respond adequately to the pandemic. Boldly proclaiming “The Church has Aids” in 2002, she sought to challenge African churches to transcend denominational divides to fight HIV and AIDS in their communities.

Professor Dube has also urged African churches to proclaim life amidst the debilitating effects of the disease by showing care and compassion, reintegrating individuals with HIV and AIDS into their communities, and stressing the need for antiretroviral drugs for those affected. SU also recognises Professor Dube as a formidable scholar who has championed the use of song, drama and poetry in the battle against HIV and AIDS, retrieving true African cultural practices and oral theology.

SU, as one of the oldest universities in South Africa, is celebrating its centenary this year. It boasts the highest weighted research output per full-time academic staff member of all South African universities and the second-highest number of scientists in South Africa ranked by the National Research Foundation (NRF) – 429 in 2017. 

With 25 research chairs under the NRF’s South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChi) and seven Centres of Excellence, the University is regarded as a world leader in the fields of biomedical tuberculosis research and management, wine biotechnology, water research, sustainable energy, animal sciences, and mathematical biosciences, amongst others.

As a preferred research partner, SU also participates in various international academic networks. The institution has over 150 bilateral partners in 44 countries on six continents and more than 4300 international students from more than 100 different nationalities.

SU also has the largest number of PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) registered in South Africa. It has been successful in commercialising its intellectual property through its technology transfer company Innovus and its business incubator, the Launchlab.

In pursuit of academic excellence