University of Pretoria caps jazz legend Abdullah Ibrahim

Honorary doctorate for Generations creator Mfundi Vundla

Generations executive producer Mfundi Vundla has received an honorary doctorate.
Generations executive producer Mfundi Vundla has received an honorary doctorate.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Generations: The Legacy creator and executive producer Mfundi Vunda has been honoured with an honorary doctorate in literature by the University of Pretoria (UP) for being a titan of the SA entertainment industry.

Vundla was conferred alongside jazz legend Abdullah Ibrahim at an event that took place virtually on Monday. 

Vice-chancellor and principal professor Tawana Kupe said during the graduation: "The arts play a vital role in holding a mirror up to society. Mfundi Vundla and Abdullah Ibrahim have been trailblazers in their respective fields, and have told uniquely South African stories. I am pleased that we are able to bestow these honours on two giants of the arts in recognition of their service and contribution to the country and the world.”

Speaking to Sowetan, Vundla said as much as he deserved the honourary doctorate he did not want to be called Dr Mfundi Vundla.

"Please don't call me Dr Mfundi Vundla because people go to school and write thesis before walking around calling themselves doctors. I have bachelor of arts and masters degrees and that is where it ended. I am being honoured for the contribution and the mark I made in the society," he added:

"It has been long time coming. It is wonderful to be recognised for what you have done. I think I deserve it. I have done a lot to transform the industry in this country. I am one of the pioneers especially in the local content creation and television. I mean Generations and Backstage opened doors for local content and channels like Mzansi Magic. This thing started with me."

Ibrahim has over 25 years experience in music. He has toured the world extensively and appeared at major concert halls, clubs and festivals. His collaborations with orchestras resulted in acclaimed recordings such as African Suite (1999) and the Munich Radio Philharmonic Orchestra’s symphonic version, African Symphony (2001).

Prof Alexander Johnson, head of the school of the arts, said: “We are proud to recognise Dr Ibrahim’s immense contributions to music through the awarding of this honorary doctorate, and are truly honoured to have South Africa’s iconic jazz artist associated with Jazz Studies in the School of the Arts at UP.”

Vundla, who is the founder and chair of Morula Pictures, has created a legacy as a titan of the SA entertainment industry. His contributions run across the visual and performing arts landscape of SA, from film to television and theatre.

His work reflects his political consciousness and commitment to social change in the country. His work includes Generations, Generations: The Legacy, Jozi H,  Magic Cellar and Backstage, among others.

Dr Chris Broodryk, chair of UP drama department, said: “The School of the Arts: Drama would like to commend Mr Mfundi Vundla on his various accomplishments in, and contributions to, the South African entertainment industries.

"It is no exaggeration to claim that Mr Vundla forever changed the local televisual landscape with the groundbreaking Generations production. UP is honoured to confer an honorary doctorate on Mr Vundla, whose legacy will long be celebrated and studied.”

 

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