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Three ex-judges to receive honorary doctorates from Free State university

Former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke is among five recipients who will receive honorary degrees from UFS.
Former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke is among five recipients who will receive honorary degrees from UFS.
Image: Supplied

Former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke is among five distinguished people who will receive honorary doctorates from the University of the Free State (UFS) this month.

In a statement, UFS said Moseneke, former Constitutional Court justice Albie Sachs, ex-judge Dennis Davis, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute founder Mike Wingfield and Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/Aids, will be honoured. 

Vice-chancellor Prof Francis Petersen said the institution was proud of the recipients. “The university is extremely proud to confer honorary doctorates on a group of distinguished individuals.

“Each of them has made a profound contribution to their respective fields, and we are privileged to welcome them on campus to honour them during the graduation ceremony.”

Moseneke, who retired in 2016, will receive his honorary degree at UFS’s QwaQwa campus on April 29. He completed matric while imprisoned on Robben Island for participating in political activities and went on to become a lawyer. Moseneke received the Order of Luthuli in gold, SA’s highest national award, in 2018.

Sachs was a Constitutional Court judge from 1994 to 2009. He started practising as an advocate at the Cape Bar at the age of 21 and defended people charged under the racial statutes and security laws of apartheid. He went into exile in England, where he completed a PhD at the University of Sussex and spent a further 11 years in Mozambique as a law professor and legal researcher.

He is the author of several books and has travelled to many countries, sharing his experiences to help heal divided societies.

Davis served as a judge of the high court in Cape Town from 1998 to 2020. He was also the judge president of the Competition Appeal Court from 1999 to 2020.

During his time on the bench, Davis has held honorary professorships at the universities of Cape Town, Western Cape, Free State and Witwatersrand. He has held visiting professorial posts at the universities of Toronto, Melbourne, Georgetown, Harvard and Florida Brown, and has authored 11 books and more than 200 articles in academic journals.

Wingfield, an adviser to the executive of the University of Pretoria, began his career at UFS in 1988 and went on to receive a National Research Foundation (NRF) president’s award. He has held an NRF A-rating for more than 26 years.

Byanyima, deputy secretary-general of the UN, is a former executive director of Oxfam International.

“Currently, she leads UN efforts to end the Aids epidemic by 2030 and believes that health care is a human right,” said a UFS statement.

“She was an early champion for a people’s vaccine against Covid-19, which should be available and free of charge to everyone, everywhere.”


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