Bra Sam is deserving of honour

Legendary music promoter Sam Mhangwani unfortunately found himself in Prof Themba Sono's line of fire, according to the writer.
Legendary music promoter Sam Mhangwani unfortunately found himself in Prof Themba Sono's line of fire, according to the writer.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Prof Themba Sono, I know you are passionately opposed to the awarding of an honorary doctorate. Sam Mhangwani, unfortunately found himself in your line of fire. My view is that unlike many recipients, Mhangwani deserved it. Other recipients devalued it.

Mhangwani is an affable person. During the tough days of apartheid his plays made us laugh and to forget about the suffering we endured under this pernicious system. We packed the township halls to listen to his entertaining plays. Together with Leonard Sithole and Solly Nkutha they organised music festivals.

In Britain people who performed meritorious services are knighted or given orders such as the Order of the British Empire and the Member of the British Empire. Think of Sir Elton John and Sir Bobby Charlton. A few weeks ago, our president, Cyril Ramaphosa bestowed our orders on those individuals who performed outstanding service to the community.

I wonder if Mhangwani has received any of these orders. My problem with these honorary doctorates is that they marginalise the medical and academic degrees, which are obtained after long years of hard work and sacrifice. A person with an honorary degree who is a public figure, appearing regularly in the media is more recognised and respected than people with real doctorates. My sympathies are with Bra Sam. How do you start scamming Bra Sam?

Unisa is, however, complicit in the scamming of Bra Sam. During my years at Unisa booking a venue was a process that involved filling in forms and getting signatures from various people and departments. And this had to be done well in advance of the date on which the activity was to take place.

Phil Mtimkulu, Diepkloof, Soweto

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.