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Tshwane University of Technology confers honorary doctorates to four prominent personalities

South African fashion designer David Tlale, renowned Ndebele artist Dr. Esther Mahlangu, business mogul Mike Nkuna and legendary musician and Malaria ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka were all recognised by Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) for their contribution to business, art, fashion, music, and culture.

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Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has conferred Honorary Doctorates to four South African legends David Tlale, Dr. Esther Mahlangu, Mike Nkuna, and Yvonne Chaka Chaka in the fields of Arts and Management Sciences.

47-year-old David Tlale is a South African designer who has showcased his designs on runways around the world. When he won the Elle New Talent at SA Fashion Week in 2003, he simultaneously launched the brand, David Tlale.

It is a brand that, “embod(ies) beauty, craftsmanship, luxury fabrics, prints developed/designed to evoke and translate the evolution of our African heritage narrating the globalization of African Stories. Collections are designed to tell stories in loud yet sophisticated tones, without pretence and shun harshness for poise, for the older and newer generations…” explains the website.

He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Design.


86-year-old Dr. Esther Mahlangu is a national treasure whose iconic Ndebele art has earned her global recognition. For over 7 decades, she has perfected her art form and collaborated extensively with the world’s most respected museums, galleries, curators, art fairs, celebrities, and global brands. Among her many accolades, in 1991, she became the first lady and first African to participate in the BMW Art Car Collection alongside other notables Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, and Frank Stella.

She is also the receipt of two honorary doctorates in 2018, an appointment to the ‘Office of Arts and Letters’ the highest recognition for contribution to the arts from France, and part of the ‘Order of Ikhamanga’ a Presidential award for achievements in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism, and sports.

This third Honorary Doctorate is for Arts and Design.

Property tycoon, Executive Chairman, and founder Mike Nkuna, owns several malls and franchises and has made notable contributions to rural and township development. His interests in property development aside, he also has a stake in facilities management, auctioneering services, manufacturing, and mining activities all over South Africa.

He has a Philosophiae Doctor honoris causa (Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy) from the University of Johannesburg based on his successful strides in commercial and retail property development.


He received the honorary Doctor of Management Sciences in Organisational Leadership (Honoris Causa).

Legendary musician and social activist Yvonne Chaka Chaka is also a songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and teacher. Before the “Princess of Africa” started her singing career, she became the first Black child to appear on South African television. In 1981 “Sugar Shack”, a talent show, introduced her to the South African public. She has released multitudes of hit songs throughout her illustrious career and owns a limousine company, a music label, and her own production company.

According to last FM, she also teaches literacy part-time at the University of South Africa, sits on several boards of charitable organisations and NGOs, and serves on the board of the Johannesburg Tourism Company.

She was awarded the Doctor of Performing Arts (Honoris Causa) in recognition of her contribution to the entertainment industry and her good works.

Speaking on the honourees, TUT’s spokesperson Phaphama Tshisikhawe said, “These are giants in their field, with decades of groundbreaking achievements and contributions to show for their dedication and talent.”


“Furthermore, we look forward to much collaboration and engagement with the recipients, as we know our academic programmes and students will benefit greatly.”

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