The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has awarded Dr Judy Dlamini, one of South Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs, an honorary doctorate in economics in recognition of her economic activism.
“Dr Judy Dlamini’s first degree was in medicine and now, 34 years down the line, she walked on to the same stage to receive an honorary doctorate in economics in recognition of her economic activism and role as one of South Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs,” UKZN said in a statement.
The university said Dlamini was capped Doctor of Economics (honoris causa) at a ceremony on the UKZN Westville campus on Friday.
Dlamini was founder and executive chairperson of the Mbekani Group, chancellor of the university of Witwatersrand, a medical doctor, and author.
“I can’t believe it’s been so long! My honorary doctorate, for which I’m truly grateful, is in a different field because after practicing medicine for 13 years I ventured out into business. I’ve now been in business longer than I have been a clinician,” Dlamini said.
“As a little girl I walked the streets of Westville to catch a bus to school or to the grocery store. More importantly, I remember going to then University of Durban-Westville (UDW) with my half-sister uSis Phumzile. When my sister heard I had applied to medical school she advised me to also apply at Durban-Westville to do physiotherapy.
“Though she didn’t say it outright, I don’t think she believed I would be accepted at medical school and wanted me to have a plan B. I went with her out of politeness because that was not my dream. In those days you had to apply for ministerial consent to study at a university that was classified for a race group different to your own.
“Education is a liberator – the education of one person has the power to change outcomes in a village. Educated people who are successful make success accessible in unlikely neighbourhoods,” Dlamini said.
UKZN said, with education as her motivation, Dlamini, who also held an MBA and PhD in business leadership, continued to chart her own path, which included various business ventures in fields such as medicine, retail, and property, including the Mbekani Group she founded 22 years ago.
“Serving on many boards and embodying the spirit of philanthropy through community outreach initiatives, Dlamini is not willing to let the knowledge she has acquired be solely for her benefit and has shared it in her book Equal But Different: Women Leaders’ Life Stories – Overcoming Race, Gender, and Social Class,” the university said.
– African News Agency (ANA)