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Honorary Doctorate for James Khumalo

- Wits University

Honoray Doctorate in Music adds to Khumalo's long list of accolades.

Wits honoured Professor James Mzilikazi Khumalo with an honorary Doctorate in Music at the graduation ceremony for the Faculty of Humanities on Tuesday, 8 December.

The 83-year-old Khumalo, a professor of African languages at Wits was absent at the graduation ceremony, but was represented by his son, Diliza Khumalo and grandson Sibusiso Khumalo.

Khumalo obtained his in African languages in 1987 and joined the Department of African Languages at Wits as a teacher in 1969, serving a long stint as a lecturer, including as Head of Department before his retirement in 1998.

Born on 20 June 1932 in the Vryheid district of Natal on the Salvation Army farm, Prof. Khumalo always had a keen interest in music, especially Western folk and African traditional music, and devoted time to music studies, including theory and composition. He was particularly revered for his achievements in South African music, where he has been an outstanding award-winning composer, conductor, and mentor of generations of singers, musicians and performers of choral music.

The national respect that Prof. Khumalo commands is attested to in the numerous national positions and honours that he holds, including a lifetime achievement award, bestowed in 2007, the M-Net Literary Award and countless competitions and awards that he and his choirs have won, and many times he has been commissioned to compose music for major occasions. He has also been asked to join the Anthem committee who developed the new national Anthem of South Africa, and having a piano concerto composed in his honour.

In addition to his honorary Doctorate from Wits University, he has received honorary doctorates from the University of South Africa, University of Zululand, Fort Hare and Stellenbosch University.

Khumalo currently serves as Professor Emeritus at Wits University.