Conferment of honorary doctorate of law degree to Dr Reuel J Khoza by Prof Colin Sparrow from Warwick University
21 January 2020
Our honorary graduant this morning is a man of many parts – businessman, author, academic, multi-linguist, musician (with a particular passion for choral music) and now farmer. It is a great pleasure to introduce Reuel Khoza and family, Mumsy, Nkateko and Munene.
Dr Khoza is an alumnus of Warwick, having completed an Engineering Doctorate here in 2006. This was the culmination of an education journey that started when his grandfather, for whom Reuel alternated cattle herding duties with school, recognised his potential and sent him to school full-time. He has a BA Honours in Psychology from the University of Limpopo, an MA in Marketing from the University of Lancaster, and is a Chartered Director. He holds an Emeritus Professorship at Stellenbosch University Business School, and is Visiting Professor at Rhodes Business School, the University of the Free State Business School and Wits Business School.
His business career in South Africa has been conducted at the very highest level. He has been Chair of the energy company Eskom, and of Nedbank Group Limited; he is currently Chair of Aka Capital (Pty) Limited, Dzana Investments; he is Director of several companies and President of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa; in 2019, he was appointed interim Chair of South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation – the custodian of pensions savings for public servants (with assets under management in excess of R2 trillion). He has found time to think and write about corporate governance and leadership, particularly in Africa, in influential books that include Let Africa Lead )2005, with a foreword by Nelson Mandela) and Attuned Leadership (2011); he also helped draw up the third and fourth King Reports on corporate governance in South Africa. He is a man of boundless energy: at a time when many people might be thinking about retiring, Reuel has started a successful c
Dr Khoza at Warwick UniversityDr Khoza with Professor Stuart Croftareer in farming – his family packhouse is now the second largest exporter of avocados from South Africa to Europe.
Reuel Khoza is passionate about education, building a secondary school, “Acorns-to-Oaks”, in his hometown of Bushbuckridge, close to the Kruger National Park. This is one of the schools to which we send student volunteers to assist with teaching, as part of our pioneering Warwick in Africa programme. This programme has been working in South Africa, Tanzania, and Ghana since 2006, and will be expanding to Kenya next year. It combines the talents of Warwick students and staff – all volunteers – with those of local teachers and learners to help improve education, particularly in maths and English, in some of Africa’s most challenged schools. The programme is transformational for both our volunteers and the teachers and learners whom they support. Dr Khoza has generously given his time to Warwick in Africa as a Trustee in South Africa by bringing it to the attention of his many influential contacts.
Reuel Khoza’s first salaried job was as a Lecturer in Psychology in the University of Limpopo in 1974. This was a very challenging time in South Africa, and after a year he was “let go”, having annoyed the authorities with some anti-apartheid activity. Happily after a few months unemployment, he was taken on by Unilever and the successes outlined above followed. He now holds honorary doctorates from Rhodes University and the University of Free State in Law and Economics respectively. From 2007 until very recently, he was Chancellor of the University of Limpopo (the very same university that had let him go 45 years ago), succeeding Nelson Mandela in that role. He is revered not just for his business acumen and his thought leadership, but for his probity and his courage in speaking out against incompetence, corruption and poor policy. It is a great pleasure to work with him in South Africa and we are delighted to welcome him back to Warwick today.
Vice-Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, Reuel Khoza.
Dr Khoza at Warwick University Dr Khoza with Professor Stuart Croft