Dr Reuel J Khoza's response on receiving an honorary doctorate of law degree from Warwick University

21 January 2020

Salutations:  M C, Chancellor/Vice Chancellor, Members of Council & Senate, Members of Staff-both Academic & Administrative; my wife and daughters who have accompanied me to witness this defining moment, honoured guests.

Having regard to Cicero’s wise advice that gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of the rest, may I register my deep sense of indebtedness to the University of Warwick on several fronts:

  1. To the late Prof Lord Kumar Battacharrya who persuaded me to register for the Eng. D at the turn of the century. Sagacious, attuned and visionary, Confucius would have said this of him “There are three marks of a superior man: being virtuous he is free from anxiety; being wise he is free from perplexity; being brave he is free from fear.”
    Add to this generosity of spirit, magnanimity and ethical conduct you have quintessential man.  May his great legacy be institutionalised.  May it linger long.
  2. Second, to the University of Warwick for guiding me through the rigor and discipline of the Eng. D program, and now, conferring on me the LL D honoris causa.
  3. Third, for the Warwick in Africa Project. A Project which enables African students to realise their potential and to demonstrate to humanity that it is possible to be African and be as numerate as one is literate, and as scientific as one is numerate. A remarkable post-Apartheid phenomenon in South Africa.

For all of the foregoing, my gratitude defies limits.

May I now briefly remind us who graduate about the responsibilities of the learned person, to some extent borrowing from Dr Grayson Kirk, erstwhile President of Columbia University:

  1. Gain mastery of your given discipline to such an extent as it gives you expert power.
  2. Achieve clarity and precision in your spoken and written communication.
  3. Develop a sound and solid sense of values and the courage with which to defend them; good taste which can be used as armour in making moral, social and aesthetic judgements.
  4. Earnestly endeavour, objectively, not only to understand the nature and problems of your society, but to comprehend passionately the differences that separate it from others.
  5. Look squarely at the world and its problems with courage and hope, and not with fear and rejection. Competence and ethical conduct should be cardinal dimensions of your compass.

These are crucial responsibilities, particularly in this era of fake news and alternative facts.

In conclusion, as for me as an alumnus of this noble university, I solemnly undertake not to disappoint.

Thank you.


Dr Khoza at Warwick University Dr Khoza with Professor Stuart Croft

Dr Khoza at Warwick University                                      Dr Khoza with Professor Stuart Croft