Monday, 21 December 2015

Joe Thloloe

Joe Thloloe - Graduation Speech

Tue, Feb 28, 2012
Chancellor Professor Gerwel, Vice-Chancellor Dr Badat, Members of the Board of Governors, Senate, Council, Deans, Professors, Lecturers, graduands, relatives and friends of the graduands.
It is truly a privilege to stand here and receive a doctorate from Rhodes University.

I have had a long relationship with the Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies and have been in and out of its offices and lecture halls for years. In various capacities I have employed graduates from here. And among my friends in that department, I’m proud to count people like Anthea Garman, Lynette Steenveld, Chris Kabwato, Jane Duncan, Francis Mdlongwa, Reg Rumney, Robert Brand, and Guy Berger. Guy has made the school shine among the world’s best journalism training institutions.

I was a witness as Guy left the newsroom at the alternative newspaper South and joined academia. I was a witness as he systematically entrenched the credibility of the school and I saw him as he knocked at doors, soliciting support for a Media Matrix. Some of us thought he was too ambitious but the twinkle in his eye did not diminish. That twinkle is now an impressive structure of brick and mortar, a real monument to Guy.

He will of course be coy about it, say it is not quite what he had in mind. He will talk about the team effort that went into creating the Matrix. I for one salute him for his incredible leadership and his contribution to African and world journalism.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the 50 years I’ve been in journalism, I never for a second dreamt that I would be honoured by a university. If I had I would not have expected it to come through the Faculty of Commerce here at Rhodes. The business that I know intimately is the business of journalism, which some people might believe is far from “commerce”.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m grateful to my friends Dr Thami Mazwai and Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, my sister Sibongile Mafata and my children Nokuthula, Moroesi and Mangaliso and to my partner Diana Claaste for being here with me today to be witnesses on behalf of the thousands of people that I can see in my mind’s eye, people applauding their handiwork, people who shaped who I am today.

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