WATCH | Hempe receives PhD in isiXhosa
The seventh doctor of literature (DLitt) degree in isiXhosa has been conferred by Nelson Mandela University on Dr Zoleka Hempe.
This milestone comes 10 years after the first doctorate was conferred at the university.
It also comes in the year Unesco has declared the “International Year for Indigenous languages”.
Hempe’s thesis is written entirely in the Xhosa vernacular.
Her study looked into the state of mind – through acts, signs and habits – of various characters in selected isiXhosa literature before and after killing people.
Dr Hempe’s thesis was cosupervised by Dr Zoliswa Made and Prof Henry Thipa.
The first-ever DLitt degree in isiXhosa was conferred on Dr Nozuko Gxekwa in 2009.
Gxekwa, under supervision of Prof Michael Somniso, is a celebrated scholar for having paved the way for other students to pursue postgraduate studies in isiXhosa.
Hempe was one of five doctoral graduates – among more than 350 – in the faculty of arts graduation ceremony on Monday morning. The graduation saw the conferring of underand postgraduate degrees in the department of architecture; music, art and design; and language, media and culture.
Senior language and literature lecturer Prof Linda Kwatsha said that the seventh doctorate conferred so far showed NMU’s commitment to the intellectualisation of African languages.
“These outputs also show that isiXhosa has developed to be an academic, scientific language of research,” she said.
“Most of the doctors mentioned are working in renowned institutions of higher learning in South Africa. They have leading positions that promote and develop isiXhosa in their fields of work.”