Ms Mhlophe has contributed to the international understanding of the rich and diverse cultures of South Africa through her work as actor, playwright, director, researcher and internationally acclaimed performer of praise poetry and storytelling.
Born in KwaZulu-Natal 49 years ago, Ms Mhlophe was taught the art of oral tradition by her grandmother. As a young girl, she realized the historical and cultural values of stories and this insight has driven Ms Mhlophe’s career.
Ms Mhlophe has published novels, poetry and children’s stories. One of her more recent books, Stories of Africa, brings together her research into the oral narratives of the continent. Her 2002 publication, The Bones of Memory, engages with history-telling from the old and new South Africa.
Ms Mhlophe has performed in several countries across the world. Her written work has been translated into German, French, Italian, Swahili and Japanese. She has received serveral awards in recognition of her performance.
Ms Mhlophe has released a number of CDs in isiXhosa, isiZulu, English and Afrikaans. The revenue from the sale of these CDs goes towards building libraries in rural areas and stocking them with cultural and locally-relevant material.
She is currently involved in supporting young children who are orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In view of the significant contributions that Ms Mhlophe has made to the international preservation and performance of African literature, and also for her involvement in southern African literacy programmes, including her nurturing care of orphaned children, the University of Pretoria believes that the degree of Honorary Doctorate in the Humanities is a fitting recognition of her prestigious international standing.
Gcina Mhlophe (middle) flanked by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof R Mogotlane (left) and Dean of Humanities, Prof M Muller.