UP Faculty of Theology and Religion confers honorary doctorate on Prof Itumeleng Mosala

Posted on May 04, 2021

The University of Pretoria’s (UP) Faculty of Theology and Religion has conferred an honorary doctorate (honoris causa) in Old Testament Studies on Professor Itumeleng Mosala during its autumn 2021 graduations. 

Prof Mosala is one of the most outstanding South African academics and public intellectuals in the country. His outstanding influence in the academic and public domains has distinguished him as a significant contributor to the academic field of theology (especially Old Testament Studies), tertiary education, politics and public life.

“Prof Mosala is a trailblazer and leader in theology and religion,” said Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UP. “His work has contributed to shaping the discourse around South African black theology for over 20 years. He espouses the values we hold dear as an institution; chief among these is using research and academic outputs for the betterment and development of our societies. We are delighted to be able to continue our relationship with him. Congratulations to Prof Mosala.” 

Prof Mosala’s career as a lecturer in Theology stems from his service as a minister in the Methodist Church (1972 to 1977). Thereafter, he taught Theology and Biblical Hermeneutics at some of the finest universities in the world over a period of 15 years (1980 to 1995). Between 1980 to 1982, he taught Biblical Studies, Theology of Liberation, African Traditional Religions and Hebrew at the University of Botswana. From 1983 to 1994, he had tenure at the University of Cape Town, where he held the positions of lecturer, senior lecturer, associate professor, professor and head of department, teaching Black Theology, African Religion and Biblical Studies. Between 1991 and 1993, he was a visiting lecturer at Wesley House College at the University of Cambridge (UK). 

Together with other great black leaders and theologians, Prof Mosala established a new sub-discipline in global theology, South African Black Theology. In this regard, his book Biblical Hermeneutics and Black Theology in South Africa (1987) remains one of the definitive statements of South African Black Theology.

Prof Jerry Pillay, Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion, said Prof Mosala has played a significant role in shaping democratic South Africa, and that it’s an honour to recognise him. 

“Prof Mosala is one of the earliest proponents of Black Theology in South Africa, and has played a significant role in shaping and influencing a democratic South Africa in the educational, business and academic spheres,” Prof Pillay said. “He is quite involved in the Department of Old Testament and Hebrew Scriptures in the Faculty of Theology and Religion. The University is pleased to recognise and honour him with an honorary doctorate in the field of Old Testament Studies.”

- Author Masego Panyane

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