Wits honours the late Sibongile Khumalo with doctorate in music

Wits honours the late Sibongile Khumalo with doctorate in music

The late Sibongile Khumalo was awarded with a posthumous honorary doctorate in music on Wednesday during a virtual graduation. 

Sibongile Khumalo
Sibongile Khumalo/ YouTube screenshot

Congratulations are in order for South Africa's first lady of song, the late Dr Sibongile Khumalo.

The legendary singer was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Music by Wits University on Wednesday.

The event was held virtually.

Khumalo’s daughter, Ayanda, received her mother’s honorary Doctorate on her behalf.

She expressed how grateful the family is for the honour.

“We are humbled and filled with gratitude and pride at the honour of receiving this award on behalf of our mother, Dr Sibongile Khumalo,” said Ayanda.

She said her mom was very excited when she learned about the honorary Doctorate in March 2020 , and added that although the legendary jazz singer could not be there in the flesh, her spirit was present.

“Sadly, she never got to experience this moment physically, however, I know without a doubt, she is with us in spirit,” said Ayanda.

Listen to her full acceptance speech below.


Khumalo was not the first to receive an honorary Doctorate from Wits University in her family.

Her late father, Khabi Mgoma, was a professor of music, and received his honorary Doctorate in 1987 from the university.

Khumalo also taught music. She had a BA Hons from Wits University.

The legendary jazz and opera singer died on 28 January at the age of 63 after suffering from a stroke.

READ: Legendary singer Sibongile Khumalo (63) dies

She had many accolades including the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for music, four SAMAs, and three FNB Vita awards.

She also received The Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for her contribution to the development of South African art and culture in the musical fields of jazz and opera.

Khumalo led the South African and New Zealand national anthems at the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final. 

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