Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Second honorary doctorate for Rita Marley

Published:Friday | September 22, 2017 | 12:06 AMShereita Grizzle
Dr Rita Marley
Dr Rita Marley
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Dr Rita Marley is now part of the alumni from the University of Fort Hare, South Africa, one of the premier tertiary institutes in Africa.

Fort Hare is also the alma mater of global giants Olivia Tambo, Govan Mbeki and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

In 2015, the University of the West Indies (UWI) awarded her an honorary Doctor of Letters degree for notable works in preserving and advancing Jamaica's music and culture.

Last weekend, during a graduation ceremony held at the school's Alice Campus, Marley was awarded an honorary doctorate in Social Sciences and Humanities for her philanthropic works through her Rita Marley Foundation (RMF) and her music. Thirty-three graduates received doctorate degrees at the event, but Marley's was the only honorary doctorate conferred.

She was unable to attend the ceremony, but participated in the event via social media. Her doctorate was collected by Rosemary Duncan, manager at the RMF.

In her address to the audience of more than 2,000 persons, Marley asked graduates "Now you have achieved that tool to positively carve your mark, how will you contribute and what will be your legacy?"

"For although you inherited a South Africa where everyone, regardless of race, is free to pursue his or her own destiny, own property, vote and govern their nation, some still experience immense socio-economic hurdles and intense struggles.

 

Value of education

 

In many countries, there still exist a lot of prejudices and injustices, even in nations that promise better, brighter opportunities," she said.

She encouraged graduates to hold on to basic human qualities, such as love and kindness. "We live in a world where humankind has achieved great scientific and technological advancement. Yet our basic, fundamental values of love, peace, kindness and empathy have regressed," she said. "Nelson Mandela said 'education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.' Now you have that tool, how will you work to help make this world a peaceful home where mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters could live in peace, dignity, and hope?"