The Friedlich-Schiller University Jena in Germany bestowed an honorary degree upon Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Research Chair in Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University (SU), on Monday October 30.
She was one of two internationally recognised academics in their respective fields to be honoured in this way. The ceremony formed part of Germany’s celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation spearheaded by Martin Luther.
Professor Gobodo-Madikizela received the degree Doctor of Theology honoris causa in recognition of her outstanding work on trauma in different social contexts in South Africa after the end of apartheid.
In a statement released by the Friedlich-Schiller University Jena, Professor Gobodo-Madikizela was lauded for her groundbreaking research on guilt, reconciliation, forgiveness, the dialogue between perpetrators and victims, as well as the way in which trauma is experienced by individuals and in political systems. She has been collaborating with the Jena Centre for Reconciliation Studies at the university for a number of years.
Having served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a member of the Human Rights Violations Committee, Professor Gobodo-Madikizela has established herself as an international expert on the aforementioned topics. She has received numerous international and national awards for her work and has also been rated by the National Research Foundation as a researcher who enjoys considerable international recognition by her peers.
Apart from Professor Gobodo-Madikizela, Professor Wolfgang Huber, eminent German theologian, social-ethicist, academic and public intellectual, was also awarded an honorary doctorate. He also received an honorary degree from SU in 2014.