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TUT names buildings after two SA creative giants

by Gerrit Bester It was history in the making at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) on 14 September 2021, when two buildings on the University’s Arts Campus were named after South African creative giants ­­– celebrated musician, Winston Mankunku Ngozi, and prolific artist, Gerard Sekoto. The naming is the first of such drives at the University which forms part of an extensive naming and renaming process.

In future, Building 22, home to the Music programme, on the Arts Campus will carry the name of Ngozi, who was a famous South African tenor saxophone player. Ngozi made huge contributions to the development of jazz during the last three decades in South Africa. He distinguished himself as a seasoned composer in the industry, bringing different trends and styles.

Sekoto was honoured by naming Building 26 (Painting Studio) on the Campus after him. He is recognised among the most significant South African visual artists of the twentieth century.

To coincide with the event, the University is hosting a one-work exhibition, featuring a well-known painting, titled The evening prayer, by Sekoto. The oil painting was painted in 1942 during a dark era in South Africa’s history and portrays a sombre scene of a family gathered around the table with their eyes downcast in prayer.

This is a poignant painting that bears witness to the many families meditating and praying for their loved-ones during these difficult times of Covid-19, where untimely deaths, unemployment, poverty, gender-based violence, and the global burdens of war and terror continue to ravage humanity.

Speaking at the event, Prof Lourens van Staden, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of TUT, said: “Since its establishment, TUT, or the People’s University as it is also known, has always associated itself with individuals who have made an invaluable contribution to society on many fronts, and who espouse the University’s core values.”

He added that the University is committed to driving a transformational agenda.

Putting the naming and renaming initiative into perspective, he said the process is informed by approved policy and buy-in from stakeholders.

“This process is driven by the Naming and Renaming Committee, a sub-committee of the Executive Management Committee (EMC) of the University. Since its inception in 2015, the Committee has done sterling work and encouraged stakeholders and role-players to participate in the naming and renaming process.”

“Today, this extensive process is coming to fruition. The names that will be unveiled are in accordance with the contribution and stature of the intellectuals, scholars, or individuals concerned,” he added.

“It is my sincere hope that these names will not merely be identifiers of buildings, but that staff and students teaching and studying in the venues that will now carry the names of these creative giants, be inspired by their legacies for years to come,” he concluded.

Prof Nalini Moodley-Diar, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Design, echoed Prof van Staden’s words by expressing the hope that both Ngozi’s and Sekoto’s legacies keep on reminding people of the power of the Arts as it shapes society.

Prof Lourens van Staden, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, addressing guests attending the naming function on the TUT Arts Campus.

Members of senior management and Council in front of the newly named Winston Mankunku Ngozi building.

The Painting Studio on the Arts Campus was named after prolific South African artist, Gerard Sekoto.

Prof Nalini Moodley-Diar, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Design, being interviewed during the naming function.

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