National Order for UCT’s Ari Sitas

30 Apr 2019 - 07:45

Emer Prof Ari Sitas, of the Re-Centring AfroAsia Project in the Faculty of Humanities, receives the Order of Mapungubwe from President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Emeritus Professor Ari Sitas, of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Re-Centring AfroAsia Project, has received the Order of Mapungubwe from President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chancellor of the National Orders.

National Orders* are the highest awards that the country bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy, and made a significant impact towards improving the lives of South Africans.

The awards also honour individuals who have contributed towards building a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa, as envisaged in the Constitution. The investiture ceremony was held at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria yesterday, 25 April.

The Order of Mapungubwe recognises South Africans who have accomplished excellence and exceptional achievement to the benefit of South Africa and beyond.

Exceptional achievement

The citations reads: “Sitas received the award in Silver for his excellent contribution to social science scholarship and progressive policy-making. He is also a renowned storyteller and poet. He is a multi-talented social scientist who moves effortlessly between profound knowledge production and the arts.”


“He is a multi-talented social scientist who moves effortlessly between profound knowledge production and the arts.”

The scholar was one of two recipients of the Order of Mapungubwe in Silver; the other was awarded to Malik Maaza for his outstanding contribution to the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

The honour follows another distinction for Sitas, who has been awarded a prestigious Gutenberg Chair. The titular chair will be based at Strasbourg University, France.

Sitas also recently travelled to Cyprus to negotiate a major bi-communal and tri-continental musical drama for 2020, titled Othello’s Wild Years. According to a press release, this is to be performed in the in-between “dead zone” of the divided island.

This arose out of the Re-centring AfroAsia Project’s research, generously funded by the AW Mellon Foundation, and will involve composers and performers from South Africa and India.

* The Order of Mapumgubwe is one of six national orders, which include the Order of Mendi for Bravery, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo.

Story:  Helen Swingler

Photo:  GCIS