By: Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – The prominent historian and acclaimed academic Prof Lehlohonolo B.B.J Machobane expresses humility over his recent honorary doctorate which he received from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in March earlier this year.

UCT conferred a degree of Doctor of Social Science (honoris causa) to now retired Prof Machobane.

He was conferred honorary doctorate along with five other people who have distinguished themselves in their fields. This includes Dr Debbie Bradshaw, Mr Lionel Davis, Ms Shirley Gunn, Professor Michael R Hayden and Professor Brian Huntley.

The former Minister and author’s recognition highlights Prof Machobane’s significant contributions to the field of history and academia.

“I am genuinely humbled by this award,” he says.

The octogenarian dedicates the award to the country and its citizens, acknowledging the role of the nation in providing his education and supporting his journey.

He continues: “These people have been doing work behind my back and I only got a message to go [to UCT for conferment.”

“Professor Machobane will be awarded with a degree of Doctor of Social Science (honoris causa). He is a trailblazing scholar and stateman who embarked on a remarkable academic journey from Lesotho to the United States, culminating in a groundbreaking PhD from the University of Edinburg. He returned to Lesotho where he served in various educational and governmental roles, leaving an indelible mark on both fronts. Proficient in African and Basotho history, his seminal work, “Government and Change in Lesotho, 1800–1966,” remains pivotal in understanding the nation’s political evolution.

“Beyond academia, he spearheaded educational reforms as Minister of Education and engaged in international forums. His contributions extend to cultural preservation and community development, earning him acclaim as a multifaceted leader and scholar revered across Southern Africa,” reads the citation.

Prof Machobane emphasizes the importance of education, advocating that Basotho should be well-educated.

He then expresses great pride in his opportunity to educate Basotho, noting that many of his former students have gone on to become esteemed academics, including some who are now professors.

Prof Machobane, who previously served as the Minister of Education under the military regime, has made significant contributions to numerous academic journals.

He is also the author of several notable books, including Government and Change in Lesotho, Essays on Religion and Culture Among the Basotho, and the King’s Knights.

The university said: “As members of the UCT community, we take pride in celebrating the achievements of these remarkable individuals, and draw inspiration from their endeavors. Their degrees not only honour their accomplishments, but also reflect the values and aspirations of our university.”