UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, and the Associate Scientific Director of Caprisa and renowned HIV/AIDS and TB researcher, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, will receive national awards of commendation from President Jacob Zuma at the weekend.

Makgoba has been awarded the Order of Mapungubwe in Silver for ‘his dedication and excellent contribution to the field of science and medicine, locally and internationally; and for his contribution to the building of democracy in South Africa’.

Announcing the honour, the Director-General in the Presidency, Cassius Lubisi described Makgoba as ‘an outstanding academic and a pioneer of transformation in Higher Education’.

Abdool Karim receives the Order of Mapungubwe in Bronze for ‘her outstanding work in the field of HIV, AIDS and TB research; and her role in health policy development which is placing South Africa on the international stage’.

The two UKZN personalities are among a host of other South Africans and international luminaries who will receive national honours at a Freedom Day ceremony on Saturday.

The national orders are the highest awards a country, through its President, can bestow on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed to the advancement of democracy and have made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans.

The orders also recognise the contributions made by individuals who contributed and continue to contribute to a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa as envisaged in the Constitution.

The Chair of the Council of UKZN, Mrs Phumla Mnganga, congratulated and applauded Makgoba on ‘achieving this notable milestone in his distinguished career.  Equally, I applaud his contributions to medicine and science.’

‘Under his decisive leadership, the University has secured global partnerships to establish major research initiatives that include the prestigious KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH),’ said Mnganga.

‘His indefatigable commitment to speaking out on issues of importance and his clear vision of a transformed South Africa have consistently informed his leadership style, his insistence on high standards and his capacity to effect institutional change.

‘His bold stand against AIDS denialism pitted him against highly influential thinkers in the late 1990s and early 2000s.’

UKZN’s acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Nelson Ijumba, congratulated Abdool Karim on her award saying she had made seminal contributions on the evolving epidemiology and prevention of HIV in women, ethics and human rights and was internationally recognised for her scientific contributions to studies in HIV and AIDS.

‘Abdool Karim has been devoted to stemming the global AIDS epidemic for more than two decades culminating in her recent scientific discovery that Tenofovir gel can prevent HIV infection and genital herpes in women.

‘This research, which produced the world’s first HIV protection technology for women, was ranked among the Top 10 Scientific Breakthroughs of 2010 by the prestigious journal, Science.’

Ijumba said Abdool Karim’s findings had served as the basis for the WHO’s international policies and guidelines on TB and HIV co-treatment.

author email :