UJ conferred an Honorary Doctorate to the son of the soil and African marketer Dr. Thebe Ikalafeng

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has conferred marketing and branding expert and founder of Brand Leadership Dr. Thebe Ikalafeng with an Honorary Doctoral degree in Philosophy.

Ikalafeng comes a long way with his work in marketing and brand story telling, he also worked with blue-chip companies such as Nike, Tsogo Sun, Colgate Palmolive, UNISA, Transnet and the list goes on.

UJ’s vice-chancellor and principal, Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi said, “Whether through his influential talks, writings, or projects, Dr Ikalafeng consistently emphasises the importance of authenticity, urging individuals and organisations to embrace and promote Africa’s unique narratives.”

“With his thought leadership, innovative initiatives, and dedication to advancing African narratives, Ikalafeng embodies the values of excellence, leadership, and service that define UJ’s honorary doctorate recipients,” adds Prof Mpedi.

Dr Ikalafeng addressed the gathered audience and graduates with a keynote address highlighting the importance of the African brand.

“Our job is to produce and consume ‘Made in Africa’. If Africa is truly going to become independent, free, integrated and prosperous, ‘Made in Africa’ must become our most serious agenda. Only Africa can serve Africa.”

Through his work, he endeavours to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions, instead celebrating Africa’s vibrancy, innovation, and resilience.

“I am singularly honoured to receive this Honorary Doctorate from this incredible University. I receive and accept with incredible humility and I am grateful to everyone who has been part of my journey.”

With a career spanning over 30 years, Dr Ikalafeng’s leadership in brand and marketing communications has garnered numerous accolades and awards, including being named one of the ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by New African Magazine, and receiving the Financial Mail AdFocus Lifetime Achievement Award.

He holds a BSc (Marketing) cum laude and a Master of Business Administration (Strategy and Marketing) degree from Marquette University in the US. Additionally, he holds an LLM (Intellectual Property Law) degree from the University of Turin, Italy, in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Switzerland.

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