Musician Patience Namadingo says shock was his instant reaction to news that the University of South Africa (Unisa) had conferred him with an honorary doctarate degree in community development.
In a interview shortly after accepting the honour, Namadingo said he was still in disbelief.
The artist said: “I was nominated by some people in Namibia who saw what I do. The university did background work in terms of the legitimacy of my nomination then later came to me with the news.
“They told me the reason they are decorating me is not to look cool, but help me open other doors. This honorary degree means a lot to me. The aim of my work was not to show people but to help those in need.”
The artist also said he still has ambitions to study at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, though some social media userssaid he did not qualify.
“I am a person who is eager to learn, but as you might have read on social media, I am not qualified to study at the University of Malawi. If they would invite me to study with them, I cannot turn down the offer. But for now, I am not qualified,” he said.
In conferring the award on the artist, Unisa hailed Namadingo as a change maker despite his young age. The artist is 29 years old.
“This is a young man and after seeing what he is doing at his age and it is very encouraging. We could see he is really going very far,” said the graduation’s convenor.
Amid handclapping from people that had gathered in the auditorium, the convener continued: “Patience is a very encouraging musician from Malawi. He is the brand ambassador of the FDH Bank. He has also embarked, at his young age, on different projects, including the Namadingo charity where they run projects to raise funds for the only children cancer ward in Malawi at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.
“His vision is to change the perception of what money and fame is and what you can do with those who have it and those who do not. So, professors, I ask you to confer Patience an honorary doctorate in community development,” she said.
Namadingo has among other things initiated a campaign that saw him raise over K15 million for a children’s cancer ward at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, raised faunds for cancer treatment for an up-and-coming musician William Kachigamba, initiated treatment for an ailing mother and her twins who had acute malnutrition, among other charity initiatives.
The award comes after the artist met some resistance from certain individuals after he announced his intentions to study music at Chancellor College.
One particular individual identified as Marty Marty on the social media faulted the artist, claiming in a post that Namadingo did not qualify for the university entrance. He said: “Namadingo, I know you are not qualified to study at Chanco. Today you had a meeting with management of Chanco to seek admission. Please take note that it will not work because once you are admitted, we will go to that university to get answers on the procedure that was followed to admit you.”