‘Institutions have work cut out for them in dealing with fake honorary doctors’

todayNovember 9, 2023 88

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Education activist, Hendrick Makaneta, says there’s not much universities can do to prevent incidents of individuals claiming to have received degrees from various institutions in the country.

Makaneta was commenting on the recent incident where three people claimed to have received honorary doctorates from the University of South Africa (Unisa).

Malawian socialite Phemphero Mphande, musician Patience Namadingo and Mansoor Sharif Karim took to social media over the weekend, claiming to have received honorary doctorates from the university in 2020, 2022 and 2023, respectively.

A video of Mphande has also been circulating online depicting the socialite wearing a red graduation gown, at an alleged Unisa campus for the graduation ceremony.

Mphande claims he was contacted by people awarding doctorates on behalf of Unisa to recognise his work earlier in 2023.

However, the institution has refuted this and says that the document in Mphande’s possession is not a Unisa certificate.


The university says all three have never been nominated, considered or approved for such honours.

Unisa acting registrar, Professor Moloko Sepota, says no honorary degrees were awarded in 2022.




Speaking to YNews, Makaneta said it is hard to bring any charges against such individuals because it is something found only on social media.

He says sometimes scammers open social media accounts using other people’s credentials, making it hard to pin down the perpetrators.


Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris

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