Second honorary doctorate for marketing doyen Thebe Ikalafeng

Brand and reputation expert Thebe Ikalafeng will be awarded an honorary doctoral degree, his second this year, when the University of South Africa concludes its autumn graduation season.

The multi-award-winning branding and reputation specialist will be conferred the honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Management Studies: Marketing, on May 30.

The ceremony will be held at the main campus in Muckleneuk, Pretoria. He joins well-renowned Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu; the first female presiding bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa Purity Malinga and the late music great Ray Phiri as some of the eminent people honoured by Unisa in the April/May graduations.


Unisa will award a total of 12 honorary doctoral degrees during the autumn graduation, which ends on May 31.

Second honorary doctorate in 2 months

This will be a second honorary doctoral degree for the founder and chairperson of Brand Africa in as many months.

Ikalafeng’s career in branding and marketing spans more than three decades in both the public and private sectors. He was awarded the honorary doctoral degree in marketing management by the University of Johannesburg in March.

UJ vice-chancellor Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi said Ikalafeng’s thought leadership, innovative initiatives, and dedication to advancing African narratives, embodies the values of excellence, leadership, and service that define UJ’s honorary doctorate recipients.

Ikalafeng’s career achievements are just as impressive as his academic qualifications.

Excellent career in marketing and brand management

The 58-year-old founded the award-winning branding, strategic communication and reputation management company, Brand Leadership Group in 2002. He has a BSc in marketing. He also holds an MBA in strategy and marketing and LLM in intellectual property law.


Ikalafeng has worked for big brands such as Nike, Colgate-Palmolive and Sun International. He has also served on various boards as a non-executive director or in an advisory capacity. These in the private and public sectors, including at South African Tourism and the World Wild Wide Fund for Nature. Also on Mercantile Bank and Mercantile Bank Holdings board.

He is also the founder and principal of Africa Brand Leadership Academy.

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