Rhodes University Bestows on Nike Okundaye-Davies, a Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree
Founder and curator of the Nike Art Galleries in Lagos, Chief Nike Okundaye-Davies and four other remarkable individuals will be honoured with honorary doctorates by Rhodes University during its 2019 annual graduation ceremonies between April 11 to 13. Professor Emeritus George Ellis, Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Professor Glenda Gray, and Professor Ian Scott will each be conferred with a Doctor of Laws (LLD) (hc), while Chief Nike Okundaye-Davies will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts (DFA) (hc).
Chief (Mrs) Okundaye-Davis, who is affectionately known as “Mama Nike”, was born in a very small village in Nigeria. As a young girl, she was a stage dancer and later became the lead actress in a local Yoruba film, called Ayaba. She has since featured in documentaries including Kindred Spirits (Smithsonian Museum) and African Voices (CNN).
Mama Nike is principally a social entrepreneur and a well-known philanthropist championing the cause of the neglected Nigerian rural women through using art as a tool. She is the managing director of Nike Centre for Art and Culture (established in 1983), owner and curator of the Nike Art Galleries in Lagos, and established the Nike Art and Culture Foundation with the aim of fostering Nigerian cultural heritage.
Over the years, Mama Nike has received several awards for her remarkable contributions to society, including an honorary certificate of merit by the Nigerian Union of Journalists in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of Nigerian cultural heritage. She was also awarded a golden plaque of excellence for being one of the leading patrons of art and culture in the state.
“It is a signal honour and distinct privilege for us as the Rhodes University community to bring these outstanding people into our family. We show gratitude to them for their notable achievements, which have all, without a doubt, changed our world for the better. Humankind is that much the better and human experience is that much the richer for their contribution. Each one of them is a role model for our students and staff, and we will continue to celebrate and promote their legacy to humanity for many generations to come,” said Dr Sizwe Mabizela, Vice-Chancellor for Rhodes University.
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