Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) mourns the passing of Dr Tembeka Nkamba van Wyk, a woman who will be remembered for many things, not least her drive to restore both the dignity of people and the African culture.
Dr Nkamba van Wyk received an honorary doctorate in Philosophy from the university in 2011 for her contribution towards literary and cultural development and her dedication to community development.
“She had that special ability to marry her passion for people with her love for South Africa’s cultural heritage as a catalyst in creating employment,” said NMMU Director of Marketing and Corporate Relations Pieter Swart.
He added that even today, Dr Nkamba van Wyk’s contribution was evident at every turn thanks to the beaded bags that every staff member received as a gift at the end of 2014 from her company Ngezandla Zethu (Talking Beads).
Raised in the former Transkei, Dr Nkamba van Wyk attained a BA degree in Xhosa and English from the University of Fort Hare before completing an honours degree in Xhosa literature in 1976. In 1977 she enrolled for a master’s degree in Xhosa poetry, but when her parents and baby sister were tragically killed in a road accident she had to leave university and seek work to support her five sisters who were all still at school.
Moving to Johannesburg in 1978, she was employed