Moseneke's prized books, pictures and accolades find place at University of Pretoria's law library

06 August 2021 - 13:35 By naledi shange
Prof Charles Maimela, Prof Joel Modiri and Dr Dikgang Moseneke at the handover of collections of books and rare artefacts
Prof Charles Maimela, Prof Joel Modiri and Dr Dikgang Moseneke at the handover of collections of books and rare artefacts
Image: Supplied

An integral part of former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke's personal life has been cemented at the University of Pretoria. 

This week, the university announced that Moseneke had donated a large portion of his personal library to the institution. Moseneke has long-standing ties with the university which awarded him an honorary law doctorate in 2018.

The donation includes, among other items, his security file from Robben Island where he was detained for 10 years, his private annotated law reports, rare photographs and artworks from his personal, political and judicial career, as well as his awards, scrolls and trophies.

This normally happens when you have passed on, but while I am still alive UP has given me the tremendous privilege of creating a heritage space containing a number of memorable items connected with my career, that will be able to talk to the youth about our long struggles for freedom and change in our country.
Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke 

The collection will be housed in the Dikgang Moseneke Research Commons, to be constructed in the Oliver R Tambo Law Library. 

Moseneke said he was honoured that UP had found an interest in his collection, adding that the location of the university held significance to him.

“I fought most of my struggles against the apartheid government in Pretoria, and now that there is a university that is undergoing transformation in this city, I am proud to be a part of the process. UP has become a place of values that we have fought for, and those values are being lived,” Moseneke said.

He also expressed his gratitude that the university had chosen to honour him now instead of posthumously.

“In your retirement you can hardly find an honour greater than people seeking to remember your contributions in your lifetime. This normally happens when you have passed on, but while I am still alive UP has given me the tremendous privilege of creating a heritage space containing a number of memorable items connected with my career, that will be able to talk to the youth about our long struggles for freedom and change in our country.”

The university said its students would greatly benefit from having Moseneke’s valuable possessions there.

Prof Charles Maimela, deputy dean of the faculty of law, said the faculty was proud and humbled by the gesture, adding that this collection would put UP a bar higher than other universities that also offered law.

“These materials will only be stationed in our university, which will attract students nationally and across the globe to come and see and read what Dr Moseneke used while practising as a scholar and a judge. These collections will also enhance the research productivity of our faculty and UP, and this will inspire our students,” Maimela said.

He added that this was just one of several projects they wished to collaborate with Moseneke on.

Prof Elsabe Schoeman, dean of the faculty of law, said the huge privilege came with a responsibility for the university and the faculty, as they had been entrusted with Moseneke’s legacy.

“It is important for us to not only look after these books, but also to share the information with the UP community. We hope to have gatherings soon with the retired deputy chief justice after the Covid-19 regulations have been relaxed. This will be a huge motivation for our students,” said Schoeman.

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