The Commonwealth University and London Graduate School has bestowed an Honourary Doctorate on Mr. John Tsebe, immediate past president of the African Library & Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA). “The ultimate benefit of one’s essence to mankind is to sacrifice for, serve and improve society through ones field of endeavour. Librarianship continues to afford me the opportunity to do just that for the good of society”. These were the words of wisdom from former AfLIA President, who with a standing commendation accepted the honorary doctoral degree from the Commonwealth University and London Graduate School as an honour reserved for persons who have distinguished themselves professionally through meritorious service that impacted many lives positively.
John K. Tsebe served as the President of AfLIA from 2015-2017 and 2017-2019. Mr. Tsebe is one of the founding members of the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA). He had served as Vice Chair and then Chair of the Forum of University Librarians of South Africa (FULSA). He was instrumental to the transformation of FULSA into the new Committee of Higher Education Librarians of South Africa (CHELSA). Working with the South African National Council for Library and Information Services (NCLIS), he coordinated the drafting of the Library and Information Services Transformation Charter for South Africa. This was completed and submitted to the Department of Arts and Culture in February 2014, before his retirement.
He has chaired the Executive Committee of the Standing Conference of African National and University Libraries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (SCANUL-ECS) for two terms (1998-2000 and 2000-2002). Mr. John Tsebe was National Librarian and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) from March 2004 – February 2014. During that period, he became the Chair, CDNL – Committee of National Librarians (2009 – 2014), a global Body for National Librarians all over the world. He has also served OCLC and UNESCO in different capacities.
The former AfLIA President schooled at the University of the North (now University of Limpopo) for six years for his undergraduate and post graduate studies. He got his Master’s degree in Library and Information from Syracuse University School of Information Studies, Syracuse, New York, USA and an MPA from Harvard University, Cambridge, USA. Recently Syracuse University recognized alumni that have distinguished themselves since the foundation of the Institution in 1879. Joe Biden, the former US Vice President as well as Mr. John K. Tsebe were named! He was honoured as one of the alumni who has consistently gone on to gain national and international acclaim for illustrious contribution and renowned accomplishments in the Information Profession.
Saying well deserved for this honour will be a gross understatement from us at AfLIA. Dr. Tsebe’s contribution to the growth of AfLIA can never be quantified. But for his professionalism, wisdom, boldness, honesty, truth telling even at the peril of being a lone ranger, and his unifying spirit, AfLIA would not have been at the high level that it is now. AfLIA is especially proud and happy that this great man is being honoured while alive. AfLIA heartily congratulates and thanks Dr. Tsebe for having been there and standing up for her. AfLIA will still treasure his contributions as the IPP of AfLIA. Congratulations to a worthy ambassador, Dr. John Tsebe!!