School of Media, Film and Music


University honours South African activist and film composer at graduation

Zackie Achmat

John Altman

The University will award two honorary degrees at the winter graduation ceremonies this week.

Human rights campaigner Zackie Achmat will be made Doctor of the University at the ceremony on Thursday afternoon (26 January).

Zackie Achmat initiated the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality in South Africa and, as its director, successfully saw through campaigns to retain a clause prohibiting discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the Bill of Rights. He subsequently, and successfully, brought several cases to the Constitutional Court, cases that are taught in law schools in South Africa today.

He is being presented at the ceremony by Professor of Global Studies Richard Black, who says: “Zackie Achmat’s political skill in holding together this national coalition and his ability to influence to the national political agenda are a ‘model’ for activism.”

BAFTA-winning composer, musician and conductor John Altman will be made Doctor of Music at the Friday afternoon ceremony (27 January).

Sussex alumnus John Altman has a long and distinguished career in music, including performing with Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Sting.

His film credits include period music for Titanic and, with some 5,000 TV commercials behind him, he is cited as among the top composers in British advertising.

He is being presented by the Head of Music, Dr Nicholas McKay, who says: “John Altman’s distinctive qualities can be summarised as the sheer range and diversity of his musical talents and outputs relative to others in the profession; his extensive philanthropic work; his vast array of networks developed over many decades; and his ability to demonstrate the importance and value of making relatively ‘unseen’/’background’ contributions that are fundamental to the success of work of great prominence.”

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2012