Honours, Awards and Distinctions


  • Professor Makgoba has been awarded the MRC President’s Award for Exceptional Contributions to Medical Research. The Award was made in recognition of his exceptional contributions to medical research and is among the highest honours bestowed by the MRC.

  • The eThekwini Living Legends Award was awarded to Professor Malegapuru Makgoba for his critical contribution to the field of medicine. The Awards acknowledge individuals with ‘outstanding achievements, and those who have demonstrated a sustained and extraordinary contribution in various categories of expertise’.

  • Professor Makgoba was honoured by President Jacob Zuma with the Order of Mapungubwe (Silver) 'for his dedication and excellent contribution to the field of science and medicine, locally and internationally; and for his contribution to the building of democracy in South Africa. He is an outstanding academic and a pioneer of transformation in higher education.'



  • Professor Makgoba was the first recipient of the South African-German Science Award in the category of Top Researcher,“for having made outstanding extraordinary contribution(s) of international standard and impact to the development of science, in and for South Africa, over an extended period of time", 2012;
  • Professor Makgoba was the recipient of The National Research Foundation President’s Life Time Achiever Award  on 1st September 2011 “for having made outstanding extraordinary contribution(s) of international standard and impact to the development of science, in and for South Africa, over an extended period of time";
  • Professor Makgoba was elected Vice-President for Planning and Review of the International  Council for Science (ICSU), 30th September 2011;
  • Recipient of the 2011 Le Matinel Educational Excellence Award for “Outstanding Contribution to Education”, 14th December 2011;

  • Imperial College, London Fellowship of Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, in recognition of his “ outstanding contributions to medical research, international public health and university administration’”(June 2007); 

  • The World Medical Association recognition, in 2006, as one of “65 Most Caring Physicians of the World”;
  • The Vice-Chancellor and Newsmaker of the Year (2006) and Vice-Chancellor Golden Award from UNITECH (2004 and 2005), which recognises ‘contribution to public debates on Higher Education, exceptional and innovative leadership in Marketing, Communication and Development’;

  • The Golden Jubilee Award from the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa in “recognition of his contribution in the field of Immunology and research and particularly also in transforming research in South Africa while President of the Medical Research Council and for his role in transformation of Higher Education in South Africa” in 2005;
  • The South African Medical Association honour for “his outstanding contribution to Medical Sciences in South Africa” in 2005;

  • The 2004 Limpopo Morula Award in the ‘Academic’ category in recognition of his achievements and contribution to development in South Africa;
  • The Old Mutual South African Leadership Award in Education (2004);

  • Joint first recipient of the Science for Society-Gold-Medal of the Academy of Science of South Africa (2003);

  • Presenter of  the James C. Hill Memorial Lecture on HIV/AIDS at the National Institute of Health in 2001;
  • Gold Medal for “outstanding leadership in medical research” (University of the Witwatersrand) 2001;
  • Delivered the 2001 Bernard Pimstone Lecture at University of Cape Town;
  • Invited speaker at the Karolinska Institutet 119 Nobel Symposium on “Global HIV Therapeutics-Vaccines June 2001;
  • Elected Foreign Associate Member of the Institute of Medicine of National Academy of Sciences, USA;

  • The Dr G E Malherbe Award for “outstanding contribution to Education, Science and Industry” (University of Natal Convocation 2000);
  • Featuring together with Drs R Gallo, L Montagnier  and Guy De The in the book  “les rendez-vous de la Tour Eiffel: Stars & Personnalite’s, 2000, Ed. Carole Morgane;

  • Selected by the World Federation of Scientists (Erice) together with Drs R Gallo and L Montagnier (co-discoverers of HIV) to promote the development of an HIV Vaccine for the world on Worlds AIDS Day, 1 December 1999, Paris;

  • Mokoko -The Makgoba Affair: A Reflection on Transformation,  Short-listed for the Sunday Times Literary Award, the Alan Paton Prize 1998;

  • Columnist for Higher Education Review in 1996;
  • Columnist for the Cape Argus in 1996;

  • Quarterly correspondent for the Times Higher Education Supplement on World Education outside Europe 1994-1995;

  • The British National Museum of Science and Industry selected his work in 1994, published in The Lancet (1993) for a permanent display for ‘popularizing state-of-the-art science in the 20th Century’;

  • The United Kingdom Department of Health's National Health Service Distinction and Meritorious Award 1990;
  • Elected fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London; 
  • Promoted as Reader in Molecular Endocrinology, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London in 1990;
  • Recognised Teacher of the University of London 1990;

  • Co-authoring two of the most cited papers in Immunology according to data from Science Citation Index 1989;
  • Co-authoring "the most often cited, vintage/standout paper” within 18 months of publication in the Life Sciences Category according to Data from the Science Citation Index and the SAMJ 1989;

  • The American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) Travel Award for Research into lymphocyte cell-cell adhesion molecules 1987;

  • Outstanding Young South African Award by JAYCEE S.A. for “Academic Excellence and Contributions in Immunobiology” in 1986;

  • Kolia Prize in Paediatrics for Highest Marks in 1976;
  • The Natal University Medicine Prize for the Higher Marks in Internal Medicine in 1976;
  • The Hoechst Award in Medicine for “Highest Marks and Student Showing Great Promise” in 1976;
  • Recipient of The University of Natal Certificate of Merit in “ Medicine” in 1976.

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