Ashwin Willemse. Picture: SOWETAN/SIBUSISO MSIBI
Ashwin Willemse. Picture: SOWETAN/SIBUSISO MSIBI

Former Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse has earned a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and new venture creation from the University of the Witswatersrand, with distinction.

The graduation on Thursday would have been a much needed diversion for Willemse who is involved in an ongoing dispute with SuperSport after he walked off set during live TV in May.

The 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning squad member walked out on his fellow panelists Naas Botha and Nick Mallett at the SuperSport studios in Randburg after a Super Rugby game between the Lions and the Brumbies at Ellis Park Stadium on May 19.

Willemse‚ who represented the Springboks in 19 Tests between 2003 and 2007‚ spoke of being labeled a "quota player" and refused to be "patronised by two individuals who played in an apartheid/segregated era". He went on to say he "can’t work with people who undermine other people" and that he was "glad it happened on live TV so that people can see".

Mallett‚ who coached the Springboks between 1997 and 2000‚ played two Tests for the Springboks in 1984 while Botha’s 28 Springbok Tests were between 1980 and 1992. Although SuperSport cleared both Mallett and Botha of racism‚ it is still unclear when they will resume studio duties.

Botha is overseas and Mallett is on vacation locally.

Last month, Willemse confirmed through his legal representatives that he would approach the Equality Court for relief after SuperSport’s findings that cleared the two men of racism.