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Rhodes University
Rhodes University logo.jpg
Rhodes University coat of arms
Motto Vis, virtus, veritas
Motto in English Strength, courage, truth
Established May 31, 1904
Type Public
Chancellor Jakes Gerwel
Vice-Chancellor Saleem Badat
Staff 295
Students 5,583
Undergraduates 4,456
Postgraduates 1,127
Location Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Campus Urban
Colours Purple     
Nickname Rhodian
Affiliations AAU, ACU, HESA, IAU
Rhodes University Logo

Rhodes University (Rhodes) is a public university located in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, being named after Cecil Rhodes. The university has an enrollment of over 5,500 undergraduate and graduate students, about 3,000 of whom live in residences on campus. The remaining students rent out flats or live in their own homes in the town.



The Sir Herbert Baker clocktower at the heart of the Rhodes campus

University education in the Eastern Cape began in the college departments of four schools: St Andrew’s, Grahamstown; Gill College, Somerset East; Graaff-Reinet College; and the Grey Institute in Port Elizabeth. The four St Andrew’s College professors, Arthur Matthews, George Cory, Stanley Kidd and GF Dingemans became founding professors of the Rhodes University College.

At the beginning of 1905, Rhodes moved from cramped quarters at St Andrew’s to the Drostdy building, which it bought from the British Government. Rhodes became a constituent college of the new University of South Africa in 1918 and it continued to expand in size. When the future of the University of South Africa came under review in 1947, Rhodes opted to become an independent university.

Rhodes University was inaugurated on 10 March 1951. Sir Basil Schonland, son of Selmar Schonland, became the first Chancellor of his alma mater, and Dr Thomas Alty the first Vice-Chancellor. In terms of the Rhodes University Private Act, the University College of Fort Hare was affiliated to Rhodes University. This mutually beneficial arrangement continued until the apartheid government decided to disaffiliate Fort Hare from Rhodes. The Rhodes Senate and Council objected strongly to this, and to the Separate University Education Bill, which they condemned as interference with academic freedom. However, the two bills were passed, and Fort Hare’s affiliation to Rhodes came to an end in 1959.

James Hyslop succeeded Alty in 1963. In 1971 Rhodes negotiated to purchase the closed Community of the Resurrection Training College buildings and grounds and a number of adjacent buildings, facilitating further expansion.

The old part of the Rhodes University campus -- looking across the Great Fields towards the Student Union building and the science buildings.
Kimberley Hall is currently one of nine halls on campus.
The new Eden Grove building at Rhodes University.



Faculties and Schools

Rhodes has six faculties, listed below:

  • Humanities (1952)
  • Commerce
  • Law
  • Science
  • Education
  • Pharmacy

The six faculties are further subdivided into 30 academic departments, of which 11 form part of the humanities faculty. The humanties faculty, being the largest in the university, consists of 40% of the student intake of undergraduate and postgraduate studies, enrolling 2669 students as of 2009.[1]



There are two student newspapers, Activate and The Oppidan Press. Activate has been around for decades, while The Oppidan Press was first published in 2007, with its target readership being mainly Oppidans.


In 2009 Webometrics ranked Rhodes University 5th in Africa.[2]


Rhodes University has a large number of active sports clubs on campus. There are some 29 clubs on offer covering a wide variety of interest areas and students are encouraged to take part on a social, recreational or competitive level. Some of the facilities on campus include:

  • Floodlit Artificial Hockey Surface
  • Heated Swimming Pool
  • Multi-user Clubhouse
  • Two Floodlit Rugby Fields
  • Beach Volleyball Court
  • Cricket Fields
  • Martial Arts Dojo
  • Rowing / Sailing Clubhouse at Settlars Dam
  • Floodlit Grass Hockey Field
  • Weight Training Facility
  • Floodlit Soccer Fields
  • Aerobics & Table Tennis Hall
  • 9 Tennis Courts (6 floodlit)
  • Spinning Studio
  • 9 Squash Courts
  • Indoor Climbing Wall
  • Rowing Tank
  • Basketball, Volleyball & Badminton Hall
  • Floodlit Athletics Track
  • Outdoor Floodlit Basketball & Netball Court
  • 50m Floodlit Rifle Range
  • 100m Floodlit Archery Range
  • 2 Floodlit Grass Netball Courts

Notable alumni and staff

Notable alumni: general

Notable alumni: journalists, media celebrities in South Africa

One of the most well known departments on the Rhodes campus is the university's school of Journalism and Media Studies, through which many of South Africa's most notable media celebrities have passed. There are also an especially high number of radio celebrities who graduated at Rhodes - many of them having spent time with the university's campus radio station Rhodes Music Radio.

Some of the important media celebrities and industry figures from Rhodes include:

  • Jeremy Mansfield - South African radio host, television presenter, comedian
  • Anand Naidoo - Anchor & Correspondent for Al Jazeera English based in Washington DC.
  • Haru Mutasa - Correspondent for Aljazeera International.
  • Kyle Hannan - Director of BCFM in Bristol, national UK satellite radio presenter and manager of the UK's first combined Muslim and Jewish broadcaster Radio Salaam Shalom.
  • Zaa Nkweta - Former Carte Blanche presenter

Notable staff

  • André Brink - Lecturer in Afrikaans and Dutch literature, (1961 - 1990).
  • Obie Oberholzer - Contemporary South African Photographer, author of several pictorial books.[1]
  • Avery Clare - artist (taught in Dept of Fine Art 1973-1984).
  • Julian Cobbing - Professor of African History. Wrote an influential and controversial theory on the nature of the Mfecane.
  • Don Maclennan - professor of English and poet; began teaching at Rhodes in 1966, continued teaching a weekly seminar after his retirement in 1984.
  • Ward Jones - current associate professor of Philosophy.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^

External links

Coordinates: 33°18′53″S 26°31′15″E / 33.31468°S 26.52091°E / -33.31468; 26.52091


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