University of Cape Town: Wikis


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University of Cape Town
Coat of arms of the University of Cape Town
Motto Spes Bona
Motto in English Good Hope
Established 1 October 1829
Type Public
Endowment R1,896.4 million[1] (US$250 million as of 2010)
Chancellor Graça Machel
Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price
Staff 4,500
Students 23,500
Undergraduates 15,800
Postgraduates 6,700
Location Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
33°57′27″S 18°27′38″E / 33.9575°S 18.46056°E / -33.9575; 18.46056Coordinates: 33°57′27″S 18°27′38″E / 33.9575°S 18.46056°E / -33.9575; 18.46056
Campus 4 suburban and 2 urban campuses
Former names South African College
Colours Dark blue, light blue and white
Nickname Ikeys
Mascot Tiger
Affiliations AAU, ACU, CHEC, HESA, IAU, WUN

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is a public university located in Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. UCT was founded in 1829 as the South African College, and is the oldest university in South Africa.



The roots of UCT lie in the establishment of the South African College, a boys' school, in 1829. In 1874 the tertiary education part split off into the University and the younger students into the South African College Schools.

UCT moved to the Groote Schuur Estate campus in 1928. During the apartheid era, roughly 1960-1990, UCT consistently opposed apartheid, and was a bastion of liberalism and racial integration. 1987 particularly saw frequent clashes between protesting students and police, with reporting of police presence on the campus being censored by the government. On 24 April 1987 the police entered the campus and this marked the first time since 1972 that South Africa's police services had suppressed a demonstration at a white university.[2]

The UCT crest was designed in 1859 by Charles Davidson Bell, Surveyor-General of the Cape Colony at the time. Bell was an accomplished artist who also designed medals and the triangular Cape stamp.


A view of UCT

The main teaching campus, known as the Upper Campus, is located on the Rhodes Estate on the slopes of Devil's Peak. This campus contains, in a relatively compact site, the faculties of Science, Engineering, Commerce, and Humanities (except for the arts departments), as well as Smuts Hall and Fuller Hall residences. Upper Campus is centered on Jameson Hall, the location for graduation and other ceremonial events, as well as many examinations. The original buildings and layout of Upper Campus were designed by JM Solomon and built between 1928 and 1930. Since that time, many more buildings have been added as the university has grown. Upper Campus is also home to the main library, The Chancellor Oppenheimer library which holds the majority of the University's 1.3 million volume collection.

Contiguous with Upper Campus, but separated from it by university sports fields and the M3 freeway, are the Middle and Lower Campuses. These campuses, which are spread through the suburbs of Rondebosch, Rosebank and Mowbray, contain the Law faculty, the South African College of Music, most of the student residences, most of the university administrative offices, and various sporting facilities. The state of the art artificial grass soccer field has been approved by FIFA for training for World Cup teams.[3] The Upper, Middle and Lower Campuses together are often referred to as the "main campus".

The Faculty of Health Sciences is located on the Medical School campus next to the Groote Schuur Hospital in Observatory. The Fine Arts and Drama departments are located on the Hiddingh Campus in central Cape Town. The University's original building, now known as the Egyptian Building, on the Hiddingh campus, was built in the Egyptian Revival style. The only other campus built in this style was the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia in the United States. The UCT Graduate School of Business is located on the Breakwater Campus at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.


Jameson Hall and Jammie Plaza, the focal point of the upper campus

The organisation of the University is defined in the Statute of the University of Cape Town, in accordance with the Higher Education Act, 1997. Before 2002, it was defined by a private Act of Parliament.

The titular head of the University is the Chancellor; this is a ceremonial position without executive power. The primary role of the Chancellor is to confer degrees on behalf of the University, and to represent the University to the rest of the world. The current Chancellor is Ms Graça Machel, elected for a 10-year period in September 1999.

The executive head of the University is the Vice-Chancellor (or VC). The VC has the overall responsibility for the policy and administration of the University. The current VC is Dr Max Price, who replaced Professor Njabulo Ndebele on 1 July 2008. The VC is assisted in his task by a number of Deputy Vice-Chancellors (DVCs) who handle specific portfolios. The Registrar is responsible for the academic administration of the University, as well as legal matters, and is secretary to the University Council and Senate.

The Kramer Building, home of the Law Faculty

The academic departments of UCT are divided into six faculties: Commerce, Engineering and the Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law, and Science; each faculty is led by a Dean. The multidisciplinary Center for Higher Education Development rates on a level equal to the faculties. Although the Graduate School of Business is considered to be part of the Faculty of Commerce, it is run independently and has its own Dean and Director.

Students and staff

Tugwell and Marquard residence halls

As of 2009, 23,500 students were enrolled, of which 6,700 (28,5%) were postgraduate students. The ratio between male and female students is almost exactly 50:50. Over 50% of the student body is non-white. International students account for 19% of total student enrollment at 4300, representing over 100 countries.

UCT employs approximately 4500 staff members of whom 44% are academic staff, the rest are administrative and support staff. In 2007 UCT had 866 permanent academic staff members. Between 85% and 90% of academic staff hold doctoral or masters qualifications. The proportion of non white academic staff is currently around 23%.

Student life

UCT has 36 different sports clubs, including team sports, individual sports, extreme sports and martial arts. [4] The university's sports teams, and in particular the rugby union team, are known as the "Ikey Tigers" or the "Ikeys". The "Ikey" nickname originated in the 1910s as an anti-semitic epithet applied to UCT students by the students of Stellenbosch University, because of the supposed large number of Jewish students at UCT.[5] Stellenbosch is UCT's traditional rugby opponent; an annual "Intervarsity" match is played between the two universities.

There are more than 80 student societies at UCT; these fall generally into five categories:[6]

  • Political societies, including branches of the youth wings of national political parties.
  • Academic societies for those interested in a particular field of study or studying a particular topic.
  • Religious societies, some of which are associated with religious denominations or local places of worship.
  • National/cultural societies for students from particular countries or particular ethnic backgrounds.
  • Special interest societies for those interested in various different activities or issues.

In addition to the plethora of student societies, there are several student organisations dedicated to the development of communities surrounding the University in the Cape Metropolitan Area. Some of the biggest include: SHAWCO, Ubunye and RAG.[7]


The University of Cape Town is the highest ranking African university in both the THES - QS World University Rankings and the Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities. It achieved a rank of 146 in the 2009 THES-QS, making it the only African university in the top 200.[8][9] UCT's MBA programme was globally ranked at 89 in 2010 by the Financial Times, and was ranked second in the "value for money" category.[10]


UCT is a member of the Worldwide Universities Network, the Association of African Universities, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Cape Higher Education Consortium, Higher Education South Africa, and the International Association of Universities.

Notable alumni

Five of the University's graduates have become Nobel Laureates:

Notable staff

Notable research

  • Africa Earth Observatory Network [(AEON)] , an Earth Science initiative aiming to promote Earth Stewardship through science, with partners in Germany and France.*The Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics is an international centre for research in the fields of cosmology and topology.
  • The Centre for Rhetoric Studies, the only one of its kind on the African Continent (director: Philippe-Joseph Salazar).
  • The Department of Physics is home to the UCT-CERN research centre, which is partially responsible for the software design of the High Level Trigger component of the ALICE experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, as well as other activities related to ALICE.
  • The Department of Electrical Engineering is involved in the development of technology for the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT). KAT is a precursor to the Square Kilometer Array, a proposed International project to build the world's largest radio telescope by 2020. Research groups in RF design and digital design contribute to the RF front-end and digital back-end of the KAT project.
  • The Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine [(IIDMM)] is engaged in research on candidate tuberculosis vaccines, and is developing candidate HIV vaccines matched to the South African epidemic.


  1. ^ Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2008. University of Cape Town. p. 27. Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Cape Times, staff reporter, front page, Saturday, 25 April 1987. "Large parts of the University of Cape Town campus were at times uninhabitable yesterday afternoon and some lectures were disrupted as a result of actions by certain people which may not be reported in terms of state-of-emergency press censorship. South African Breweries suffered a R120 000 loss when a cab of one of their vehicles was burnt on the upper campus in the wake of a students’ protest march over the deaths of six railway workers and the dismissal of 16 000 others. The government’s Interdepartmental Press Liaison Centre, last night refused the Cape Times permission to publish the full facts concerning the day’s events at UCT. They also refused the newspaper permission to publish three photographs taken during the afternoon, including one of the burnt out vehicle. A four hour confrontation between the people who may not be identified and about 150 – 200 students followed a lunch time meeting attended by about 700 students, called to protest at the deaths and firing of SA Railway’s and Harbour’s Workers Union (SARHWU) on Wednesday."
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Current Sports Clubs at UCT". Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  5. ^ Swanson, Felicity (2007). "‘Die SACS kom terug’: intervarsity rugby, masculinity and white identity at the University of Cape Town, 1960s-1970s". in Field, Sean, et al. (PDF). Imagining the City: Memories and Cultures in Cape Town. Cape Town: HSRC Press. pp. 210. ISBN 0-7969-2179-2. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  6. ^ "Student Affairs: Societies". University of Cape Town. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  7. ^ "Student Community Service: SHAWCO". University of Cape Town. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^

External links



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