The University of Cape Town (UCT) is a public research university located in Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. UCT was founded in 1829 as the South African College making it the oldest higher education institute in South Africa, it is jointly the oldest university in South Africa and the oldest extant university in Sub-Saharan Africa alongside Stellenbosch University which received full university status on the same day in 1918. UCT is the highest-ranked African university in the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and its Law and Commerce Faculties are consistently placed among the hundred best internationally. The language of instruction is English.
|University of Cape Town|
Universiteit van Kaapstad
|South African College|
Motto in English
|Established||1 October 1829|
|Endowment||R5,519 million (US$426 million as of 2016)|
|Vice-Chancellor||Prof Mamokgethi Setati |
|Location||Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
|Campus||4 suburban and 2 urban campuses|
|Colours||Light Blue, Dark Blue, Black and White|
|Affiliations||AAU, ACU, CHEC, HESA, IAU, WUN|
The University of Cape Town was founded in 1829 as the South African College, a high school for boys. The College had a small tertiary-education facility that grew substantially after 1880, when the discovery of gold and diamonds in the north - and the resulting demand for skills in mining - gave it the financial boost it needed to grow. The College developed into a fully fledged university during the period 1880 to 1900, thanks to increased funding from private sources and the government.
During these years, the College built its first dedicated science laboratories, and started the departments of mineralogy and geology to meet the need for skilled personnel in the country's emerging diamond and gold-mining industries. Another key development during this period was the admission of women. In 1886 the Professor of Chemistry, Paul Daniel Hahn, convinced the Council to admit four women into his chemistry class on a trial basis. Owing to the exceptional standard of work by the women students, the College decided to admit women students permanently in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1887.
The years 1902 to 1918 saw the establishment of the Medical School, the introduction of engineering courses and a Department of Education. UCT was formally established as a university in 1918, on the basis of the Alfred Beit bequest and additional substantial gifts from mining magnates Julius Wernher and Otto Beit. The new university also attracted substantial support from well-wishers in the Cape Town area and, for the first time, a significant state grant. Ten years later, in 1928, the university was able to move the bulk of its facilities to the magnificent site at Groote Schuur on the slopes of Devil's Peak on land bequeathed to the nation by Cecil John Rhodes as the site for a national university, where it celebrated its centenary the following year.
Apart from establishing itself as a leading research and teaching university in the decades that followed, UCT earned itself this nickname during the period 1960 to 1990 for its sustained opposition to apartheid, particularly in higher education. The university admitted its first small group of black students in the 1920s. The number of black students remained relatively low until the 1980s and 90s, when the institution, reading and welcoming the signs of change in the country, committed itself to a deliberate and planned process of internal transformation. From the 1980s to the early 1990s, the number of black students admitted to the university rose by 35 percent. By 2004, nearly half of UCT's 20 000 students were black and just under half of the student body was female. Today we have one of the most diverse campuses in South Africa.
The main teaching campus, known as 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 expressway, 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, the School of Economics, 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. 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 Lodge Campus at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
For his contribution of the tract of land which the campus was founded on, a bronze statue of Cecil Rhodes was erected in 1934 on the Upper Campus, overlooking the university's rugby fields. The statue was removed in April 2015 following pressure from student groups due to its representation of South Africa's colonialist apartheid past and the university's inadequate representation of black students, faculty, and staff.
The University of Cape Town was originally incorporated as a public university by a private act of Parliament in 1918. At present it is incorporated and structured by an institutional statute issued under the provisions of the Higher Education Act, 1997.
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 her first 10-year term in September 1999 and re-elected in May 2010.
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 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. The departments of the faculties in listed beneath:
Faculty of Commerce
Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
Faculty of Health Sciences
Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Law 
Faculty of Science 
Total research funding: R1.5 billion
As of 2014, 26,357 students were enrolled. The ratio between male and female students is almost exactly 50:50. The student body makeup comprises 30.70% "SA White" students, 43.98% non-white students (SA Black, SA Coloured & SA Indian), and the remaining 25.29% identify as "international" and "other". International students account for 17.73% of total student enrollment at 4674, representing over 100 countries.
|2009||2010||2011||2012||2013||2014||% Growth||% Of Total|
UCT employs over 5000 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 UCT Employment Equity Plan April (2010 to March 2015) indicates moderate but consistent changes in the demographic makeup of the staff body. The five-year plan specifies specific targets ranging from between about 5% to 10% adjustments in the representation of SA Black staff. According to the plan the staff makeup would have changed by 2015 by achieving either parity or more SA Black staff than SA white in all categories other than senior lecturer and professor positions.
UCT has 36 different sports clubs, including team sports, individual sports, extreme sports and martial arts. 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. Stellenbosch is UCT's traditional rugby opponent; an annual "Intervarsity" match is played between the two universities. UCT has a total exceeding 9000 recognised sports participants.
There are more than 80 student societies at UCT; these fall generally into five categories:
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. Recently, several students movements have developed, such as the Green Campus Initiative.
The University of Cape Town achieved a rank of 191 in the 2018 QS World University Rankings and a rank of 171 in the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, making it the highest-ranked African university in these rankings. It is ranked in the 301-400 by the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities, placing it second in the continent behind the University of the Witwatersrand.
UCT is a member of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), the Association of African Universities, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Cape Higher Education Consortium, Higher Education South Africa, the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and the International Association of Universities.
A debate at UCT over the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes spawned Rhodes Must Fall movement. The FeesMustFall movement, which began at Wits and spread to UCT, was inspired by the Rhodes Must Fall protests.
According to GroundUp, art experts connected to the university are concerned about intolerance towards art at the institution, as UCT has removed and censored 75 further "vulnerable" art which it claims are offensive to students.
An Artworks Task Team was set up in September 2015 to assess art at the university "with a view to transformation and inclusivity", and went about finding "artworks on campus that may be seen to recognize or celebrate colonial oppressors and/or which may be offensive or controversial", and specifically artworks deemed to be "offensive" in their depiction of black people. Both Stanley Pinker’s Decline and Fall, which makes ironic use of colonial iconology, and Breyten Breytenbach's Hovering Dog, which shows a black person wearing a white mask and a white person wearing a black mask, were removed; and Diane Victor’s Pasiphaë, which depicts black farmers with allusions to Greek mythology, was covered by a wooden panel. In response, Breyten Breytenbach remarked that UCT were making fools of themselves, while Diane Victor thought UCT's actions were “slightly comical” and her artwork was being understood on a “simplistic level”.
Jacques Rousseau, chair of the Academic Freedom Committee, told GroundUp: “There are a number of artworks in UCT’s collection that could legitimately be regarded as problematic. Even so, any piece of art is potentially offensive to someone, and the very point of art is to provoke reflection and sometimes discomfort." The Academic Freedom Committee noted with "grave concern recent instances of threats to academic freedom".
The South African Human Rights Commission was investigating the matter as of May 2017, in order to determine whether the University was infringing on the constitutional right to freedom of expression, in particular the right to artistic creativity.