University of Cape Town

University of Cape Town

Infobox University
name = University of Cape Town

motto = Spes Bona
"Good Hope"
established = 1 October 1829
type = Public
staff = 2,510
chancellor = Graça Machel
vice_chancellor = Dr Max Price
students = 21,713
undergrad = 15,539
postgrad = 6,174
city = Cape Town
state = Western Cape
country = South Africa
campus = 4 suburban and 2 urban campuses
colours = Dark blue, light blue and white
endowment = R1.15 billion [cite news | first = Hugh | last = Amoore | title = Council Notes | url = | work = Monday Paper | publisher = UCT | page = 4 | date = 2008-03-03 | accessdate = 2008-03-07 | quote = The value of the permanent endowment as at 30 September 2007 was R1.15 billion.]
mascot = Tiger
nickname = Ikeys
affiliations = AAU, ACU, CHEC, HESA, IAU
website = []
The University of Cape Town (UCT), is a public university located on the Rhodes Estate on the slopes of Devil's Peak, 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 University of Cape Town is the highest ranking African university in both the THES - QS World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. It is the only African university to make it into the top 200 of the THES-QS ranking.


The main teaching campus, known as the Upper Campus, is located on the slopes of Devil's Peak. This campus contains, in a relatively compact site, the faculties of Science, Engineering, Commerce, and most of the faculty of Humanities, as well as the residences Smuts Hall and Fuller Hall. 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.

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 distributed 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 many sporting facilities. The Upper, Middle and Lower Campuses together are often referred to as the "main campus" or the "Rondebosch Campus".

The Faculty of Health Sciences is located on the Medical School campus at the Groote Schuur Hospital. The Fine Arts and Drama departments are located on the Hiddingh Campus in central Cape Town. The [ UCT Graduate School of Business] is located on the Breakwater Campus at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.


The organisation of the University is defined in the Statute of the University of Cape Town (gazetted in 2002) in accordance with the Higher Education Act of 1997. Before 2002 the organisation was defined in other laws in essentially the same format.

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). There are currently four DVCs - three of them Acting DVCs pending new appointments - each with specific portfolios:
*Prof. Thandabantu Nhlapo: Student Affairs
*Prof. Martin Hall: Planning & Development (until 31st August 2008)
*Prof. Danie Visser (Acting): Research & Innovation
*Prof. Cyril O'Connor (Acting): Operational matters including planning
*Prof. Daya Reddy (Acting): Academic Matters

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 current Registrar is Mr Hugh Amoore, appointed in 1987.

UCT is divided into six faculties, each led by a Dean. The faculties and deans are as follows:
*Faculty of Commerce: Prof. Melvin Ayogu
*Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment: Prof. Francis Peitersen
*Faculty of Health Sciences: Prof. Marian Jacobs
*Faculty of Humanities: Prof. Paula Ensor
*Faculty of Law: Prof. Hugh Corder
*Faculty of Science: Prof. Kathy DriverThe Centre for Higher Education Development, an academic unit alongside the faculties, rates as a faculty and is led by a dean, Associate Prof. Nan Yeld.

Although the [ UCT 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, Prof. Frank M Horwitz

tudents and staff

As of 2005, 21,713 students were enrolled, of which 6,174 (28%) were postgraduate students. 10,751 (49.5%) were male and 10,980 (50.5%) were female. 3,795 students (18%) were described as "Black", 2,758 (13%) were described as "Coloured", 1,440 (7%) were described as "Asian", and 9,185 (42%) were described as "White". (The remainder were described as "Other" or were foreign students.) [cite book| title = Authorities & Information of Record | url = | format = PDF | accessdate = 2006-04-16 | year = 2006 | publisher = University of Cape Town | location = Cape Town | id = Student Handbook 2 | pages = 31] In the December 2005 graduation ceremonies 4,354 degrees and diplomas were awarded, including 72 PhDs. [cite web | publisher=University of Cape Town | title=Statistics: Graduation 2005 | url= | accessdate=2006-04-16 ]

As of 2004 the university had 2,510 permanent members of staff. [cite book | title = Executive Summary: Audit Report on the University of Cape Town | url = | accessdate = 2006-04-16 | year = 2006 | month = March | publisher = [ Council on Higher Education] [ Higher Education Quality Committee] | location = Pretoria | pages = 10]

ports, clubs, and traditions

UCT has 36 different sports clubs, including team sports, individual sports, extreme sports and martial arts. [cite web |url= |title=Current Sports Clubs at UCT |accessdate=2007-06-08] 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 originated 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. [cite book |last=Swanson |first=Felicity |editor=Field, Sean, et al. |title=Imagining the City: Memories and Cultures in Cape Town |url= |format=PDF |accessdate=2007-06-08 |year=2007 |publisher=HSRC Press |location=Cape Town |isbn=0-7969-2179-2 |pages=210 |chapter=‘Die SACS kom terug’: intervarsity rugby, masculinity and white identity at the University of Cape Town, 1960s-1970s |chapterurl=] 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: [cite web |url= |title=Student Affairs: Societies |accessdate=2007-06-08 |publisher=University of Cape Town]
* 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.


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.Cape Times, staff reporter, front page, Saturday, April 25 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."] The official student newspaper, Varsity, frequently had its journalists and editors come under scrutiny from the ruling apartheid National Party government.

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.


UCT is a member of 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

Four of the University's graduates have become Nobel Laureates:
**Max Theiler, virologist awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951 for developing a vaccine against yellow fever.
**Professor Allan McLeod Cormack (Medicine, 1979)
**Sir Aaron Klug (Chemistry, 1982)
**Professor Emeritus J. M. Coetzee (Literature, 2003)

Notable staff

*Cosmologist George Ellis, collaborator with Stephen Hawking and winner of the 2004 Templeton Prize, is Distinguished Professor of Complex Systems in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
*Author Andre Brink is a professor in the English Language and Literature Department.
*Author Breyten Breytenbach is from January 2000 a visiting professor in the Graduate School of Humanities.
*Professor David H.M.Brooks (1950-1996), Inspirational UCT Philosopher, author of 'On living in an Unjust Society', and 'The Unity of the Mind'
*The staff of UCT contains 27 "A-rated" scientists (rated by the National Research Foundation), meaning that they are world leaders in their fields of research.
*Helen Zille, current mayor of Cape Town, was formerly Director of Public Relations for the university.
*Chemist William Sage Rapson was a professor in the Chemistry Department.

Notable research

*The Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics is an international centre for research in the fields of cosmology and topology.
*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.


* [ Statute of the University of Cape Town] , Government Notice No. 1199, 20 September 2002.

External links

* [ UCT website]
** [ UCT campus maps]
** [ UCT Graduate School of Business]
** [ UCT Libraries]

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