Potchefstroom Campus

Potchefstroom Campus

The Potchefstroom campus of the North-West University (nicknamed "Pukke") was formerly known as the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (abbreviated PU for CHE). It is a medium-sized South African university. Tuition is mainly in Afrikaans on the Potchefstroom campus and in English on the other campuses in Mafikeng, Mankwe and the Vaal Triangle (situated in Vanderbijlpark).


Potchefstroom University developed out of the Theological School of the Reformed Churches in South Africa ("Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid-Afrika" in Afrikaans, abbreviated as "GKSA"), which was founded on 29 November 1869 in Burgersdorp. At the founding meeting, it was decided that education would also be offered to prospective teachers and to persons without any particular profession in mind.

Initially, there were only five students and two lecturers.

In 1877 a "Literary Department" was established, with one professor, with the specific aim of educating students for academic degrees or as teachers.

In 1905, the Theological School, including the Literary Department, was transferred from Burgersdorp to Potchefstroom.

In order to qualify for government subsidies, the Literary Department was separated from the Theological School in 1919 and the Potchefstroom University College for Christian Higher Education ("Het Potchefstroom Universiteitskollege voor Christelike Hooger Onderwijs" in Afrikaans, and usually abbreviated as PUK) came into being. It was decided that the PUK would be a higher education institute separate and independent from the GKSA, although the PUK would continue to train GKSA ministers.

In 1921, the Potchefstroom University College (without the "for Christian Higher Education" suffix), was incorporated into the University of South Africa; the PUK only got the "for Christian Higher Education" part of its name back in 1933.

The Potchefstroom University College for Christian Higher Education was officially recognised as an independent university and was renamed the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education in 1951.

In 1993, Private Law status was established. In 1998, the statutes of the PUK were amended in order to enable her to better fulfill her role as part of the co-ordinated higher education system in South Africa according to her original mandate as an institution of Christian higher education.

The Vaal Triangle Campus of the University was established in Vanderbijlpark in 1966 in order to provide that area with tertiary education.

In the same year, the first online courses were offered. Students were offered interactive courses, the systematic application of multimedia. To facilitate the learning process, over 25 study centres were established country-wide.

On 1 January 2000, the Potchefstroom Onderwyskollege was incorporated with the Potchefstroom University's Potchefstroom campus.

In 2004 the Potchefstroom University became one of the four campuses of the new North-West University (the others being in Mafikeng, Mankwe and Vanderbijlpark - the Mankwe campus was closed by end of 2004).

* Natural Sciences (1922)
* Theology (1930)
* Education Sciences (1935)
* Economic and Management Sciences (1942)
* Law (1966)
* Engineering (1983)
* Health Sciences (1999)


The University has several touring groups.

One of these, the "Alabama Student Company" musical revue group, which was formed in 1943, was well-known throughout South Africa. This group was disbanded in 2006.

The PUK-choir is famous across the world. Choir master prof. Awie van Wyk has been directing this choir for years.

Student numbers and statistics

In August 2004, the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University had 33,713 students. Of these, 13,021 were male and 20,692 female. Undergraduate students numbered 31,300 and postgraduate students 2,413.

Famous alumni

* Frederik Willem de Klerk State President of South Africa (1989-1994); Vice President of South Africa, with Nelson Mandela as President (1994-1996).
* Marike de Klerk Former first lady of South Africa and leader of the National Party's women's wing. She studied commerce at the university.
* Rina Hugo [http://www.rinahugo.co.za] , well known singer received her B.Mus degree in 1970. She was a member of the "Alabama Studentegeselskap". She performed in nearly all genres as soloist: Opera, Oratorium, Operetta, Musical theatre and popular Afrikaans music.
* Kobie van Rensburg [http://www.kobievanrensburg.de] is an international opera tenor who currently operates from Germany. He was a member of the Potchefstroom University Choir (1987-1994).
* Martin Watt a well-known South African composer.
* Pieter Mulder a South African politician and leader of the Freedom Front Plus.
* Johan Heyns an influential Afrikaner theologian and moderator of the general synod of the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK). He played a major role in dismantling support for Apartheid in the NGK.
* Deon Maas is a controversial journalist, radio personality and a judge of the Afrikaans version of Idols.
* Niekie van den Berg is one of the country's most famous radio personalities.
* Henno Mentz is a former Springbok rugby player.
* Godfrey Khotso Mokoena, silver medal winner in long jump at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
* Justine Robbeson a South African athlete who specialises in the javelin throw.

Commercial products and Patents

CFAM - Centre for Advanced Manufacturing

Examples of typical projects manufactured by CFAM are:
* Twin-screw extruder screw segments
* Twin-screw extruder barrels and barrel segments
* Extrusion dies and kneading/paddle blocks
* Defense industry components
* Components for mining and rock drilling industry
* Retrofitting of mechanical components for twin-screw extruders

CTexT - Centre for Text Technology

* Spelling checkers [http://www.spel.co.za/] for several South_african languages including Afrikaans, Setswana, Sesotho sa Leboha (Pedi), isiZulu, isiXhosa
* TSENANG! SETSWANA is a multimedia language acquisition programme
* NGENANI! ISIZULU is a multimedia language acquisition programme

Student lab [http://www.studentlab.co.za]

* Student Lab Small Scale Chemistry laboratory

External links

* [http://www.puk.ac.za Pothefstoom Campus Website]
* [http://www.nwu.ac.za North-West University Website]

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