A century of leadership

Celebrating 100 years of intellectual and political leadership that has catalysed seismic change in South Africa, Africa and the world.

University of Fort Hare 100 years darker logo

The University of Fort Hare opened its doors more than a century ago, on 8 February 1916. It was the first higher education institution in the country for black South Africans, but it was also open to students of all races and genders. Classes began on 22 February 1916 with just 20 students. Today, Fort Hare has grown into a multi-campus tertiary institution with a student body of over 12,000.

 

As part of our centenary year celebrations, Fort Hare presents this online exhibition narrating our profound, turbulent and determined century-long history.

 

We also invite visitors to experience our main exhibition in the De Beers Centenary Art Gallery on our Alice campus, and our heritage trail through the town of Alice and the Fort Hare campuses in Alice, East London and Bhisho.

This exhibition is just one attempt to document the foundational history of one of the African continent’s most significant places of higher learning. Join us in exploring this ongoing story of intellectual advancement, ideological uprising, struggles for freedom and the making of great minds – and still greater leaders.

 

TIMELINE

Transcending South Africa’s past to reshape its contemporary identity.

PORTRAITS

Laying the building blocks that guide us in our work today.

THEMES

Socio-political and intellectual reach beyond South Africa’s borders.

A MESSAGE FROM THE VICE CHANCELLOR

It is indeed a singular honour to take up the reins of this historic institution in the year of its Centenary and at the beginning of what will no doubt be another eventful era.

It is my pleasure to invite you to explore the University of Fort Hare Centenary Exhibition and Heritage Trail, and to learn of the key events and people that have shaped this internationally recognised crucible of African intellectual, political and cultural leadership over the past 100 years.

May this story of perseverance and fortitude inspire us to take this University to even greater heights in the years to come. Raising the profile of the University of Fort Hare is a fitting tribute and legacy to those who went before us!

 

Professor Sakhela Buhlungu

Vice Chancellor
University of Fort Hare

 

 

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© Financial Mail / Africa Media Online

CENTENARY REFLECTIONS

When I assumed duties as vice-chancellor of the University of Fort Hare in January 2008, I did not anticipate that I would still be in that position when the University celebrated its Centenary in 2016. We had just marked the 90th anniversary of Fort Hare in 2006 when I was a deputy vice-chancellor. In 2014 the University Council decided that I would see the University through its centennial celebrations. I had never in my life anticipated such an immense honour and responsibility.

As the centennial year drew closer, it was clear that a host of partnerships and alliances had to be built if the Centenary was to be celebrated in a way that befits an iconic institution such as the University of Fort Hare. It was evident from interactions with those who held Fort Hare close to their hearts that my tenure as vice-chancellor would be measured by how the Centenary year unfolded. This put significant pressure on me and everyone close to me – the management team, associates, friends and, in no small measure, my family. The centennial celebrations simply had to be a great success. It was a privilege to serve the University during such a momentous period in its history.The University of Fort Hare cannot and should not be the same as it begins its second century of life. The big question throughout the planning for the Centenary and the celebrations themselves was: how could the Centenary be leveraged to make significant, lasting improvements to the institution? The Centenary had to be as much about celebrating the preceding 100 years as laying the foundation for the success of the next 100 years. To this end, various plans were made to enhance the University’s infrastructure and academic programmes, equipping Fort Hare in its quest to become a premier African university.

The University of Fort Hare cannot and should not be the same as it begins its second century of life. The big question throughout the planning for the Centenary and the celebrations themselves was: how could the Centenary be leveraged to make significant, lasting improvements to the institution? The Centenary had to be as much about celebrating the preceding 100 years as laying the foundation for the success of the next 100 years. To this end, various plans were made to enhance the University’s infrastructure and academic programmes, equipping Fort Hare in its quest to become a premier African university.The mobilisation of alumni and others in all sectors of society is a critical requirement for the realisation of this deserving dream. Our work must continue, drawing on a century of history and the humble building blocks that have been laid in recent years.

The mobilisation of alumni and others in all sectors of society is a critical requirement for the realisation of this deserving dream. Our work must continue, drawing on a century of history and the humble building blocks that have been laid in recent years.

 

Prof Mvuyo Tom

Vice-Chancellor (2008–2016)

 

 

 

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© Financial Mail / Africa Media Online