The Wool Exchange

The Wool Exchange building is the historic heart of Fort Hare’s East London campus. Completed in 1930, the building was a trading centre for merchants, buyers and brokers in early East London’s flourishing wool trade. The trade eventually moved to Port Elizabeth and the Exchange became a satellite campus of Rhodes University in 1982. In 2004 the campus was incorporated into Fort Hare under the nationwide restructuring of higher education. Today, it houses the University’s administrative offices and is part of a growing campus which is helping to catalyse East London’s rebirth.

Students gather outside the Wool Exchange building on Fort Hare’s East London campus during the Fees Must Fall protests in September 2016. While the wide avenues outside the Wool Exchange were originally designed to accommodate the spatial needs of ox-wagons loaded with wool, they have in recent years also lent themselves to the convergence of demonstrating students who want to have their voices heard. © Sino Majangaza / Daily Dispatch