Iona House

Iona House became the third male residence at Fort Hare when it opened in 1923. Its original 1920s structure remains intact, even though the building had to undergo dramatic repairs after a fire in 2006. Iona House was a Presbyterian residence in its earlier days and the students who lived here were nicknamed “Porcupines”. In those days, Iona usually housed international students and South African students from beyond the Eastern Cape. Famous residents have included Njoroge Mungai of Kenya, Orton Chirwa of Malawi and South Africa’s Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Iona House (left) is pictured in its early days in this undated photograph. The warden’s house can be seen to the right. The sparse landscape surrounding it is somewhat different from its current surrounds. The first section of Iona House was completed in 1923, but it was soon extended to accommodate more students, or “Porcupines” as residents of Iona House were called by their fellow students. © University of Fort Hare