Then & Now

Then & Now


The University of the Western Cape is an apartheid creation which has a history of creative struggle against oppression, discrimination and poverty. It was established in 1959 as a university college for “non-whites other than Bantu”.


In the ’70s and ‘80s, UWC rejected the ideological foundations on which it was established. In its intellectual struggle against apartheid, it researched what the state neglected, became a home for the disadvantaged, adopted an open admissions policy, and encouraged African applicants to enrol. Identifying with the university`s academic and political goals, Desmond Tutu, an iconic figure in the struggle for social justice, became UWC`s Chancellor in 1987.


With the advent of democracy in 1994, a large part of South Africa’s new leadership came from UWC. The university also possessed a body of relevant research that informed policy development. Since then, it has continued to be at the forefront of the intellectual debate around, and the implementation of, the country`s transformation.


Today, true to its commitment to the disadvantaged, UWC provides education of a high quality, leads South Africa in several fields of research, and makes a major contribution to the nation`s human resources needs. Remarkably, it achieves this while keeping fees low in response to the challenging socio-economic circumstances faced by most of its students.


Currently, UWC is amongst the best universities in Africa, is the single largest producer of Black graduates in South Africa, and celebrates its growth in postgraduate and research focuses.


The university has seven faculties: Arts, Community and Health Sciences, Dentistry, Economic and Management Sciences, Education, Law and Natural Sciences.


In addition to its undergraduate degrees, UWC is home to a number of research schools, institutes and centres – all carrying out cutting-edge work geared towards building a better society for all.


With its modernised teaching facilities, the university has demolished its prefab past and is now firmly positioned to play a leading academic role in helping to shape the future.


Be a part of that dynamic movement!

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