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PPrior to 1994, the University of Cape Town was regarded by the authorities as a place of radicals because of students’ sustained opposition to the apartheid policies applied to institutions of higher learning. It’s therefore not a surprise that the “Rhodes Must Fall” movement started here, eventually giving rise to the national “Fees Must Fall” protests, where students demanded free university education.
You can’t miss it – drive along the M3 in Cape Town and you’ll notice stunning ivy-clad buildings, long lawns, and playing fields, all set dramatically against the mountain. UCT is one of the country's oldest universities and a leading higher education institute in South Africa.
IIn 1829, the South African College Schools (SACS), a school for boys was built. Then between 1880 and 1900, the Gold Rush happened and the college developed into a university where engineers and academics could be trained (SACS is now in Newlands).
The University of Cape Town
IIn 1928, Upper Campus was built on land bequeathed by colonialist Cecil John Rhodes. In 2015, calls to have his statue removed turned into a full movement. The statue was taken down and the Fees Must Fall movement spread throughout the country.
The University of Cape Town has some less controversial—but no less famous—alumni. There are three Nobel laureates – author JM Coetzee, biophysicist Sir Aaron Klug, and nuclear physicist Professor Allan McLeod Cormack who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1979 for his work on diagnostic imaging. Another famous alumnus is Professor Chris Barnard, the first man in the world to perform a heart transplant.
UCT enrols about 26 000 students annually, 5000 of whom are international students from more than 100 countries, with half of these from our neighbouring SADC countries, and a further 1000 participants in the Semester Study Abroad programme.
UCT is among the top 10 universities in the BRICS countries and is consistently the top-ranked university in Africa.