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TThe University of South Africa (UNISA) is one of the oldest universities in the country, and one of the largest universities in the world. Its roots date back 130 years, when it was originally called The University of the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1916, the name was changed to the University of South Africa, and in 1918 it moved from Cape Town to Pretoria. In 1946 the university changed its focus to become a distance education university.
TThis grand institute of higher learning, resting on the Muckleneuk Ridge as you enter Pretoria, has a long heritage of service to the country. With over 300 000 students and 4000 teaching staff, UNISA is one of the largest universities in the world, and offers certificate, degree, diploma and doctoral level courses.
TThe university boasts a colourful repertoire of alma maters such as Nelson Mandela; Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe; anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Kathrada; President Cyril Ramaphosa; Cabinet minister and former political prisoner, Tokyo Sexwale; and Walter Battiss, a South African abstract painter.
UUNISA also plays hosts to one of the most anticipated annual lectures, The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture Dialogue Series. The series is a significant event on the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory's calendar. It presents a unique platform to drive engagement on significant social issues. The lecture has had the privilege of hosting global thought leaders and shape-shifters including former presidents Bill Clinton and Thabo Mbeki; Nobel Laureates Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu and Mohammad Yunus; and professors Ariel Dorfman and Ismail Serageldin.
AAt the university you can also visit the UNISA Space Art Gallery. Established in 1986, the gallery hosts a variety of exhibitions every year, focussing on the diversity of the country as well as other relevant aspects of the arts. The gallery is also a centre for research with its publicly accessible online inventory of catalogues and permanent art collections. It not only serves as a traditional gallery and exhibition space, but it is also a place of knowledge and research. Tours and workshops are offered to visitors, staff and students.
Take a tour of Soweto, Johannesburg’s vibrant city-within-a-city – apart from learning the history of the struggle against apartheid, you can immerse yourself in a modern urban vibe with lots to do.
Soweto Bicycle Tours let you explore South Africa’s most famous township’s streets with a qualified guide, taking in historical sites like the former homes of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu.
South African urban architectural design tours introduce visitors to the eclectic array of styles and influences behind the country’s most iconic buildings.
South Africans are a diverse mix of peoples from Africa, Europe, Asia and elsewhere, and the many museums scattered around the country preserve rich histories, heritages and cultural traditions.
South Africa is a country of rich religious diversity, protected by the Constitution, so explore sacred architecture and spiritual traditions at our many historic places of worship.
Wits Art Museum – part of the University of the Witwatersrand – houses an African art collection that was started in the 1920s and includes masks, photographs, paintings and more.
There are many well-known historic and contemporary art works on display in art museums and galleries in each of South Africa's 9 provinces, with many important permanent art collections centred in the country's major cities.