University of Fort Hare

University of Fort Hare is a public university located in Alice, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The University's history is a microcosm of the struggle for racial equality in South Africa. Founded in 1916 on the site of a former British military fort, it began life as the South African Native College, ironically established amidst the remnants of colonial power.  With a focus on "plain living and high thinking," the early years were marked by a Western-style education heavily influenced by Christian missionaries.  Despite this Eurocentric approach, the college emerged as a vital platform for nurturing a new generation of African leadership.  Students from across sub-Saharan Africa flocked to its halls, fostering a vibrant intellectual exchange and a growing sense of pan-African identity.

The rise of apartheid in 1948 cast a long shadow over the college.  The Afrikaner Nationalist government saw independent thought among black students as a threat, and the institution's affiliation with Rhodes University was severed. Renamed the University College of Fort Hare, it became a black university under tighter government control.  This period, however, also witnessed a surge of student activism. Inspired by figures like Nelson Mandela, who himself studied at Fort Hare, students protested racial discrimination and the limitations imposed by the apartheid regime.  The institution became a crucible of resistance, its halls echoing with the sounds of protests and calls for social justice. In 1970, Fort Hare was finally granted full university status, but with a twist.  It became a university for the Xhosa homeland, a Bantustan – a territory designated for a specific black ethnic group under apartheid.  This move aimed to further isolate and control black education.  However, Fort Hare's legacy of resistance continued. Students remained at the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement, and the university's reputation as a center for intellectual ferment endured.

The dismantling of apartheid in 1994 opened a new chapter for Fort Hare.  Shed of its racially defined past, it has embraced inclusivity, welcoming students from all backgrounds.  Today, the university strives to reclaim its position as a leader in African education.  With a focus on social justice, sustainable development, and fostering pan-African collaboration, it looks to empower a new generation to tackle the challenges facing the continent.  The historic campus, a physical reminder of the long struggle for equality, serves as a constant source of inspiration, and the motto, "In your light we shall see the light," continues to illuminate the path forward.

Campus life at the university fosters a vibrant atmosphere.  Students come from across Africa and beyond, bringing a rich tapestry of cultures and perspectives.  The historic setting provides a unique backdrop for academic pursuits, with its beautiful scenery and reminders of the long struggle for equality.  The motto, "In your light we shall see the light," (Latin: "In lumine tuo videbimus lumen") reflects the university's commitment to guiding students towards knowledge and enlightenment. Looking forward, the university aspires to remain a leader in African education.  It seeks to provide its students with the tools and knowledge to address the challenges facing the continent.  Social justice, sustainable development, and fostering a new generation of pan-African leaders are all at the forefront of the university's vision.  With its rich history and vibrant present, this institution stands poised to continue shaping the future of Africa.

University Profile

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University Name University of Fort Hare
Acronym UFH
Year Established 1916
Motto In lumine tuo videbimus lumen
Motto in English In Thy light shall we see light


The university is located in Alice, Eastern Cape. Find the address of the university below.

Address Private Bag X1314, Alice, Eastern Cape, South Africa


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Phone +27 (40) 602 2181
Fax +27 (40) 653 1643
Website University of Fort Hare Website
Email Click here to send email
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Student Body Men and Women

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Information on University of Fort Hare was last updated on June 13, 2024.