The University of Fort Hare is a public university in Alice, Eastern Cape. The main campus is situated in Alice near the Tyhume River, around 50km west of King William’s Town. A second campus in Bhisho was built in 1990, and the old Rhodes University campus in East London was also incorporated into University of Fort Hare. Originally a British fort in the Border Wars between the British settlers and Xhosa people, several ruins and graves can still be seen today.
The university began as a missionary, founded by James Stewart. Fees were low and heavily subsidised, and scholarships were available for underprivileged students. It was a key institution for higher education for black Africans between 1916 and 1959 and offered Western academic education to students from sub-Saharan Africa that was previously not available to them. Several leading freedom fighters attended the university, namely Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Robert Sobukwe, and Desmond Tutu. According to Nelson Mandela and other black South Africans, “it was Oxford and Cambridge, Harvard and Yale, all rolled into one”. The university was brought into the apartheid system and segregated in 1959. The university alumni were a part of several independence movements and is now part of South Africa’s post-apartheid public higher education system.
- Management & commerce
- Science & agriculture
- Social science & humanities