Fort Hare University is located on the Tyhume river in a South African town known as Alice in English or as eDikeni in the local isiXhosa language. It is in the Eastern Cape Province about 50 km west of King Williams Town (or eQonce) in a region that for a while was known as the "independent" Bantustan of Ciskei.
Originally, Fort Hare was indeed an English fort in the wars between British and the amaXhosa of the 19th century. Some of the ruins of the fort are still visible today. Missionary activity (James Stewart) led to the creation of a school for missionaries from which at the beginning of the 20th century the University resulted. It was the second university in South Africa (after Cape Town) and the first tertiary educational facility open to Africans in the whole of the continent. The University can count a number of famous people amongst its alumni - see below.
In the struggle years there was much anti-apartheid activity, including the black consciousness movement of Steve Biko.
Unfortunately, the end of apartheid has not been kind to the University, as is indeed the case for other historically disadvantaged institutions in South Africa.
The student numbers dropped greatly, because black students could now go to other (historically white) institutions. In addition, the first black Vice Chancellor (Sibusisu Bhengu) proclaimed that 'the halls of learning would now be opened to all'. The result was that the students stopped paying their tuition fees. Once Bhengu was promoted to minister of education, however, he insisted that the university was responsible for the resulting budget deficit. His successor, Mbulelo Mzamane was locally known as the Visiting Chancellor, because he was not present very often. Once impending bankruptcy resulted in the refusal of the banks to honor UFH paychecks, staff and students joined forces and expelled managers by force. The new management under Derrick Swartz imposed a restructuring program that has given the university a future rather than just a glorious past. Currently, however, South Africa's government is still considering merging the institution with others in the Eastern Cape.
(please sort these by date of birth ?)
- Z.K. Mathews (1901-1968) - lectured at Fort Hare from 1936 to 1959
- Govan Mbeki (1910 - 2001) - South African politician
- Yusuf Lule (1912 - 1985) - Interim president of Uganda 1979
- Oliver Tambo (October 27, 1917 - April 24, 1993) - member, African National Congress
- Joshua Nkomo (1918 - July 1, 1999) - founder of the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU).
- Nelson Mandela (July 18, 1918 - ) - President of South Africa
- Julius Nyerere (July 19, 1922 - October 14, 1999) - President of Tanzania
- Herbert Chitepo (June 15, 1923 - March 18, 1975) - ZANU leader
- Robert Sobukwe (1924 - 27 February 1978) - founder of the Pan African Congress
- Robert Mugabe (February 21, 1924 - ) - President of Zimbabwe, attended 1949-1951
- Kenneth Kaunda (April 28, 1924 - ) - first President of Zambia
- Mangosuthu Buthelezi (August 27, 1928 - ) - leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party
- Desmond Tutu (October 7, 1931 - ) - Archbishop, South African peace activist
- Chris Hani (June 28, 1942 - April 10, 1993) - leader of the South African Communist Party
- Bulelani Ngcuka (May 2, 1954 - ) - South Africa's the first national director of Public Prosecutions
(Others, unknown DOB)
- Ivy Matseppe-Cassiburi
- T. Sogana - religion
- B. Pityana - religion
- L. Nongxa - science
- K. Mokhele - science
- Manto-Tshabalala-Msimango - Health Minister
- Don Ncube - business
- W. Nkhulu - business
See also: List of universities in South Africa
- Official Homepage (http://www.ufh.ac.za)
- Promotional site (http://www.interstudy.org/SouthAfrica/UniversityofFortHare/IntroFortHare.html)
- Some Fort Hare Alumni (http://www.ufh.ac.za/devalumni/webfiles/chaptermanager.asp?id=18)