Rhodes University

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Rhodes University
motto Where leaders learn
founding 1904
Sponsorship state
place Makhanda
country South Africa
Vice Chancellor Saleem Badat
Students 6,000
Networks IAU
Website www.ru.ac.za
Main path on campus
Cafeteria in the Bantu Stephen Biko Building
Administration building with tower
Gardens on campus
Staircase to the university library
Outside area of ​​the campus with music-making action artists

The Rhodes University ( English Rhodes University ), Rhodes or RU for short , is located in the city of Makhanda (until 2018 Grahamstown) in the South African province of Eastern Cape . It was founded as a college in 1904 , making it one of the oldest university institutions in the country. It includes a botanical garden and the associated Albany Museum Complex. The university was named after the founder of the Rhodesia colony , Cecil Rhodes .


Foundation and beginning

Higher education in the Eastern Cape began in the 19th century with four individual educational institutions. These were St Andrew's College in Grahamstown, Gill College in Somerset East , Graaff-Reinet College in Graaff-Reinet, and the Gray Institute in Port Elizabeth . Grahamstown was cut off from major trade, mining, and industry routes in the 19th century. That is why the citizens and authorities promoted the idea of ​​expanding their city as an educational center. The war events in South Africa between 1899 and 1902 put this plan out of the public eye again.

In December 1902, Josiah Slater, Member of Parliament for Albany and editor of the Grahamstown town magazine, called a public session to revive this idea. The response was unexpectedly strong, but the financial support commitments remained low. A newly formed committee therefore turned to the Rhodes Foundation , but without success. Selmar Schönland , a well-known botanist and director of the Albany Museum, then tried to contact the foundation member Dr. Leanders Starr Jameson Manufacture. He promised £ 50,000 to be elected Member of Congress for Albany and Prime Minister of the Cape Colony . However, he had not previously asked the other foundation members for their consent. At first they refused, but eventually gave in. Ultimately, the Rhodes University College project was promoted through De Beer's £ 50,000 preferred stock . The legal basis for this was a parliamentary law of May 31, 1904.

Four St. Andrews College Professors, Arthur Matthews, George Cory, Stanley Kidd, and GF Dingemans, became the founding professors of Rhodes University. The new college university was preparing its students for admission to the University of the Cape of Good Hope . At the beginning of 1905, Rhodes University existed in the St. Andrew district and the Drostdy building was eventually bought by the British government. During 1905, seven more professors, including Selmar Schonland, joined the original four. One of the main features of the new university was the tutor system based on the Oxbridge model .

Each student was assigned to a member of staff based on personal interest in his work and supervision. As the number of students increased, they were assigned to private tutors and in tutoring groups within the academic departments. This created a lively form of debate that became typical of Rhodes University. The foundations for a dormitory system were laid in the first ten years. The rapidly growing number of students aggravated the housing situation on the university campus. Now considerations were made for the construction of a new campus area and an architectural competition was launched. The British architect Herbert Baker won the competition in 1910 with his plans. Within five years, the first buildings (chemistry, zoology as well as residences and university administration) according to the plans of the Herbert Baker, Kendall & Morris offices were started.

Hard times

Even before 1917, finances had declined to a level that made staff restrictions inevitable. But an enlargement was necessary for survival. Financial difficulties persisted through the 1920s. Especially threatening was the Great Depression between 1927 and 1929. The largest load was then in 1931 and 1932. The state subsidies were reduced drastically and De Beers scored 1932 dividend. A sudden recovery in the South African economy in 1933 brought new government grants and improved the income situation of the staff at Rhodes University. With better financial resources, the construction plans for the main block and tower could continue to be realized.

Principal Cullen Bowles retired in 1937 after seven difficult years at the helm and 26 years at the university. Professor John Smeath Thomas followed him. In late 1938 the Carnegie Corporation generously supported library development at Rhodes University. Even after the outbreak of World War II, the number of students continued to rise, and the building program continued.

Post-war phase

When another recession set in in South Africa in 1947 , it was decided to become independent from the state. The necessary funds were initially not available, so the university tried to obtain a large bank loan and pledged its De Beers preference shares as security. This development almost failed. However, a Grahamstown printing company, Hugh and Vincent Grocott, secured the university's existence with a check. This gift acted like a catalyst on further donations. The country's government and Grahamstown City Council went to great lengths to help the university out of this difficult position. Eventually an insurance company lent the university £ 200,000 on favorable terms. Further financial support from De Beers and other companies followed.

Basil Schonland , the son of Selmar Schönland, became the first chancellor of his alma mater on March 10, 1951, and Thomas Alty became the first vice-chancellor. The Law on the Rhodes University ( Rhodes University Private Act ) which was at the same University of Fort Hare added. The merger of the two institutions led to violent protests on both sides because it was perceived as an interference with academic rights. Finally, in 1959, this decision was implemented. Negotiations with the Port Elizabeth City Council led to the brief opening of the Port Elizabeth Division of Rhodes University in 1961. Finally, at the end of 1964, Port Elizabeth was withdrawn when the government built its own university there.

Extensions, restructuring

Another significant expansion of the Grahamstown campus began in late 1997. As part of the 2002 national higher education system reorganization program, the Cabinet approved the Secretary of Education's recommendation that the East London campus be incorporated into and merged with Fort Hare University. The integration took place with effect from January 1, 2004.

Campus and Organization

The Rhodes University campus is located to the west of the city of Makhanda. The campus is partially traffic-calmed and has several green zones with pedestrian zones.

The RU consists of six faculties:

The following facilities are also affiliated:

  • Albany Museum
  • Biopharmaceutics Research Unit (BRU)
  • Center for Applied Social Research and Action (CASRA)
  • Center for Social Development (CSD)
  • Dictionary Unit for SA English (DSAE)
  • Electron Microscopy Unit (EMU)
  • Hermann Ohlthaver Institute for Aeronomy (HOIA)
  • International Library of African Music (ILAM)
  • Institute for Water Research (IWR)
  • Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)
  • Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)
  • National English Literary Museum (NELM)
  • Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM)
  • Rhodes University Mathematics Education Project (RUMEP)
  • South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB)
  • Southern Ocean Group (SOG).

The university is headed by a Vice Chancellor, and managers also include two Deputy Vice Chancellors, deans , directors and an examining officer. The Chancellor is the highest representative in charge of the University for the award of degrees.

Programs and special activities

The Rhodes University has been awarding scholarships (Ruth First Scholarship) for Masters and PhD students since 2011, which is named after the journalist Ruth First. The scholarships are awarded in the following subject areas: political science, anthropology, social policy, sociology, economics, philosophy as well as studies in the fields of media, development policy and democracy or other subject areas with a strict focus on human rights and the welfare state. The opening lecture of the funding program was held in 2010 by Albie Sachs .

Web links

Commons : Rhodes University  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Introducing Rhodes , accessed October 25, 2011.
  2. ^ List of IAU Members. In: iau-aiu.net. International Association of Universities, accessed August 17, 2019 .
  3. ^ Faculties , accessed October 25, 2011.
  4. ^ Institutes , accessed on October 25, 2011.
  5. ^ Key University Officers , accessed October 25, 2011.
  6. ^ Report on the Rhodes University website

Coordinates: 33 ° 18 ′ 47.2 "  S , 26 ° 31 ′ 14"  E