Witwatersrand University

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University of the Witwatersrand
Witwatersrand University
motto Scientia et laboratories
founding 1896/1922
place Johannesburg
country South Africa
Vice Chancellor and Principal Adam Habib
Students 33,364 (2015)
Employee 4,712
Website www.wits.ac.za
In the Great Hall ( Great Hall ) on the East Campus the graduation ceremonies are held

The Witwatersrand University ( English : University of the Witwatersrand ), Wits for short , is a South African university based in Johannesburg in the Gauteng Province . The Wits originated from the South African School of Mines , which opened in 1896. In 1922 it was given university status and the current name was introduced. During the apartheid period , only a few black students were allowed to enroll here. Even so, some well-known anti-apartheid leaders studied here.

The university includes the Witwatersrand University Press , the largest and oldest university publisher in Africa and to this day one of the leading African publishing houses in the academic field.


View of the East Campus

The college was founded in Kimberley in 1896 under the name South African School of Mines . Eight years later, she moved to Johannesburg and changed her name to Transvaal Technical Institute . In 1906 it was renamed Transvaal University College and in 1910 the South African School of Mines and Technology . In 1922, after entering college, it was finally given full university status. In the same year, construction work began on the campus in Milner Park. Six faculties were planned to offer degrees in humanities and natural sciences, medicine, engineering, law, and economics.

During the 1960s the university opened many new departments and buildings; it grew from 6,275 students (1963) to over 16,400 (1985). The Graduate School of Economics opened in Parktown in 1968 . In the same year, a farm called Swartkrans , rich in archaeological finds, was acquired near Sterkfontein , as well as the excavation rights for Makapansgat in what is now Limpopo Province . In 1969 the clinical departments of the new medical faculty were inaugurated. The main administration building, Senate House , was occupied in 1977.

In 1984 the university expanded significantly when it acquired the exhibition grounds in Milner Park and converted it into the West Campus . In the same year the mine chamber building also opened. A pedestrian crossing was built over the expressway that separates the east and west campuses.



The university is headed by a vice -chancellor and principal - Adam Habib since 2013 - the management also includes five deputy vice-chancellors and an auditor. The Chancellor ( Chancellor ) - Since 2006, the judge Dikgang Moseneke - has representative functions. The management is responsible to the university council .


The university consists of five faculties :

Statistics, as of 2015/2016

  • 33,364 students in total
    • 27,121 full-time
    • 6,243 part-time
    • 2,674 foreign students
  • 6,585 employees in total
    • 4,712 academics
    • 307 foreign academics
    • 1,512 administrative and service employees


The university is divided into five academic units. The original East Campus is located in the Braamfontein district and is separated from the newer West Campus by a dual carriageway, but they are connected by several crossings. The three other locations are in Parktown and include the medical faculty.

Other university facilities

In Johannesburg

  • The university includes numerous museums and collections. These include the Wits Art Museum in Braamfontein, which shows African art, the Anthropology Museum on the East Campus, the Adler Museum of Medicine for medical history in Parktown , founded in 1962, and the only geology museum in Gauteng Province, the Bleloch Geology Museum . The Taung skull , dinosaur fossils and butterflies are exhibited there. The Lowenstein Collection of San petroglyphs and stone tools is located in the Rock Art Research Institute on the East Campus. The Wits Life Sciences Museum and Biodiversity Center is a natural history museum on the east campus. The Origins Center on the West Campus shows the emergence of modern man. In the Hunterian Museum of Anatomy in Parktown are anatomical specimens on display.
  • Several galleries belong to the university. The Fassler Gallery shows architectural work, while the James Kitching Gallery on the east campus displays paleontological exhibits. Until 2002 there was the Gertrude Posel Gallery and the Studio Gallery , both in the Senate House. The latter was known for its collection of African beadwork. Both galleries went into the Wits Art Museum .
  • The Johannesburg Planetarium in Braamfontein opened in 1960 and can seat around 400 people.
  • The Wits Theater is located near the Senate House . Student groups and professional actors perform there; the Wits Choir is also based there.

Outside Johannesburg

  • The Sterkfontein caves (near Krugersdorp ) are also looked after by the university. They are one of the most important hominid fossil sites. The area is part of the UNESCO - World Heritage Site . Next to the caves is the Robert Broom Museum . It is dedicated to human history and is closely linked to the fossil finds of the Cradle of Humankind. It also shows rock carvings by the San and their modern interpretations.
  • The Wits Rural Facilities near Bushbuckridge in Limpopo Province are used as agricultural research sites

Well-known alumni and faculty members

Nobel Prize Winner


  • The Golden Jubilee of the University of the Witwatersrand . Jubilee Committee, University of the Witwatersrand Press, Johannesburg 1972, ISBN 0-85494-188-6 .
  • Bruce Murray: Wits: The Early Years: a History of the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg and its Precursors 1896-1936 . University of the Witwatersrand Press, Johannesburg 1982, ISBN 0-85494-709-4 .
  • Jonty Winch: Wits Sport: An Illustrated History of Sport at the University of the Witwatersrand . Windsor, 1989, ISBN 0-620-13806-8 .
  • Mervyn Shear: Wits: A University in the Apartheid Era . University of the Witwatersrand Press, Johannesburg 1982, ISBN 1-86814-302-3 .
  • Bruce Murray: Wits: The "Open Years" . University of the Witwatersrand Press, Johannesburg 1997, ISBN 1-86814-314-7 .
  • Guerino Bozzoli: A Vice-Chancellor Remembers: the Memoirs of Professor GR Bozzoli . Alphaprint, 1995, ISBN 0-620-19369-7 .
  • Reuben and Naomi Musicians: Wits Library: a Centenary History . Scarecrow Books, 1998, ISBN 0-620-22754-0 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Latin science and work
  2. a b c Facts and Figures (PDF), accessed on March 13, 2016.
  3. ^ Short History ( Memento of December 27, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on October 31, 2011.
  4. Management Contacts ( Memento November 13, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), accessed October 31, 2011.
  5. ^ Faculties and Schools ( Memento November 6, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), accessed October 31, 2011.
  6. ^ Wits Art Museum (English), accessed on March 12, 2016
  7. ^ Anthropology Museum , accessed March 12, 2016
  8. Adler Museum (English), accessed on March 12, 2016
  9. Bleloch Geological Museum (English), accessed on 12 March 2016
  10. ^ Wits Life Sciences Museum and Biodiversity Center ( Memento from March 15, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on March 14, 2016
  11. ^ The Hunterian Museum of Anatomy ( Memento from March 15, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (English), accessed on March 14, 2016
  12. ^ History of the Wits Art Museum (English), accessed on March 14, 2016
  13. Planetarium (English), accessed on March 12, 2016
  14. ^ Wits Theater , accessed March 12, 2016
  15. ^ Cradle of Humankind , accessed March 12, 2016
  16. Origins Center ( memento of March 29, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (English), accessed on March 12, 2016
  17. ^ Wits Rural Facilities , accessed March 12, 2016

Coordinates: 26 ° 11 ′ 27 ″  S , 28 ° 1 ′ 49 ″  E