South Africa

Education

 

University of Johannesburg

 

South Africa

 


UJ, situated in Johannesburg - the focal point of South Africa's mining, finance and manufacturing industries - was established in 1967 as the academic home of Afrikaans-speaking students of the Witwatersrand. It was the aspiration of the Afrikaans community in the Witwatersrand to establish its own Afrikaans university that would specifically meet the educational needs of the fast-increasing Afrikaans-speaking population of the Witwatersrand. UJ was intended, through its Afrikaans spirit and character, to further and enrich the culture, philosophies of life and pursuits of the Afrikaner nation.

As the first stage in the pursuit of an Afrikaans university, the "Goudstadse Onderwyskollege" (the "Goudstadse" College of Education) was established in 1961. Negotiations were also entered into with the University of South Africa (UNISA) to move its headquarters from Pretoria to Johannesburg, but the effort failed. On 4 August 1965, Minister Jan de Klerk announced that UNISA would remain in Pretoria, but that an independent Afrikaans university would be established for the Witwatersrand, with its headquarters in Johannesburg. The government demanded, however, that at least R1 million be raised by the University Committee as a guarantee before the necessary legislation for its own university would be tabled. By June the following year, more than R2 million had already been raised through donations.

The first meeting of the University Council was held on 7 December 1966, and on 1 March 1967, the first rector, Dr Gerrit Viljoen, assumed office. The University was officially opened with an initial staff complement of 50 and with 741 registered students, and its first chancellor, Dr Nic Diederichs, was inaugurated at its temporary premises (formerly a Braamfontein brewery) on 24 February 1968. The motto of the University was: "Service through knowledge".

The University opened with four faculties, namely the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Commercial Sciences & Administration and the Faculty of Law. In total, 53 subjects were presented. The Faculty of Education would only be established two years later.

In September 1967, a planning committee was formed to erect a new University complex and campus in Auckland Park. For the first stage, the Committee used 5 000 as a point of reference for the expected total number of students. The Rector and the Registrar (Finances & Operations) embarked on an extensive study tour of a large number of universities in Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, the USA, Canada and Japan. The first planning directive was subsequently submitted to the architects in October 1968.

According to the planning directive, it had to be a modern university, where students and lecturers could form a close-knit community and where there would be ample opportunity to establish and maintain interfaculty and interdepartmental liaison. The result was a high-tech, compact, custom-built, multifunctional university complex a mere four kilometres from the central business district of Johannesburg, the capital of the Province of Gauteng. The unique circular layout of the campus has the library, lecture halls, laboratories, auditorium, cafeterias and sports fields within walking distance of the student residences.

The new campus was inaugurated on 24 May 1975. In addition to the University complex, students also moved into five new student residences in 1975. This number would eventually increase to nine on-campus student residences, as well as an off-campus student village. The second chancellor, Dr Piet Meyer, assumed office on 6 April 1979, and the University bid farewell to Prof Viljoen, who was appointed as the administrator-general of Namibia. The second rector, Prof Pieter de Lange, assumed office on 10 September 1979. On the death of Dr Meyer in 1984, Dr Gerrit Viljoen was appointed as the third chancellor of the University in the same year. On Prof De Lange's retirement, Prof Cas Crouse took over the rectorate on 1 July 1987. Prof Johannes van der Walt was appointed as the fourth rector of UJ in 1995.

Even though a curriculum group for the Engineering course of study had been established in the Faculty of Science as early as 1971, a Faculty of Engineering, with the departments of Civil, Mechanical and Electrical & Electronic Engineering, was only allocated to UJ in 1981.

In keeping with its holistic approach to the development of its students, the University provides an excellent sporting infrastructure. At present, UJ is maintaining 73 hectares of sports grounds, offering first-class facilities for rugby, football, athletics, tennis, squash, cricket, swimming and numerous types of indoor sports.

Over the years, UJ has also made a valuable contribution in the realm of culture and research. UJ Choir, UJ Symfo and UJ Dramatic Society were established in 1976 already, and the Gencor Gallery became a sought-after venue for art exhibitions. UJ lecturers venture overseas for research purposes regularly, and have published a great many research articles in learned journals.

UJ's social consciousness finds expression in its commitment to share its wealth of information and facilities with as many communities as possible. Apart from serving its own support groups, UJ facilitates community development through academic upgrading, law and drug-abuse clinics, a primary-health and eye-care train traversing the country, youth programmes, community education programmes, language improvement and other academic and practical projects both in and outside Gauteng. The Department of Social Work, in turn, also presents courses on a regular basis and undertakes many studies and projects for the purposes of needs analyses.

UJ is currently the only university that manages its own school - a high school for gifted children from historically disadvantaged communities. UJCALL (UJ College for the Advancement of Learning and Leadership) was established in 1992 and caters for hundreds of learners.

Over the years, several bureaux and institutes were established at UJ, such as the Language Service, the Research Unit for Banking Law, the Institute for Energy Studies, the Bureau for University Education, the Centre for Islamic Studies, the Research Unit for Development Studies and the Institute for Child and Adult Guidance.

In the early nineties, UJ gradually changed its perspective from that of an exclusively Afrikaans university to that of a university that is able to accommodate widely divergent student and language communities. The full-time undergraduate and postgraduate tuition programmes up to doctoral level are presented in Afrikaans and English. Ample provision is made to accommodate English-speaking students. English is the main medium of instruction in UJNOX evening programme of the University. The nation-wide UJCEH (UJ College for Education and Health) programme is aimed at promoting the professional upgrading of underqualified teachers and nursing staff from disadvantaged communities. At present, approximately 21 000 full and part-time students are enrolled at the University.

 

Campus

UJ campus was established on an erstwhile golf-course of 77 hectares in the woody suburb of Auckland Park. The central group of buildings consists primarily of a horseshoe-shaped chain of buildings with a huge amphitheatre in the heart of it. The north-eastern end of this horseshoe accommodates the library, followed by the main entrance and four segments (called A, B, C and D Rings) which in their turn comprise offices and laboratories for the humanities. The north-western end of the horseshoe is taken up by the University Club. A wide walkway links all these segments on ground level.

Behind building segments C and D Rings, on the other side of the walkway, are two lecture hall buildings (C and D Les) and behind these two buildings, we find C and D Labs which house the laboratories for Natural Sciences and which fan out from C and D Les like spokes around an axle.

Accross from the walkway behind the B Ring segment are two lecture halls (B Les 100 and B Les 101), which seat 640 students each).

For ease of identification, the various building segments have been colour-coded.

In 1998 the Sports Hall in the north-western part of the horseshoe was changed into two lecture halls (E Les). The Registration Centre was built above these lecture halls.

The amphitheatre, which is comparable in size to Church Square in Pretoria, was designed to accommodate large groups of people.

When planning the area, particular attention was given to the creation of a landscape with indegenous plants. Furthermore, provision was made for parking facilities to accommodate approximately 2,500 vehicles. These parking lots are situated directly behind A and B Rings and are also adjacent to C and D Laboratories.

 

UJ is fortunate in that it has a custom-designed, multifunctional campus. The unique horseshoe-shaped layout of the campus has the library, lecture rooms, laboratories, auditorium, shopping centre and sports fields within a few minutes' walking distance of the student residences. UJ's design and functional layout assure a private and safe environment for students, staff and visitors. The key feature of the campus is accessibility.

It is true that there is no fine arts department at UJ, but the University boasts one of the most dynamic arts environments in South Africa. At least one arts-related presentation of international stature is presented on campus every week. (There is often more than one presentation per week!) In many cases, admission to these presentations is free, and attendance is open to UJ students and staff, as well as the public

The Sports Bureau provides the infrastructure for UJ students to participate in sport, and tries to make sport as accessible as possible for all students. Sport is also used as a means of development in order to support the University's mission of excellence at all levels. The sports managers at UJ are dedicated experts who are responsible for specific types of sport.

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CONTACT

P.O. Box 524
Auckland Park
2006
South Africa

Cnr University and Kingsway
Auckland Park
South Africa

Tel:  +27 11 489-2911

Fax:  +27 11 489-2191

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