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University of Zululand: History

In 1960, the University College of Zululand was established as a constituent college academically affiliated to the University of South Africa. Since then, the institution has dramatically evolved from so-called ‘bush college’ to a fully-fledged university, equal to any of the centres of higher learning in this country. In 1971 it was granted full University status and continued to cater mainly for the Zulu and Swazi ethnic groups up to 1979, when it started to welcome black students from all ethnic groupings. In 1982, the University of Zululand Foundation administered by a Board of Governors was established to oversee the University’s fundraising and investment activities. In 1986 the University opened its doors to all races. This could be done because by 1984 Unizul’s Council had already been given control of practically all matters relating to the disbursement of the annual subsidy, provision of facilities, the determination of the establishment and the employment of staff. In 1987 the new library was opened, heralding a period of remarkable physical growth for the institution.

Under the leadership of Prof. Rachel V Gumbi, the first female Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Zululand as from May 2003, Unizul has re-defined and revised its role to best fulfill the specific needs of its own community within the context of the country as a whole, but also with regard to the challenges posed by the global community. Unlike its sister universities, Unizul was not called upon to merge with other institutions and therefore retained its name as well as its unique setting, which facilitates its role as the leading rural-based comprehensive tertiary institution in the country.