News & Media

Long live Unisa, long live!

Established in 1873, Unisa was first based in Cape Town and known as the University of the Cape of Good Hope. In 1916, it changed its name to the University of South Africa (Unisa). To commemorate the institution's 150th  anniversary (#Unisa150), students and staff spoke to the news team ahead of the official academic opening ceremony on Friday 10 February 2023, to share their well wishes and express their views on the institution's impact on their lives and communities.

Question: Unisa is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. In your view, how has the university positively impacted society?

Mokete Julia Phela, Bachelor's degree

Mokete Julia Phela

I am originally from Lebowakgomo in Limpopo; however, I currently reside in Pretoria. I am a postgraduate student in the College of Economic and Management Science (CEMS), representing the Class of 2020 lockdown.

Unisa is one of the top universities in the world that produce quality qualifications. The university has positively impacted the community and economic growth through its students. It is one of the best distance-learning universities that provide students access to education while they pursue work opportunities simultaneously.

I have learned to be dedicated and disciplined while studying at Unisa. At the time of my studies, I was a mother of two toddlers, a wife and a student. Unisa taught me time-management skills and multitasking— I had to juggle all those roles as they were essential to my family and me.

Unisa taught me so much, and I am proud to be a product of this university. I wish Unisa the happiest 150th anniversary —May it continue to be the best!

Kabelo Letsie
, Bachelor's degree in Education

Kabelo Letsie

I am a Unisa graduate with a Bachelor's degree from the College of Education (CEDU). I am based in Mamelodi, representing the Class of 2019, just before Covid-19.

I wish Unisa a fruitful year ahead as we celebrate the 150th-anniversary milestone. It is an honour to be part of this mega university. To celebrate the anniversary, I would like the university management to cover the outstanding fees for 150 students so they can also share in the festivities with their certificates.

I love Unisa because it promotes gender equality across the country. In 2020, the university appointed its first woman Vice-Chancellor, Prof Puleng LenkaBula, a decision hailed as an illustrious moment in the university's history.

Being part of an institution with great stature and reputable alumni such as the late president Nelson Mandela is an honour.

Happy birthday Unisa! Here's to another 150 years of significant milestones. May the university remain the beacon of hope for underprivileged students.

Fumani Chuma, Bachelor's degree in Law

Fumani Chuma

I am a Limpopian from Dengeza. I wish Unisa a happy 150th birthday celebration - this is a notable milestone. As the longest-serving institution in South Africa, our university has brought radical change throughout the years. I also want to take this opportunity to appreciate the effort and hard work that Unisans have done to help me complete my qualification. I hope that this qualification will help me bring change to my community and South Africa as a whole. Thank you, Unisa!

Zodidi Pinde,
Practitioner, Ethics Management Division: Deputy Registrar Governance

I am originally from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape province. My career at Unisa began in 2015 as an intern in the Department of Human Resources: Employee Relations and Wellness Directorate. In 2016 I was appointed as an Admin Coordinator in the same directorate. I received study assistance through the university's desire to develop its employees. It motivated me to complete my BTech in Labour Relations Management and Post Graduate Diploma (Honours) in Labour Relations Management. I am also a certified ethics officer. Currently, I am employed in the Ethics Management Division under Deputy registrar: Governance as an Ethics Practitioner. Within seven years of service at Unisa, I am proud to say the institution has shaped and transformed my career towards a bright future, and I am pleased to be part of it. Happy 150th anniversary to Unisa!

Blessing Mahlangu,
Administrative Assistant, Talent Management Directorate: Human Resources Department

Happy 150th birthday, Unisa! I wish the university could celebrate this milestone by gifting every Unisan for their true contributions, efforts and time given to support staff and students. The university should use this opportunity to give back to the unprivileged communities in rural areas and townships around South Africa. May Unisa continue to be an example in spearheading online education as it did in 2020. May it also root out unhealthy cultures and toxicity to showcase the significance of transformation and education in the country. Long live Unisa, long live!

Zodidi Pinde and Blessing Mahlangu


* Compiled by Lesego Chiloane-Ravhudzulo, Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2023/02/10

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