Unisa & sport

Although distance learning institutions are not typically considered ‘sporty’, Unisa’s sports clubs date back to 1895, when Mrs Sophia Jamison (a frequent benefactor) donated £15 for “athletic purposes”, enabling the formation of an athletics committee. Today, Unisa competes annually at the Southern African University Staff Sport Association (SAUSSA) games and is a regular medal winner in events including athletics, netball and soccer.

Unisa alumni have played leading roles in advancing sport within the University and beyond. Danny Jordaan, current President of the South African Football Association (SAFA), received a BA Honours degree from Unisa and later an honorary doctorate, and led South Africa’s bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Other Unisa alumni who have achieved sporting distinction include cricketer and former Proteas captain Kepler Wessels, former Olympic athlete Zola Budd, and Springbok rugby player Gio Aplon.

With the rise of sports science and sports management as academic disciplines, Unisa plays an increasingly significant role in sports development in South Africa and beyond. Recognising that “the sports industry in South Africa is a multibillion rand industry and the creator of many thousands of jobs”, Unisa has filled market gaps with programmes such as its one-year Certificate in Sport Management and its FIFA–CIES sports administration programme.