The Democratic Era 1994 - present

<p>On 27 April, South Africa holds its first democratic elections. The ANC wins by a significant majority, and Nelson Mandela becomes president of a carefully negotiated “government of national unity”.</p>

Democratic elections

On 27 April, South Africa holds its first democratic elections. The ANC wins by a significant majority, and Nelson Mandela becomes president of a carefully negotiated “government of national unity”.

1994

<p>Professor Simon Maimela, a prominent anti-apartheid theologian and activist, is appointed as Unisa’s first black Vice-Principal in 1994. Unisa’s new transition-period Principal, Professor Marinus Wiechers, starts to reform the education faculty, attacking courses that perpetuate apartheid pedagogies.</p>

Reforming education

Professor Simon Maimela, a prominent anti-apartheid theologian and activist, is appointed as Unisa’s first black Vice-Principal in 1994. Unisa’s new transition-period Principal, Professor Marinus Wiechers, starts to reform the education faculty, attacking courses that perpetuate apartheid pedagogies.

1994-97

<p>Century-old tensions between Rwanda’s Hutu and Tutsi populations explode into a coordinated slaughter, planned by Hutu elites, in which soldiers and militia kill up to 800,000 Tutsis over three months.</p>

Genocide in Rwanda

Century-old tensions between Rwanda’s Hutu and Tutsi populations explode into a coordinated slaughter, planned by Hutu elites, in which soldiers and militia kill up to 800,000 Tutsis over three months.

1994

<p>South Africa hosts and wins both the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations. Both events are hailed as victories for national reconciliation under the Mandela administration.</p>

Sports victories

South Africa hosts and wins both the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations. Both events are hailed as victories for national reconciliation under the Mandela administration.

1995-96

<p>In a process aimed at helping to heal the nation’s psychological scars, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission begins its hearings on human rights violations committed under apartheid.</p>

Towards national healing

In a process aimed at helping to heal the nation’s psychological scars, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission begins its hearings on human rights violations committed under apartheid.

1996

<p>After two years of public consultation and debate, South Africa’s new Constitution is adopted. It lays the foundation for a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.</p>

A new constitution

After two years of public consultation and debate, South Africa’s new Constitution is adopted. It lays the foundation for a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.

1996

<p>The Higher Education Act is passed. It seeks to reverse the legacy of Bantu Education, to create a knowledge-driven society, and to “respect and encourage democracy, academic freedom, … scholarship and research”.</p>

Higher Education Act

The Higher Education Act is passed. It seeks to reverse the legacy of Bantu Education, to create a knowledge-driven society, and to “respect and encourage democracy, academic freedom, … scholarship and research”.

1997

<p>Unisa’s Western Cape Hub in Parow is inaugurated in 1997, and in the following year, the University opens its Sunnyside Campus near central Pretoria.</p>

New campuses

Unisa’s Western Cape Hub in Parow is inaugurated in 1997, and in the following year, the University opens its Sunnyside Campus near central Pretoria.

1997-98

<p>Most of the world’s industrialised nations commit to the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global climate change.</p>

Facing global climate change

Most of the world’s industrialised nations commit to the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global climate change.

1997

<p>South Africa peacefully holds its second democratic national election, won by the ANC. President Nelson Mandela declines a second term of office and is replaced by Thabo Mbeki.</p>

Democracy matures

South Africa peacefully holds its second democratic national election, won by the ANC. President Nelson Mandela declines a second term of office and is replaced by Thabo Mbeki.

1999

<p>Professor Antony Melck becomes the first Unisa Vice-Chancellor to be appointed through a fully transparent, democratically inclusive process. During his three-year tenure, he introduces modern business management practices to Unisa.</p>

A transparent vice-chancellorship

Professor Antony Melck becomes the first Unisa Vice-Chancellor to be appointed through a fully transparent, democratically inclusive process. During his three-year tenure, he introduces modern business management practices to Unisa.

1999

<p>Across the world, billions celebrate the arrival of the Western calendar’s new millennium — despite fears that computerised systems will crash, globally, on attempting to clock the unprecedented “2000”.</p>

Millennium celebrations

Across the world, billions celebrate the arrival of the Western calendar’s new millennium — despite fears that computerised systems will crash, globally, on attempting to clock the unprecedented “2000”.

2000

<p>Theologian, attorney and former anti-apartheid activist Professor Nyameko Barney Pityana becomes Unisa’s first black Principal and Vice-Chancellor. He will guide Unisa towards racially equitable transformation and Africanisation.</p>

First black Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Theologian, attorney and former anti-apartheid activist Professor Nyameko Barney Pityana becomes Unisa’s first black Principal and Vice-Chancellor. He will guide Unisa towards racially equitable transformation and Africanisation.

2001

<p>Free to all, with content created through the accumulation of voluntary contributions, Wikipedia will become the world’s most popular encyclopaedia, epitomising the democratisation of knowledge promised by the Internet.</p>

Wikipedia launched

Free to all, with content created through the accumulation of voluntary contributions, Wikipedia will become the world’s most popular encyclopaedia, epitomising the democratisation of knowledge promised by the Internet.

2001

<p>Mounting allegations suggest bribery in the 1999 “Arms Deal” — government’s R30-billion commitment to European armaments manufacturers. The allegations divide the ANC and still haunt South African politics.</p>

Arms Deal allegations

Mounting allegations suggest bribery in the 1999 “Arms Deal” — government’s R30-billion commitment to European armaments manufacturers. The allegations divide the ANC and still haunt South African politics.

2001

<p>Al-Qaeda suicide operatives hijack four airliners and pilot them as missiles toward iconic American buildings — most devastatingly, New York’s Twin Towers. Soon after, the US begins its controversial “War on Terror”.</p>

Terror on September 11th

Al-Qaeda suicide operatives hijack four airliners and pilot them as missiles toward iconic American buildings — most devastatingly, New York’s Twin Towers. Soon after, the US begins its controversial “War on Terror”.

2001

<p>After a rigorous assessment process, Unisa is formally accredited by the US’s Distance Education and Training Council. It becomes the only African institution to be so accredited.</p>

Prestigious accreditation

After a rigorous assessment process, Unisa is formally accredited by the US’s Distance Education and Training Council. It becomes the only African institution to be so accredited.

2002

<p>The Hector Pieterson Museum, named after a 13-year-old student slain by police during the Soweto Uprising of 1976, becomes the first museum to open in Soweto.</p>

Soweto’s first museum

The Hector Pieterson Museum, named after a 13-year-old student slain by police during the Soweto Uprising of 1976, becomes the first museum to open in Soweto.

2002

<p>Unisa launches its Institute for African Renaissance Studies, which is dedicated to the production and dissemination of African knowledge by Africans and to the creation of African responses to Africa’s needs.</p>

Embracing an African renaissance

Unisa launches its Institute for African Renaissance Studies, which is dedicated to the production and dissemination of African knowledge by Africans and to the creation of African responses to Africa’s needs.

2003

<p>Defying international opinion, the US and its military allies invade Iraq on the pretext that Saddam Hussein’s regime is developing “weapons of mass destruction”. The region plunges into ongoing chaos.</p>

Iraq invaded

Defying international opinion, the US and its military allies invade Iraq on the pretext that Saddam Hussein’s regime is developing “weapons of mass destruction”. The region plunges into ongoing chaos.

2003

<p>The African Council on Distance Education (ACDE) is launched at Egerton University in Njoro, Kenya. The ACDE becomes the backbone of several of Unisa’s high-level African partnerships and expansion projects.</p>

Partnering in Africa

The African Council on Distance Education (ACDE) is launched at Egerton University in Njoro, Kenya. The ACDE becomes the backbone of several of Unisa’s high-level African partnerships and expansion projects.

2004

<p>Despite resistance from the Unisa Council, Minister of Education Kader Asmal merges Technikon SA and the distance education component of Vista University into Unisa. Unisa now embraces a college system, dispensing with its old faculties.</p>

A ministerial merger

Despite resistance from the Unisa Council, Minister of Education Kader Asmal merges Technikon SA and the distance education component of Vista University into Unisa. Unisa now embraces a college system, dispensing with its old faculties.

2004

<p>Facebook launches in 2004, followed by Twitter in 2006. These two websites, assisted by convergence between communications technologies, epitomise a new form of social interaction and commentary.</p>

Social media boom begins

Facebook launches in 2004, followed by Twitter in 2006. These two websites, assisted by convergence between communications technologies, epitomise a new form of social interaction and commentary.

2004-06

<p>South Africa’s Constitutional Court extends the common-law definition of marriage to include same-sex spouses and gives Parliament one year to amend the country’s marriage statutes accordingly.</p>

Gay rights upheld

South Africa’s Constitutional Court extends the common-law definition of marriage to include same-sex spouses and gives Parliament one year to amend the country’s marriage statutes accordingly.

2005

<p>Unisa launches an online portal called myUnisa, which is designed to facilitate the studies and study-related communications of Unisa students worldwide — another exciting step in Unisa’s transformation into an online university.</p>

myUnisa arrives

Unisa launches an online portal called myUnisa, which is designed to facilitate the studies and study-related communications of Unisa students worldwide — another exciting step in Unisa’s transformation into an online university.

2006

<p>After a collaborative process involving extensive surveys and focus groups, Unisa unveils its new, African brand identity, including a new motto: <em>Pro Gentibus Sapientia</em> or ‘learning in the service of humanity’.</p>

A new brand identity

After a collaborative process involving extensive surveys and focus groups, Unisa unveils its new, African brand identity, including a new motto: Pro Gentibus Sapientia or ‘learning in the service of humanity’.

2006

<p>After years of reckless lending and the selling-on of debt, America’s housing-finance bubble bursts, precipitating a global collapse of overcommitted banks. South Africa’s tightly regulated banking system remains largely immune, however.</p>

Global financial crisis

After years of reckless lending and the selling-on of debt, America’s housing-finance bubble bursts, precipitating a global collapse of overcommitted banks. South Africa’s tightly regulated banking system remains largely immune, however.

2006-08

<p>Affirming its commitment to the African continent, Unisa opens a Regional Learning Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Within three years, the Centre will have more than 5,000 students at all levels.</p>

Ethiopian campus opens

Affirming its commitment to the African continent, Unisa opens a Regional Learning Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Within three years, the Centre will have more than 5,000 students at all levels.

2007

<p>At the ANC’s National Conference in Polokwane, Jacob Zuma unseats Thabo Mbeki as the party’s leader. Though plagued by scandal, the “populist” Zuma will succeed to the national presidency in 2009.</p>

The ANC in Polokwane

At the ANC’s National Conference in Polokwane, Jacob Zuma unseats Thabo Mbeki as the party’s leader. Though plagued by scandal, the “populist” Zuma will succeed to the national presidency in 2009.

2007

<p>South Africa hosts the first FIFA World Cup tournament held in Africa. Deemed “the most successful World Cup ever”, it boosts national morale and global confidence in South Africa.</p>

World Cup success

South Africa hosts the first FIFA World Cup tournament held in Africa. Deemed “the most successful World Cup ever”, it boosts national morale and global confidence in South Africa.

2010

<p>Barack Obama becomes the first African-American president of the US. His direct African descent, as the son of a Kenyan economist, raises hopes for a fresh American approach to Africa.</p>

Obama euphoria

Barack Obama becomes the first African-American president of the US. His direct African descent, as the son of a Kenyan economist, raises hopes for a fresh American approach to Africa.

2009

<p>Unisa’s library acquires its two-millionth book. Today it stands as the largest academic library in Africa, with a collection of over 2,750,000 items.</p>

Two million books

Unisa’s library acquires its two-millionth book. Today it stands as the largest academic library in Africa, with a collection of over 2,750,000 items.

2009

<p>Professor Mandla Makhanya becomes the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Unisa. He articulates a strongly service-orientated vision and culture for the University and makes practical structural adjustments towards fulfilling this.</p>

Cultivating service

Professor Mandla Makhanya becomes the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Unisa. He articulates a strongly service-orientated vision and culture for the University and makes practical structural adjustments towards fulfilling this.

2011

<p>Unisa FM 98.9, started in 2008, is rebranded as ‘Unisa Radio’. Internet radio-streaming technology enables the station to reach Unisa students around the world.</p>

Unisa Radio goes global

Unisa FM 98.9, started in 2008, is rebranded as ‘Unisa Radio’. Internet radio-streaming technology enables the station to reach Unisa students around the world.

2012

<p>Following violent unrest in South Africa’s mining sector, police echo colonial and apartheid-era militarism. They fire on workers striking at Lonmin’s Marikana Platinum Mine, killing 45 and wounding many more.</p>

Lethal force at Marikana

Following violent unrest in South Africa’s mining sector, police echo colonial and apartheid-era militarism. They fire on workers striking at Lonmin’s Marikana Platinum Mine, killing 45 and wounding many more.

2012

<p>The world and the nation mourn Nelson Mandela’s passing at the age of 95. He rests, figuratively, beside Gandhi and Martin Luther King as a global icon of peace.</p>

World mourns Mandela

The world and the nation mourn Nelson Mandela’s passing at the age of 95. He rests, figuratively, beside Gandhi and Martin Luther King as a global icon of peace.

2013

<p>The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr “Blade” Nzimande, launches the <em>White Paper for Post-School Education and Training</em>, emphasising the need for greater access to higher education and for the establishment of more universities in South Africa.</p>

White Paper for Higher Education

The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr “Blade” Nzimande, launches the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training, emphasising the need for greater access to higher education and for the establishment of more universities in South Africa.

2014

<p>'Universities shaken by 'Rhodes Must Fall' campaign demanding the 'decolonisation' of higher education. Unisa's 'Africanisation ' policy and programmes offset the impact of the movement on Unisa campuses.</p>

RHODES MUST FALL

'Universities shaken by 'Rhodes Must Fall' campaign demanding the 'decolonisation' of higher education. Unisa's 'Africanisation ' policy and programmes offset the impact of the movement on Unisa campuses.

2015

<p>Unisa celebrates its 140-year history and dawning future. In the words of Principal and Vice-Chancellor Mandla Makhanya: “In a country of opposites, disparity and diversity, Unisa has perhaps been the single constant.”</p>

Unisa celebrates

Unisa celebrates its 140-year history and dawning future. In the words of Principal and Vice-Chancellor Mandla Makhanya: “In a country of opposites, disparity and diversity, Unisa has perhaps been the single constant.”

2013-15

<p>Judge Bernard Ngoepe steps down as Chancellor after 15 years at the helm. He is succeeded by former President Thabo Mbeki, formalising a long association between Mbeki and Unisa.</p>

JUDGE BERNARD NGOEPE STEPS DOWN AS CHANCELLOR

Judge Bernard Ngoepe steps down as Chancellor after 15 years at the helm. He is succeeded by former President Thabo Mbeki, formalising a long association between Mbeki and Unisa.

2016

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2015-2016

FEES MUST FALL

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FEES MUST FALL

"Fees Must Fall' movement leads to University-wide protests against escalating costs of higher education in South Africa, intensified by 'capping' of fee increases by the Ministry at 8% per. Supported by Unisa students on Muckleneuk campus. In late 2016 Unisa announces differentiated fee increases of approximately 4% for undergraduate courses.

2015-2016

<p>In 2017 there were seven Unisa regional centres or 'hubs' in full operation.  Eastern and Western Cape, Gauteng, KZN, Midlands, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, with regional head offices in East London, Cape Town, Sunnyside (Pretoria), Durban, Rustenburg, Polokwane and Nelspruit respectively The hubs, in turn, were responsible for the operations of smaller service centres or agencies.  The regional hubs and service centres offered administrative and student (academic) support and advice, library services and career counselling.<br /><br />The Unisa regional model represents a remarkable venture to bring university education to students across the country, especially those in more remote and rural districts.</p>

UNISA'S REGIONAL MODEL

In 2017 there were seven Unisa regional centres or 'hubs' in full operation.  Eastern and Western Cape, Gauteng, KZN, Midlands, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, with regional head offices in East London, Cape Town, Sunnyside (Pretoria), Durban, Rustenburg, Polokwane and Nelspruit respectively The hubs, in turn, were responsible for the operations of smaller service centres or agencies.  The regional hubs and service centres offered administrative and student (academic) support and advice, library services and career counselling.

The Unisa regional model represents a remarkable venture to bring university education to students across the country, especially those in more remote and rural districts.

2017

<p>With drama, drumbeats, dancing, declamation, and sheer delight, Unisans celebrated the 145th birthday of the venerable elder of South African universities on 4 July 2018. In the words of Professor Mandla Makhanya, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, “This university has nourished—and been nourished—by many generations of scholars, evident in the hundreds of thousands of Unisa graduates who represent every stratum in society and who are to be found in all echelons of society and public and private enterprise around the world—and who have served and achieved with distinction.”</p>

HALALA, HALALA, HALALA, UNISA

With drama, drumbeats, dancing, declamation, and sheer delight, Unisans celebrated the 145th birthday of the venerable elder of South African universities on 4 July 2018. In the words of Professor Mandla Makhanya, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, “This university has nourished—and been nourished—by many generations of scholars, evident in the hundreds of thousands of Unisa graduates who represent every stratum in society and who are to be found in all echelons of society and public and private enterprise around the world—and who have served and achieved with distinction.”

2018

<p>Aiming to provide a world-class home for research scientists and students, Unisa opens a renovated, revitalised Science Hub at its Florida Campus in Roodepoort.</p>

Reinforcing science

Aiming to provide a world-class home for research scientists and students, Unisa opens a renovated, revitalised Science Hub at its Florida Campus in Roodepoort.

2013

<p>Waves of xenophobic violence, directed against immigrants from other African countries, spread through townships and informal settlements. Though quelled by police and civil action, sporadic outbreaks persist, with new outbreaks in 2015.</p>

Xenophobia shames South Africa

Waves of xenophobic violence, directed against immigrants from other African countries, spread through townships and informal settlements. Though quelled by police and civil action, sporadic outbreaks persist, with new outbreaks in 2015.

2008