University of Cape Town

Located on the slopes of Devil’s Peak in Cape Town, the University of Cape Town is a leading, research-intensive university in South Africa and on the continent, known for its academic excellence and pioneering scholarship. The university is home to a third of South Africa’s A-rated researchers (acknowledged by the Department of Science and Technology as international leaders in their field) and a fifth of the country’s national research chairs. UCT encourages students and staff to use their expertise to speed up social change and economic development across the country and continent, while pursuing the highest standards of excellence in academic knowledge and research: developing African solutions to African challenges that are also shared by developing nations around the world.

UCT, like the city of Cape Town, has a vibrant, cosmopolitan community drawn from all corners of South Africa. It also attracts students and staff from more than 100 countries in Africa and the rest of the world. The university has strong partnerships and networks with leading African and other international institutions - helping to enrich the academic, social and cultural diversity of the campus as well as to extend the reach of UCT’s academic work.

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Unused cooling towers overlooking an informal settlement in Soweto. A new study suggests that poverty in South Africa is actually higher than the figures usually quoted. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

How current measures underestimate the level of poverty in South Africa

A review of South Africa's methodology to measure poverty shows that 60% of people in the country are poor. This is way higher than the figures that are usually quoted.
Being able to learn science in a number of languages helps children to develop an understanding of concepts - like the robotics used to build this dinosaur. David Mercado/Reuters

Multilingualism boosts learning - and can create new science knowledge too

Using more than one language when teaching and learning science in schools can greatly enhance concept development. This in fact goes to the heart of science.
South African President Jacob Zuma, right, listens to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng ahead of Zuma’s second inauguration in Pretoria. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Are judges in South Africa under threat or do they complain too much?

Tensions are probably inevitable in any constitutional democracy that empowers the courts to overrule the executive and legislature. But, judges are worried cabinet undermines the rule of law.
Legislation in South Africa needs to be updated to accommodate the development in stem cell research and therapies. Reuters

Why South Africa needs better laws for stem cell research and therapy

South Africa may have legislation broadly guiding stem cell research and treatment, but these laws must be updated and clarified for it to be effective.
Nigerian author Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is hailed as one of the greatest novels ever set in Africa. Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

What a less Eurocentric reading list would look like

There's a fierce debate underway about changing university curricula in Africa and the UK to be less Eurocentric. Three academics offer their suggestions for a decolonised reading list.
South Africa needs to ensure that it is equipped to deal with bioterrorism attacks and possible laboratory outbreaks. Mariana Bazo/Reuters

Explainer: biosafety and biosecurity in South Africa

In the science world, laboratories are essential but safety precautions should be taken to prevent any incidents like the Ebola outbreak or biochemical attacks.
Many of South Africa’s primary and secondary schools are dysfunctional. But should universities use this as an excuse to turn all applicants from these schools away? REUTERS/Ryan Gray

Moving beyond the educational blame game in South Africa

Data from the National Benchmark Test can be used by universities to support students who lag behind in academic literacy.
There is an abundance of baby fur seals on the west coast of South Africa, but true seals, which inhabited the area five million years ago, no longer do so. Supplied

Unlocking the mystery of how true seals disappeared from the Cape

Climate and sea level changes over time have led to the disappearance of the true seals, although these mammals still exist in the Antarctic.
A student protests against colonial-era statues at the University of Cape Town. Changing the curriculum structure is another way to decolonise South Africa’s universities. Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Decolonise more than just curriculum content – change the structure, too

It's not just the content of South Africa's university curricula that needs to be re-examined. The country's degree structure should be reconsidered, too.
What’s in a name? Plenty, if it is a dinosaur such as the Changyuraptor, a genus of the ‘four-winged’ predatory dinosaur. S. Abramowicz, Dinosaur Institute

Unraveling the mystery of how dinosaurs get their names

A dinosaur's name says something about the dinosaur itself. They are grouped together according to similarities they share, which also indicates their ancestral relationships to one another.
Bats have adapted new hunting techniques in their pursuit of moths who in turn have developed defensive strategies. Sarun T/Shutterstock

Explainer: the evolutionary arms race between bats and moths

Bats have developed special attack mechanisms for hunting moths, and moths have responded by developing defence mechanisms to avoid being eaten.
Thenjiwe Madzinga sits with her grandson Thina Gxotelwa in the small room they share in a shack in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha township. Madzinga cares for her five grandchildren, including four who were orphaned when her daughter died from AIDS in 2002. Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

South Africa is failing to address malnutrition in its older people

The health care needs of older people tend to be marginalised because South Africa's health policy is focused on children, youth and maternal care.

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