University of South Africa

The University of South Africa, also known as Unisa, is the largest open distance learning institution in Africa and the longest standing dedicated distance education university in the world. We enrol nearly one-third of all South African students.

Founded in 1873 as the University of the Cape of Good Hope, the institution became the first public university in the world to teach exclusively by means of distance education in 1946. Throughout the years, Unisa was perhaps the only university in South Africa to have provided all people with access to education, irrespective of race, colour or creed. This vibrant past is mirrored in our rich history, more particularly our massive and impressive database of alumni, some of whom are to be found in the most senior levels of society across the world.

Given our rootedness in South Africa and the African continent, Unisa today can truly claim to be the African university in the service of humanity.

We have embraced the fact that we need to adapt quickly to the fast-paced higher education environment of the 21st century and this is reflected in our management style and leadership practice. In addition, one of our main aims is to harness the new and emerging potential in information and communication technology to catapult the university into a truly digital future.

We offer an unparalleled range of study choices, ranging from short courses and certificate programmes to three-and four-year degrees and diplomas, to over 400 000 current students. As one of the leading research institutions on the continent, our research efforts have won us numerous awards, recognitions and honours.

Through our efforts we contribute to the knowledge and information society, advance development, nurture a critical citizenry and ensure global sustainability.

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Displaying 1 - 20 of 44 articles

Qedani Mahlangu resigned as the local government minister for health in Gauteng following the deaths of 94 mentally ill patients. South African Tourism

Top political executives in South Africa don’t resign: they only quit under duress

Mahlangu's resignation over the deaths of mental patients sets her apart from her colleagues in government. But, it does not portend a new trend in political accountability for the governing ANC.
An aerial view of workers at a factory in one of Kenya’s export processing zones near the capital Nairobi. Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

If Africa is serious about a free trade area it needs to act quickly, and differently

Africa needs to learn from the experiences of others who have negotiated free trade pacts. In particular it needs to ensure its process is inclusive and does not pander to a few special interests.
Nelson Mandela (right), with former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, saw human rights as central to South Africa’s foreign affairs. Reuters

South Africa’s foreign policy has been at sixes and sevens – here’s why

South Africa's decision to leave the ICC suggests that its foreign policy is caught in a dilemma between lofty ideas, an unsettled identity crisis, and shifting priorities in a complex world.
The criminal case against South African finance minister Pravin Gordhan, right, is an example of President Jacob Zuma’s abuse of state institutions. GCIS

How Zuma has used the capture of South Africa’s state institutions to stay in power

The use of the prosecuting authority and the police in ANC succession struggles has a long history. What's different in the Zuma era is the symbiosis between elite police and the prosecution service.
The Democratic Alliance’s Herman Mashaba celebrates victory as Johannesburg’s new mayor after the ANC’s defeat. The Star/Boxer Ngwenya

Tumultuous times for South Africa as it enters the era of coalition politics

South Africa's watershed local elections have resulted in upsets for the ANC in key metropoles. But will the new, minority coalition regimes live up to their mandate of providing basic services?
Supporters of South Africa’s governing ANC during campaigning for upcoming local election. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Cracks in South Africa’s governing alliance could cost the ANC dearly

The Tripartite Alliance in South Africa has previously provided the governing African National Congress with diverse support, securing it victory at the polls. It is now riven with dissension.
Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa unsuccessfully pleads for calm with angry ANC supporters. EPA/Ihsaan Haffejee

Violence in South Africa’s capital leaves ANC vulnerable at the polls

Some of the factors behind the riots by ANC supporters in Tshwane are not new. They include gripes within the governing party about its process for choosing mayors and divisions over Jacob Zuma.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn greets US President Barack Obama on his arrival in Ethiopia. Reuters/Tiksa Negeri

How US aid to Africa has changed in the wake of China’s growing influence

Between 1995 and 2013 the US provided about US$98 billion in aid to sub-Saharan Africa. But the country's economic and political reach is slowly declining.
A woman cheers during Freedom Day celebrations in South Africa. Reuters/Mujahid Safodien

South Africans take stock as the country celebrates Freedom Day

South Africa's transition to democracy was based on the values of inclusive politics, reconciliation, human rights and constitutionalism. Twenty-two years on, how has the country fared?
Crowds cheer as Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe arrives to address the country’s Independence Day celebrations in Harare. Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

What Africa’s most newly independent states did with 22 years of freedom

Namibia's new elite has used "affirmative action" for self-enrichment, while the majority of the population remains excluded from its the wealth. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's socio-economic woes continue.
China’s President Xi Jinping on a state visit to Zimbabwe. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

How and why China became Africa’s biggest aid donor

The increasing importance of non-traditional donors such as China has meant that the economic and political stronghold of Western countries in sub-Sahara Africa has gradually ebbed.
Cine Petro Atletica, once Huambo’s finest cinema, was destroyed during fierce fighting in Angola’s bloody civil war. Reuters/John Chiahemen MH/WS

A new narrative unfolds about South Africa’s protracted war in Angola

Apartheid South Africa started a war in which it could not maintain a strategic advantage. It misread the quest for national liberation and international opinion that undermined its effectiveness.

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