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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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.
Oscar Pistorius’ early release was a virtual certainty from the day he was sentenced. EPA/Herman Verwey

Why parole for Oscar Pistorius is perfectly legitimate

Oscar Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide for what was deemed a tragic accident. In light of that verdict, he has not been subject to any special treatment in terms of his sentence.
Only a small portion of Porto Novo, Benin, is built-up. The city is taking steps to combat climate change. Anton Ivanov/Shutterstock

Porto Novo: an African city taking action against climate change

Porto Novo in Benin, Rouen in France and Da Nang in Vietnam are taking steps to mitigate the harsh effects of climate change, which will hit them hard if they don't.
The dogmas of ruling and rebel groups in Africa conflate political conflict and spirituality. Reuters/Alain Amontchi

What lies behind the rise of jihadist movements in Africa

The failure of African states to adequately address their racial, ethnic, cultural, religious and economic differences provided the fertile ground on which rebel groups now prosper.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby in the The Great Gatsby. Jay’s story has been used by economists to explain the combination of unequal distribution of income and less economic mobility. Reuters/Andrew Kelly

Apartheid continues to cast shadow on equality of opportunity

Evidence on the ability, or lack thereof, of children to rise above the economic status of their parents shines light on the continued persistence of inequality, including in South Africa.
The Cape sugarbird is vulnerable to ailments, including obesity, that are linked to climate change and urbanisation. J Tinkler

Fast, cheap calories may make city birds fat and sick

Species facing the blitz of accelerating, human-driven change don’t always cope well. Birds are among the most visible windows into this world of vulnerability.
Detractors argue that decolonising the curriculum to include writers like Steve Biko (who was much admired by former president Nelson Mandela) will lower standards. Mike Hutchings/Reuters

South African students must be given the chance to read what they like

Evidence from an 18-month-old research project suggests that making elements of the Humanities curriculum more Afro-centric boosts student engagement.
Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini with the late former South African president Nelson Mandela and Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Mandela combined a deep faith in culture and constitutionalism. Reuters

Unease reigns as culture and the constitution collide in South Africa

The recent skirmishes about culture in the public space represent the tip of an iceberg that can be properly characterised as a cultural backlash.
The Union Buildings in Pretoria, home to South Africa’s government. Public confidence in civil servants has been severely eroded. Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

South Africa needs a professional civil service

Political factors have played a disproportionate role in decisions on the promotion, transfer and performance assessments of government officials.
A 3rd year chemical engineering student from the University of Cape Town in a vacation “boot camp” to help with supplementary exam preparation. Jennifer Case

A different route to reducing university drop-out rates

How do you overhaul a university department so it offers the best teaching, support and development for a radically changed context?
Murder trial: Oscar Pistorius after giving evidence last week. EPA/Stringer

The Pistorius defence and the fear that grips white South Africa

The week has not begun well for Oscar Pistorius. Under relentless cross-examination from prosecutor Gerrie Nel, the Paralympian athlete, standing trial for shooting and killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp…

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