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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 141 - 160 of 164 articles

South Africa is slowly transforming the retributive Western criminal justice system it inherited from colonial times to incorporate African principles of reconciliation and reparation. shutterstock

Why South Africa’s tentative moves toward restorative justice need support

The emergence of the restorative justice philosophy responds to the need to change South Africa’s retributive criminal justice system to accommodate African legal practices.
South Africa’s nuclear deal with Russia is part of the backdrop to the current crisis. Reuters/Alexei Nikolsky

Why South Africa should gird itself for tumultuous times

President Jacob Zuma’s era has been characterised by a high turnover, not only of cabinet members, but also senior public officials and executives in state-owned enterprises.
University of Cape Town scientists work in the Drug Discovery and Development Centre. More needs to be done to keep Africa’s scientists on home ground. Epa/Nic Bothma

Closing the research gap between Africa and the rest of the world

If the continent is to grasp the science and technology revolution, then governments should take the lead in both policy formulation and implementation.
A bust of Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid. Verwoerd believed that black people should know their place – and that included staying away from ‘white’ jobs. Juda Ngwenya/Reuters

History explains why black South Africans still mistrust vocational training

Vocational training is regarded as “low status” in South Africa. Much of the negativity around technical and vocational work seems to lie in the country’s history.
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.
For black women demands for equal dignity and fairness do not necessarily entail a desire to do away with male leadership in the home, community and country. EPA/Jim Hollander

Why black women in South Africa don’t fully embrace the feminist discourse

National Women’s Day in South Africa marks the historic protest in 1956 of women against apartheid policies. But, six decades on, black women have yet to fully embrace feminism as a discourse.
South African Communist Party general secretary and South Africa’s higher education minister Blade Nzimande addresses the party’s 3rd special congress in Soweto in June. Sowetan/Vathiswa Ruselo

Why communism appears to be gaining favour in South Africa

The SACP is the oldest communist party in Africa, formed in 1921. It is one of only 20 parties which survived the anti-communist purge post independence. Its membership went through cycles over years.
Due to the lack of reliable statistics surrounding human trafficking, there is no real scope of how large the problem really is, making it more difficult to police. Shutterstock

Human trafficking in South Africa: an elusive statistical nightmare

Human trafficking is a major source of misery around the world. The absence of reliable statistics to determine its enormity has led to inflated guesstimates that harm efforts to combat the scourge.
South African President Jacob Zuma is also head of the country’s governing ANC. Leaders of the party and its alliance partners are meeting to take stock amid tough times. Reuters/Rogan Ward

Why South Africa’s governing alliance is doing some serious stock-taking

The leaders of South Africa’s governing ANC and its alliance partners, the SACP and Cosatu, are holding an unprecedented week-long meeting at a time of grave difficulties afflicting the alliance.
Africa has suffered its fair share of military rule, but many countries are now electoral democracies. Juda Ngwenya/Reuters

Democracy in Africa: the ebbs and flows over six decades

Democracy in Africa has yet to be firmly anchored to withstand the strong currents that threaten it. Although most African countries are electoral democracies, most hold dubious elections.
Liberalism means something completely different in South Africa compared with the US and UK, and has racist connotations. shutterstock

Navigating South Africa’s loaded political lexicon

Liberalism is a dirty word for the majority of South Africans. This goes back to early colonialism. Liberals opposed apartheid but not the close relationship between capitalism and apartheid.
Voters line up in Nigeria’s recent election. It was deemed free, fair and relatively peaceful. EPA

Pockets of progress in Africa’s election landscape

Compared to other parts of the world, Africa is not a high-flyer in the area of election management. This can be attributed to the scourge of violence, fraud, corruption and intimidation.

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