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University of KwaZulu-Natal

University of KwaZulu-Natal[1]
UKZN badge
Established 1 January 2004 as merger of UN (est. 1910) and UDW (est. 1960s)[1]
Chancellor Dr Zweli Mkhize[2]
Vice-Chancellor Dr. Albert van Jaarsveld
Academic staff
1,472[3] (2007)
Students 37,850[3] (2007)
Undergraduates 24,897[3] (2007)
Postgraduates 3,807[3] (2007)
Location Durban, Westville, Pinetown and Pietermaritzburg[1], KwaZulu-Natal[1], South Africa[1]
Campus 5 campuses[4]

The University of KwaZulu-Natal or UKZN is a university with five campuses all located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.[4] It was formed on 1 January 2004 after the merger between the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville.[1]


  • History 1
    • University of Natal 1.1
    • University of Durban-Westville 1.2
  • Organization 2
  • Academic structure 3
  • Campuses 4
    • Pietermaritzburg campus 4.1
    • Howard College campus 4.2
    • Westville campus 4.3
    • Nelson Mandela medical school 4.4
    • Edgewood campus 4.5
  • Ranking 5
  • Controversies 6
  • Notable alumni 7
    • University of Durban-Westville 7.1
    • University of Natal 7.2
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The university was formed by the merger of the University of Natal, and the University of Durban-Westville, in 2004.

The main clock tower of Old Main Building, located on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

University of Natal

University of Durban-Westville

The Memorial Tower Building on the Howard College Campus in Durban, University of KwaZulu-Natal


The university is governed in accordance with the Higher Education Act,[5] and the constitution of the university is specified in the Statute of the University of KwaZulu-Natal,[6] as approved by the South African Minister of Education and the Parliament of South Africa.

In terms of the statute, the university consists of:

  • the chancellor (the titular head). The first chancellor of the merged university was Dr Frene Ginwala. It is currently Dr Zweli Mkhize.
  • the vice chancellor (the executive head)
  • two or more deputy vice chancellors (currently there are five full and one acting)[7]
  • the registrar (responsible for registering students)
  • the council (responsible for governance of the institution as a whole)
  • the senate (responsible for governance of academic activities)
  • the students representative council (responsible for students representation)
  • the institutional forum (responsible for advising the council on matters of human rights and equality)
  • the colleges (currently there are four)
  • the academic and support staff
  • the students
  • the convocation (all the alumni and some others)

Academic structure

In terms of academic subdivisions, the university is made up of four colleges, which are in turn made up of several schools.[8] In most cases, a subdivision is spread across one or more of the university's geographical campuses. For example, the Chemistry is located across both Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses.[9]

College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science

  • School of Engineering
  • School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • School of Chemistry and Physics
  • School of Life Sciences
  • School Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science

College of Health Sciences

  • School of Clinical Medicine
  • School of Laboratory Medicine & Medical Sciences
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Nursing & Public Health

College of Humanities

  • School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics
  • School of Arts
  • School of Social Sciences
  • School of Applied Human Sciences
  • School of Built Environment and Development Studies
  • School of Education

College of Law and Management Studies

  • Graduate School of Business and Leadership
  • School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
  • School of Law
  • School of Management, IT and Governance

An institute build in cooperation with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is the new KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV, opened in 2012. It is located at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine campus.


The university is geographically divided into five distinct campuses,[10] which partially correspond to managerial and academic divisions of the university. Two campuses (Edgewood and the Medical School) house specific academic divisions (education and medicine respectively), but the remainder of the university's academic divisions are spanned across Howard College, Pietermaritzburg and Westville.

Pietermaritzburg campus

Pietermaritzburg campus was the main location of the University of Natal and its predecessor, the Natal University College, until the opening of the Howard College campus in Durban. This campus contains the university's oldest structure, Old Main Building, built in 1912.[10] Pietermaritzburg campus offers a broad range of academic degrees, and is the only UKZN campus providing training in agriculture, theology and fine arts.[10]

Howard College campus

Howard College campus was the Durban location of the University of Natal until the 2004 merger. It spans the Berea Ridge. Howard College offers a wide range of degrees, with some teaching divided between there and Westville.[10]

Westville campus

Westville campus is located in and environmental conservancy in Westville, about 20 km West of Durban.[10] It was formerly the site of the University of Durban-Westville before the 2004 merger. Westville offers a range of degrees, and will soon be the main home of the disciplines of commerce and management.[10]

Nelson Mandela medical school

Nelson Mandela medical school campus, created in 1950, was originally a racially segregated part of the University of Natal.[10] It was one of the few tertiary institutions legally allowed to provide education to black people under apartheid. It was granted Nelson Mandela's name on its 50th anniversary in 2000. The medical school is the home of health sciences.

Edgewood campus

Edgewood campus is located in Pinetown, east of Durban. The buildings originally formed the Edgewood College of Education, which was incorporated into the University of Natal in 2001.[10] Edgewood is the main location of the university's Faculty of Education.[10]


UKZN was ranked fourth out of the universities in South Africa by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings [11]

UKZN's website was ranked sixth out of university websites in South Africa (and 1,051st worldwide) in the January 2011 edition of the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities.[12]


There have been a number of controversies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal since its foundation.

Firstly, there have been several staff strikes and student strikes,[13][14] [15] [16] [17] with some strikes from 2009 onward involving police intervention and the use of riot control measures, as well as violence on the part of some strikers.[18][19]

Secondly, there have been a series of legal and disciplinary actions taken by senior university management against academics for speaking in public about the university.[20] [21] [22] [23] These actions have drawn wide criticism, both from academics and from organisations such as Cosatu and UNESCO.[24] They were also the cause of a 2008 staff strike.[13]

Notable alumni

As the university has only existed since 2004, very few of its graduates have had the opportunity to attain great fame. There are, however, numerous notable alumni of its founding institutions:-

University of Durban-Westville

University of Natal


  1. ^ a b c d e f "History of the University of KwaZulu-Natal". University of KwaZulu-Natal. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Moodley, Indu. "The University of KwaZulu-Natal's first chancellor – Dr Frene Ginwala". University of KwaZulu-Natal. Retrieved 18 November 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d "University of KwaZulu Natal". Southern African Regional Universities Association. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Choice of campuses". University of KwaZulu-Natal. Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2007. 
  5. ^ Parliament of South Africa (1997). "Higher Education Act" (PDF). Government Gazette 390 (18515). 
  6. ^ Parliament of South Africa (2005). "Statute of the University of KwaZulu-Natal" (PDF). Government Gazette 684 (29032). 
  7. ^ University of KwaZulu-Natal. ["" "Executive of the University of KwaZulu-Natal"] . 
  8. ^ [UKZN. "Schools". Retrieved 3 February 2012. 
  9. ^ [UKZN. "School of Chemistry". Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "About UKZN". UKZN. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Top Africa". Ranking Web of World Universities. Retrieved 26 February 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Dell, Sharon (14 November 2008). "UKZN staff prepare for strike". The Witness. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  14. ^ Mbonambi, Gugu (9 March 2010). "March disrupts lectures on KZN campus". The Mercury. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Subramoney, Thrishni (9 September 2011). "UKZN management to take action against strike". East Coast Radio. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  16. ^ Ndlovu, Sinegugu (31 March 2011). "Campus turns into battlefield". The Mercury. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  17. ^ "Campus turns into battlefield". Sapa. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  18. ^ "UKZN Student Protest Turns Ugly". The Mercury. 24 March 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  19. ^ MAGWAZA, NOMPUMELEL (24 March 2009). "Blind student hurt as protest turns ugly". The Mercury. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  20. ^ McKune, Craig (20 January 2009). "Management shows contempt for academic freedom at UKZN". South African Journal of Science. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  21. ^ "FXI distressed by disciplinary action against two UKZN Professors". NTSEU. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  22. ^ Gower, PRIMARASHNI (15 March 2008). "UKZN academics question senate probe". Mail and Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  23. ^ "Controversy and transformation at UKZN". Science and Development Network. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  24. ^ Hlongwane, Agiza (7 December 2008). "Clean up your act, UKZN warned". Sunday Tribune. p. 1. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  25. ^ "Stephen Bantu Biko". South African history online. September 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2007. 
  26. ^ "Mark Bristow: the man least likely to suffer when gold loses its lustre". The Guardian. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 

External links

  • UKZN official site
  • Fight for Fazel Khan – Union Leader Fired from UKZN in 2006
  • Freedom of Expression Institute website
  • Official UKZN twitter

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