University of KwaZulu-Natal

University of KwaZulu-Natal[1]
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 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]


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, on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

University of Natal

Main article: 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 of 1997,[5] and its constitution 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 the statute, the university consists of:

Academic structure

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 campuses. For example, the Chemistry is in both the Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses.[9]

College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science

College of Health Sciences

College of Humanities

College of Law and Management Studies

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


The university is geographically divided into five distinct campuses,[10] which partially correspond to its managerial and academic divisions. Two campuses (Edgewood and the Medical School) house specific academic divisions (education and medicine respectively), but the remainder of the university's academic divisions span 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 a large engineering department consisting of Electrical engineering and Chemical engineering. The College of Humanities and College of Law and Management are also positioned on this campus together with the Centre For Creative Arts (CCA) and the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre which host annually the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), Poetry Africa, Time of the Writer and the creative dance festival JOMBA! which is produced by the FlatFoot Dance company.

Westville campus

Westville campus is 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 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. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "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. 1 2 3 4 "University of KwaZulu Natal". Southern African Regional Universities Association. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  4. 1 2 "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). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 July 2008.
  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. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "About UKZN". UKZN. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  11. "University of KwaZulu-Natal". Times Higher Education (THE).
  12. "Top Africa". Ranking Web of World Universities. Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  13. 1 2 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.
  27. Y. K. Seedat, "Soromini Kallichurum: A South African Medical Icon and a Fearless Protector of Students During Apartheid" British Medical Journal 326(7386)(22 February 2003): 450.
  28. "NB Publishers | Our Authors | DJ Opperman". Retrieved 2016-02-10.
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