Historical Milestones

1960 The University College of Zululand is established as a constituent college academically affiliated to the University of South Africa. The first intake of 41 students includes five females. Prof. PAW Cook is appointed as the first Rector. From humble beginnings, the institution has dramatically evolved from a so-called ‘bush college’ to a fully-fledged university, equal to any of the centres of higher learning in this country.  

1961 The University is officially opened on 8 March at a ceremony attended by 280 dignitaries, including tribal chiefs as well as diplomats from Switzerland, Brazil and Austria.

1963 The first graduation ceremony takes place.

1964 Prof JA Maré is appointed as the second Rector.

1970 University status is granted to the University College of Zululand.

1971 Dr TF Muller is appointed as the first Chancellor. The University’s coat of arms is officially introduced.

1977 Prof AC Nkabinde becomes the first black Rector.

1979 Dr MG Buthelezi is installed as the first black Chancellor.
Up to now the University catered mainly for the Zulu and Swazi ethnic groups. Henceforth, black students from any ethnic group within South Africa are accepted.
The Durban-Umlazi Extramural Division is established to serve the needs of the surrounding community. Prof AM Nzimande is appointed as its first campus Director.

1980 Election of the first Student Representative Council.
Opening of the King Bhekuzulu Hall.

1981 The Cecil Renaud Extramural Division is established at the main campus to accommodate after-hours students.
The Department of Nursing Science Is established.

1982 The University of Zululand Foundation, administered by a Board of Governors, is established to oversee the University’s fundraising and investment operations.

1983 A farm of 2500 ha is acquired in the Ntambanana area for the establishment of a Department of Agriculture.
A Centre for Business starts functioning.
Approval is obtained for the establishment of departments of Hydrology and Mathematical Statistics.
Dr M Brindley becomes the first white student to obtain a doctorate (special concession).

1984 The University Council is granted autonomy with regard to practically all matters relating to the disbursement of the annual subsidy, provision of facilities, the determination of the establishment and the employment of staff.

1985 The Research Unit for New Religious Movements and Churches (NERMIC) and the Science Centre are established.

1986 The University of Zululand is opened to all races.
First Honorary Doctorate awarded to Rev. Enos ZK Sikhakhane.

1987 The new library building is completed.
Centre for Legal Services established.

1988 Departments of Agriculture, Engineering, Human Movement Science and the Institute for Education and Human Development are established.

1993 Strong links are forged internationally. The research and training farm becomes operational.

1994 Prof CRM Dlamini becomes the fourth Rector.
An honorary doctorate degree is conferred upon His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini at a ceremony attended by State President (at that time) Nelson Mandela. The UZNET computer network is established at the main campus.

1995 Honorary Law Doctorate conferred on Deputy-President FW de Klerk.

2000 The Hewlett-Packard Computer Academy is inaugurated.

2001 The new modular academic system is introduced.
Deputy-President JG Zuma is installed as the University’s third Chancellor.
An Honorary Doctorate is conferred on Deputy-President JG Zuma.

2002 The University of Zululand is declared to be the only institution of higher learning north of the uThukela River and, henceforth, includes outcomes-based programmes in its curriculum. The University experiences an increased intake of students from other parts of Africa, especially from Namibia, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. Standardized Assessment Tests (SATs) are administered for the first time in order to assess first-year students in English, Mathematics and Science, so that students at risk in these subjects can be assisted to improve their skills through participation in appropriate enrichment programmes.
The Overarching Reconfiguration Committee (ORC) is established to represent all stakeholder groupings on campus as well as local businesses so as to generate policies and principles to facilitate the goal of reconfiguring the University into a Comprehensive Institution, as decreed by the Department of Education in May 2002.
A five-year Strategic Plan is inaugurated.

2003 Prof. Rachel V Gumbi becomes the University’s first black female Rector and Vice-Chancellor. She is the fifth Rector appointed since 1960.
Effective measures are introduced to turn around the University’s poor financial record and to redeem an overdraft of over R46-million within a three-year period.
Launch of the South African-Norway Tertiary Education Development Programme (SANTED) – a major capacity-building project to meet the needs of the restructuring process.
The Quality Promotion Assurance (QPA) Unit is launched to promote quality in teaching, learning and research by means of practical support, provision of advice and policy development.

2004 The chair for the Centre for Integrated Rural Development (CIRD) is launched – partnership between Kumba Resources and the University of Zululand.

2005 The former six Faculties (Arts; Education; Science & Agriculture; Law, Commerce & Administration; and Theology & Religion Studies) merge to become four Faculties, namely: Arts; Commerce, Administration & Law; Education; and Science & Agriculture.
The University celebrates its 45th Anniversary.
Unizulu launches its internal Organisational Development Plan (ODP) and major turn-around achievements are recorded.

2006 Replacement of Unizulu’s old computer system with a state-of-the-art ITS computer infrastructure costing R32, 9-million.
A new Department of Quality Assurance is established and a Director (Prof. G. Kistan) is appointed.

2007 Four Executive Deans are appointed in the various faculties:
Arts: Prof. Nomahlubi Makunga, Education: Prof. Sitwala Imenda
Science & Agriculture: Prof. Ramesh Ori, Commerce, Administration & Law: Prof. van den Bergh.
Construction of new R160-million off-campus building commences in central business district of Richards Bay.
GIJIMA (Change Management Project) is inaugurated to ensure implementation of operational changes in a systematic and controlled fashion.
New student residences are completed to house 368 occupants.
Unizulu (with co-host Jackson State University, US) hosts the first-ever Global-World HIV/AIDS Alliance conference (GHAA) in Africa, which is attended by delegates from 25 countries world-wide.
Unizulu’s Chemistry Department and co-hosts, the International Centre for Materials Research, the University of California and Jackson State University, host an International Nanotechnology Conference with 1996 Nobel Laureate and initiator of the nanotechnology revolution, Sir Harry Kroto, as Chairperson.

2008 Executive Director: Human Resources (Dr. M. Mokoele) appointed.
The Honourable Minister of Education, Mrs. Naledi Pandor, and Unizulu’s Chancellor Dr. J.G. Zuma (President of the ANC), commission the new residences at the main campus and officiate at the sod-turning ceremony for the new campus at Richards Bay. Preparations commence for the Institutional Audit by the Department of Education in October 2008. Launch of the Southern African Endogenous Development Programme (SAEDP) – a three-year strategic planning initiative.

2009 UNUZULU together with the Department of Economic Department co-hosts the First International Cooperative Conference in February 2009.
Launch of the University of Zululand – Richards Bay Campus in October 2009

Academic Training: Offered at undergraduate as well as postgraduate level in the faculties of Arts; Commerce, Administration & Law; Education; and Science & Agriculture. These faculties comprise some 50 departments, which offer a comprehensive range of diploma, degree, and postgraduate courses.

Research and Community Services: The geographical location of the University lends itself to community-oriented research, especially in the fields of rural development, the natural sciences (including agriculture), tourism, linguistics, folklore, history, religion, social work, politics, education and indigenous law.

Campus size: The main campus is situated on 156 ha of land.

2010 Prof. Fikile Mazibuko becomes the University’s second black female Rector and Vice-Chancellor. She is the sixth Rector appointed since 1960.