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TThe University of South Africa (UNISA) is one of the oldest universities in the country, and one of the largest universities in the world. Its roots date back 130 years, when it was originally called The University of the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1916, the name was changed to the University of South Africa, and in 1918 it moved from Cape Town to Pretoria. In 1946 the university changed its focus to become a distance education university.
TThis grand institute of higher learning, resting on the Muckleneuk Ridge as you enter Pretoria, has a long heritage of service to the country. With over 300 000 students and 4000 teaching staff, UNISA is one of the largest universities in the world, and offers certificate, degree, diploma and doctoral level courses.
TThe university boasts a colourful repertoire of alma maters such as Nelson Mandela; Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe; anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Kathrada; President Cyril Ramaphosa; Cabinet minister and former political prisoner, Tokyo Sexwale; and Walter Battiss, a South African abstract painter.
UUNISA also plays hosts to one of the most anticipated annual lectures, The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture Dialogue Series. The series is a significant event on the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory's calendar. It presents a unique platform to drive engagement on significant social issues. The lecture has had the privilege of hosting global thought leaders and shape-shifters including former presidents Bill Clinton and Thabo Mbeki; Nobel Laureates Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu and Mohammad Yunus; and professors Ariel Dorfman and Ismail Serageldin.
AAt the university you can also visit the UNISA Space Art Gallery. Established in 1986, the gallery hosts a variety of exhibitions every year, focussing on the diversity of the country as well as other relevant aspects of the arts. The gallery is also a centre for research with its publicly accessible online inventory of catalogues and permanent art collections. It not only serves as a traditional gallery and exhibition space, but it is also a place of knowledge and research. Tours and workshops are offered to visitors, staff and students.
The FNB Stadium continues to be the preferred platform of choice for the Soweto Derby featuring Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
The Mandela House in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, is now a small but interesting museum where you can learn more about Nelson Mandela's life.
Dr. A.B. Xuma’s house in Sophiatown tells the story of a way of life during apartheid.
National Archives and Records Service of South Africa - the Reading Room is open for public use and is free of charge.
The Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Facility gallows is now a museum. It memorialises the 3500 souls who lost their lives here.
Soak up Soweto’s rich cultural atmosphere at an important South African tourist destination - Sakhumzi Restaurant.
Have you heard of Agritourism? This is a category of tourism that provides visitors the opportunity to experience everyday life on working farms, ranches, wineries and agricultural industries.
Nelson Mandela’s memory lives on in a number of places in Gauteng where he spent his formative political years, opening a legal practice and starting to play a leading role in the Struggle against apartheid.
Johannesburg’s Constitution Hill remembers the horrors of the past, and yet embraces the promises of the future, marrying them with the reality of the present.
The next time you decide to try something new and different, why not go for a memorable township experience in the kasi (township) of all kasis: Alexandra.
With Nelson Mandela's passing, he will be remembered for his generosity of spirit and the remarkable achievement of bringing peace to a deeply divided country.