Vice-Chancellor’s tour brings excitement and enlightening

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Scenes of excitement played out at the Alice Campus this past weekend, 11th and 12th March, when the Vice-Chancellor took a group of 80 first-year students on a history tour of the campus.

The VC initiated the First-Year Tour last year and it has since become an annual tradition at the University of Fort Hare.

The purpose is to educate the first years about the rich history of the 107-year-old University, it also presents the students an opportunity to engage the VC and to get to know him better during interactive sessions held between the site visits.
“I felt it was important to do this tour because often history gets forgotten, lost, and distorted. It is crucial to remind and inform the younger generation of where we come from and how we came to be.” said the VC.

First stop was the De Beers Art Gallery, which houses a substantial collection of South African art acquired over an extended period. These include artworks of iconic artists and a collection of traditional African art including beadwork, utilitarian objects, costumes and a variety of other artefacts.

Next, was Freedom Square, regarded as the centre-point of the University's academic activities. In design, the building is a quadrangle created by the layout of three prominent buildings, namely Stewart Hall, Livingstone Hall and Henderson Hall.

The tour proceeded to the Christian Union Building (also known as the Theology Building).  Completed in 1930, the building resembles a cross, and its main feature is a square clock tower with four clocks facing the four cardinal points.

The VC and his tourists then stopped over at The Fort which was built in 1847 and named after Colonel John Hare who was lieutenant governor of the then Eastern Division of the Cape of Good Hope.

The second last stop of the tour was at the Chapel on the East Campus and then it ended at Green Auditorium where the murals of UFH alumnae, Gertrude Ntlabati, Phyllis Ntantala and Nolitha Fakude and the late Nosicelo Mtebeni are painted on the exterior.

Among the excited group of tourists was Amvuyele Mahlala, a Bachelor of Education student. He described the tour as “fulfilling and informative” saying: “I learned a lot about the history of the institution. I am very happy to have been part of this journey of discovery with the VC. I am now more informed about who my VC is and what he stands for, the history of this institution and this campus in particular.”

Sibongwa Jwayiza who is also studying towards a Bachelor of Education said: “I really enjoyed the tour and learning about the institution. What excites me the most is hearing about the positive changes and transformations of the institution since its establishment. I am happy to be studying at the University of legends such as Nelson Mandela, and Robert Mugabe and Robert Sobukwe.’’