The origins of university education in KwaZulu-Natal: The Natal University College 1909–19491 (Englisch)

In: African Historical Review   ;  48 ,  1  ;  36-55  ;  2016

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Public demand for university facilities in the then Colony of Natal began to gather momentum from the mid-nineteenth century. The Natal University College that was eventually launched in 1909/1910 in Pietermaritzburg and extended to Durban during the 1920s was characterised by three prominent features: First, it was initially affiliated to the University of the Cape of Good Hope and, in 1918, became a constituent college of the University of South Africa before maturing to become the independent University of Natal in March 1949. Second, the College remained an exclusively white institution until 1936 when the ‘Natal Experiment’ was launched in the form of separate classes for so-called ‘Non-Europeans’. Third, competition between Pietermaritzburg and Durban was seemingly resolved in 1928 by mutual acceptance of the principle of duality but a dual campus structure had serious implications with regard to the equitable distribution of limited financial and other resources. Since 1949 the multi-campus concept has been expanded. The present-day University of KwaZulu-Natal, established in January 2004, has a fivecampus structure, with four sites in greater Durban in addition to the original base in Pietermaritzburg. It is also multi-racial and of mixed gender with regard both to its student and staff complement.

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