The university came into existence in 1916 and is the oldest historically black university in South Africa. Throughout its existence, Fort Hare … has been a beacon for African scholars from all over Southern, Central and Eastern Africa and produced the most influential alumni in politics, business, religion and other fields including statesman and Nobel Laureates. It was a key institution in higher education for black Africans from 1916 to 1959 as it offered a Western-style, academically excellent education to students from across sub-Saharan Africa, creating a black African elite.
Mandela who studied Latin and Physics here, for almost two years in the 1940s, but left the institution as a result of a conflict with a college leader, later wrote in his autobiography that “For young black South Africans like myself, it was Oxford and Cambridge, Harvard and Yale, all rolled into one.
Most struggle leaders and several leading opponents of the apartheid regime attended Fort Hare and Lovedale among them Govan Mbeki, Robert Sobukwe, Chris Hani and Thabo Mbeki
Our alumni have also been part of many subsequent independence movements and governments of newly independent African countries including, Joshua Nkomo, Robert Mugabe Oliver Tambo
We have also produced persons in the diverse careers in fields such as, medicine, literature and art such as Ernest Mancoba, Dennis Brutus (an acclaimed poet), Can Themba (an accomplished journalist), the 23 year old Dr Louis Brown, Herbert Chitepo, novelist Stanlake Samkange and the first black Zimbabwean medical doctor, Ticofa Parirenyatwa are well-known.
Photo: Jurgen Schadeberg