Nelson Mandela University officially launched its new name in 2017 as part of the next phase in its journey to becoming a great African university.

A new entity needs a new identity and therefore new names would be an inevitable outcome of such a process.

The general transformation imperative within the University would also be advanced by addressing the issue of naming and renaming. Changing names can be an important visual indicator of broader transformation interventions. Physical infrastructure in the form of buildings is an important part of a university, and constitutes and facilitates the academic projects, namely the teaching, learning, research, engagement, student and staff campus life and public experience. It is where teaching, learning and research content is produced, where the institutional culture gets its legitimacy to navigate the movement and thinking of human beings interacting with it daily for the enriching purpose of producing and disseminating knowledge.

Buildings and university spaces cannot carry empty names like “Building X or Y”. Such names are devoid of meaning and do not possess anything of significance about the university today and what it is becoming. It reflects nothing about the meaning and significance of Nelson Mandela, and about the empowering purpose of higher education in South Africa and Africa for that matter.

Our progressive naming framework is reflective of the times and will guide the review of existing names and naming of future buildings and places more in keeping with the vision of the University, the ethos and values of Nelson Mandela and the South African Constitution.