SPU Home Page, Sol Plaatje University is located in Kimberley, Northern Cape. This region gives our students and staff unique opportunities for learning, research and community development.
The Province hosts a remarkably rich archive of human and natural heritage, which exists both in formal collections and in informal communal and natural environments of this beautiful region. Kimberley hosts good quality museums and galleries, as well as special archival collections located in this rich narrative that has yet to be told.
This context presents us with an exceptional opportunity to make a global contribution to intellectual development and knowledge production in the arts and Humanities/Heritage fields of study. Rooted in this rich context, our teaching, research and community engagement taps into this rich archive, yet interacts with the world around us.
We pride ourselves on excellent teaching and service to our students, conduct relevant and socially responsive relevant research and create opportunities for community and public engagement activities, opening our doors and hearts to the community around us.
ABOUT SOL PLAATJE
Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje (9 October 1876 – 19 June 1932) was a South African intellectual, journalist, linguist, politician, translator and writer. Plaatje was a founder member and first General Secretary of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), which became the African National Congress (ANC). The Sol Plaatje Local Municipality, which includes the city of Kimberley, is named after him, as is the Sol Plaatje University in this city, which opened its doors in 2014.
Plaatje was born in Doornfontein near Boshof, Orange Free State (now Free State Province, South Africa), the sixth of eight sons. His grandfather’s name was Selogilwe Mogodi but his employer nicknamed him Plaatje and the family started using this as a surname. His parents Johannes and Martha were members of the Tswana nation. They were Christians and worked for missionaries at mission stations in South Africa.
When Solomon was four, the family moved to Pniel near Kimberley in the Cape Colony to work for a German missionary, Ernst Westphal, and his wife Wilhelmine. There he received a mission-education. When he outpaced fellow learners he was given additional private tuition by Mrs Westphal, who also taught him to play the piano and violin and gave him singing lessons.
After leaving school, he moved to Kimberley in 1894 where he became a telegraph messenger for the Post Office. He subsequently passed the clerical examination (the highest in the colony) with higher marks than any other candidate in Dutch and typing At that time, the Cape Colony had qualified franchise for all men 21 or over, the qualification being that they be able to read and write English or Dutch and earn over 50 pounds a year. Thus, when he turned 21 in 1897, he was able to vote, a right he would later lose when British rule ended.
He was married to Elizabeth Lilith M’belle, a union that would produce five children – Frederick, Halley, Richard, Violet and Olive.
He died of pneumonia at Pimville, Johannesburg on 19 June 1932 and was buried in Kimberley. Over a thousand people attended the funeral.
Decades passed before Plaatje began to receive the recognition he deserved.
In the 1970s interest was stirred in Plaatje’s journalistic and literary legacy through the work of John Comaroff (who edited for the publication of The Boer War Diary of Sol T. Plaatje, and by Tim Couzens and Stephen Gray (who focused attention on Sol Plaatje’s novel, Mhudi.)
Rapidly, his intellect and influence became widespread and respected. Among the many posthumous tributes to Plaatje
Sol Plaatje University is privileged and honored to bear the name of this intellectual giant of South Africa. His legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of all who are part of this young university, the first to be established in the Northern Cape Province.
Sol Plaatje University (SPU) opened in 2014, the first of two new universities to be established in post-apartheid South Africa. It is also the first university to be established in the Northern Cape Province.
Positioned as a niche university
Positioning itself as a niche university, SPU offers academic programmes of a high intellectual nature in fields that meet the needs of the South African thrust to develop a nation that is proud of its heritage and roots.
In developing the focus for its academic disciplines, SPU has looked to the unique needs, competence and characteristics of the Northern Cape region. This approach brought the current focus areas of teacher education, ICT and data science, heritage studies, paleo-sciences and creative writing in African languages to the fore.
Furthermore, in an era of concern about global warming and the more-serious threat to arid regions like the Northern Cape, SPU is developing future programmes in agricultural sciences with a focus on water-stressed conditions. The availability of physical resources together with the intellectual capacity to deliver such programmes will determine how quickly they can be implemented.
Solid relationships with stakeholders
SPU wants to be a serious contributor to the enduring human attempts at giving meaning to complexity, in the particular context of the region. To do this, the University is forming solid and respectful partnerships with social and institutional structures in Kimberley and in the Northern Cape more generally. It is in these partnerships that the idea of a university in the Northern Cape presents its most exciting prospect.
Developed as city university
SPU has been developed as a city university in the town of Kimberley. It occupies a combination of existing and purpose-built structures. The architecture of the new buildings has a unique personality and embraces a modern approach to light and space and is inclusive of artwork and design reflecting the heritage of the area.
An important characteristic of a great city is that it also has a good university. Here is the nexus that aligns the development strategies of the city and the University and that demands of SPU to develop and sustain high quality, exciting academic programmes that will be attractive to staff and students from the region and beyond to learn, work and live in Kimberley.
Pride in its namesake
SPU takes pride in the fact that it bears the name of Sol Plaatje, a visionary South African intellectual who embraced the values and ethos to which the University subscribes.
More about Sol Plaatje University
The vision of SPU is university critically engaging in learning, research and development – while enhancing democratic practice and social justice in society.
The SPU mission is:
To become an institution of higher learning uniquely positioned to:
- graduate citizens competent and capable of realising the aspirations of society
- produce new knowledge impacting on key challenges of the region
- engage critically with communities of discourse and communities of people in order to search out pathways to equitable development.
The following three goals underpin the continuing development of SPU:
Goal 1: Academic design, development and delivery freedom
Goal 2: Cultivating the Sol Plaatje University experience freedom
Goal 3: University governance, management and operation freedom
- Academic freedom
- Independent intellectual endeavor
- Depth and breadth of knowledge and critical thinking
- Academic citizenship
- National and international comparability of academic quality
- Community engagement and social responsiveness
- Intellectual integrity
STUDENT AFFAIRS OVERVIEW
We liaise with students and create positive relations between them, faculties and university administration. Our role is to lead and give direction on various purposeful programs. We provide overall functions to the entire student community, from student counselling and wellness, students clubs and societies as well as students’ residences. We ensure that students experience a quality of life with positive memories outside and inside the classroom. Our unit has a Student Advisor who from time to time makes time available to reach out to students and ensure that their problems are sorted. Student Affairs serves as a central place where students can freely express their views in relation to any academic, personal and emotional challenges they come across on campus.
Our primary function is to help students in any possible way we can. We further encourage students to be free to visit our relevant divisions for help whenever it is necessary for them to do so, particularly counselling and guidance. We continue to make efforts to ensure that students enjoy their student life by putting in systems that free them from worries and academic distractions. We encourage students to embrace independent thinking as a way to allow them to manage their own affairs and to cope with life challenges. All of the above necessitate their growth to matured adulthood. We are a friendly guide to students. Their needs are administered from the moment they enter into the university space. We are putting programs together to manage their transition from where they come from into their new environment. We aim to produce a responsible graduate.
We enrich our students with co-curricular activities through sports on campus. We build a strong relationship between our students, their peers and other stakeholders.
Switchboard: +27 (0)53 491 0000
For application and registration information, kindly contact
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