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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.