of Fort Hare, situated in the town of Alice
in the Eastern Cape
of South Africa
(part of the old Transkei
), was established in 1916 with the vision of providing equal education
to all, regardless of race
. This dream was realised until 1957
's Extension of University Education Act
made it impossible for the university to provide a high quality education to it's Black
student body. The level of education at Fort Hare was reduced to that of a bush college
Since 1990, the University of Fort Hare has been striving to rebuild it's past greatness. Many of the staff who left in the 1960s returned to the university to teach. Only time will tell whether this goal will be achieved.
Fort Hare is a symbol of the struggle against apartheid. Many of the struggle leaders, including Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Robert Sobukwe and Mangosuthu Buthelezi studied there, as did controversial Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. Fort Hare's philosophy of plain living and high thinking greatly influenced many of these leaders. In Long Walk to Freedom Nelson Mandela speaks very highly of his years studying at Fort Hare.