About University of Cape Town Association of Black Alumni (UCTABA)

Having been established in 1829 (more than 180 years ago), UCT functioned as a "Whites Only" institution and only admitting its first small group of blacks in 1920. The number of black students remained very low until towards the latter part of the 1980s, when the institution, reading the signs of change in the country, committed itself to a deliberate and planned process of internal transformation.

Resulting from this, UCT remains susceptible to being perceived to be embracing values and ethos of the white minority, invariably resulting in the alienation of other people. It is against this background that it became necessary to adopt a collective approach in making our contribution.

On the 27th of April 2007, the 13th Anniversary of the democratic dispensation in South Africa, a group of erstwhile Black students of the University of Cape Town (UCT) assembled at UCT. At this gathering the UCT Association of Black Alumni (UCTABA) was inaugurated by a declaration of all present.

This initiative was born out of the realisation that as an important constituency of the University, with common history and experience, we as former students have a role to play in shaping the transformation processes at UCT. History will attest that institutions of higher learning flourish when they engage with their past and present constituencies, thereby remaining relevant to the needs of society. Given this background, we as Black Alumni therefore believe that on-going engagement and active participation is the cornerstone towards ensuring that this strategic national asset evolves and continues to contribute towards building a sustainable future for all South Africans. As our heritage, the University of Cape Town must continue to serve future generations, in even better ways than it did during our times.

UCTABA provides a platform to encourage meaningful debate with the institution on matters of mutual concern. UCTABA’s objectives are to:

  • Positively influence the mission of UCT through participation in policy development.
  • Assist UCT in accelerating the implementation of its "action guide on transformation", focusing on such issues as staff diversity, student access, success and equity, curriculum change, leadership and governance as well as institutional culture.
  • Provide guidance and act as role models for young black students, and in particular assist in linking up their education to their careers to accelerate their productivity within the country’s economy.
  • Align the programs of UCT with those of the broader South African society.
  • Create an endowment fund to use for projects aimed at accelerating the transformation program of UCT and for supporting deserving black students.

Since its establishment in 2007, UCTABA has set up two regional structures, one in Gauteng and one in KZN. Efforts are currently underway to expand the representation to the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape, which is the home of this institution. Amongst its achievements, UCTABA has mobilised capital to provide financial assistance to deserving students undertaking their studies at UCT.

UCTABA believes that, with more concerted effort, it has the potential to have a far reaching impact in the broader on-going transformation of the institution. We are quite aware that our success lies in our ability to reach our members across the global spectra where they live. In this regard, we are busy exploiting technological advances and we should soon have a website activated which is currently on its final stages of development. We are also in discussion with a variety of established business to secure strategic alignment around which we can accelerate the achievement of our objectives.

Our objectives are quite ambitious, but achievable. As a first formation of its kind within the country, we are confident that we will continue to galvanise the desired energy from our membership, which will facilitate and fast track the fulfilment of our dreams. We invite all of you to participate and hid to the call to support our programs.