Prestige and splendour as NWU launches its 20-year anniversary

It was an event for the books as dignitaries and guests joined the North-West University (NWU) in celebrating two decades of greatness. The university not only reflected on the many milestones and achievements since its establishment, but also gave guests a glimpse of its plans for the future.

“The resolute leadership demonstrated by all NWU leaders over the years ensured our successful navigation through periods of uncertainty and turbulence, particularly during the early years of the NWU,” said Prof Bismark Tyobeka, principal and vice-chancellor.

“We have emerged as a forward-looking institution with a holistic educational approach, renowned for preparing its graduates for a rapidly changing global environment.”

He thanked the various stakeholders who made it possible for the university’s graduates to be successful. “The fruits of our labour are evident, as is demonstrated by our prominent position in global rankings, our standing among the top 4,4% of global universities, and our graduates who continue to lead with excellence in various sectors of society.”

Steadfast in the pursuit of academic excellence and social justice

He pointed out that decisions by the Council and management are consistently guided by principles of stability, success and sustainability. “This has been evident since the approval of our previous 2015–2025 strategy and remains unchanged in our newly approved strategy for 2024 and beyond.”

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to building an integrated institution dedicated to transformative initiatives and equitable resource allocation across our campuses. Our pursuit of academic excellence and social justice remains unwavering.”

New frontiers and opportunities shine on the horizon

Giving guests a glimpse into the future, Prof Tyobeka singled out various projects, such as the positioning of the NWU Business School to continue providing training to remarkable leaders in various industries, both local and international. Other projects include working with the North West provincial government in a programme to increase the capacity of municipal and provincial governments. This will result in the placement of 100 graduates in the 22 North West municipalities, and prioritising efforts for funding postgraduate and missing-middle students.

Some of the exciting future ventures include the launch of the NWU Enterprises entity to increase income streams, the establishment of both a School of Mines and Mining, and the NWU Medical School. The NWU Medical School has already received ministerial support. It is envisaged that the first intake will be in 2028 with 50 students initially, which will gradually be increased to more than a hundred.

The NWU has also accelerated its efforts on internationalisation and strategic partnerships. This has led to relationships being forged with several international institutions as the university continues to pursue many other institutions in aspiring to increase its presence on the global stage.

Bert Sorgdrager, chairperson of the NWU Council, said the NWU’s journey since the merger has been exciting and eventful as it charted its course in the South African higher-education landscape. “Transitioning from a federal to a unitary model, the NWU continued its success story of academic excellence, world-class research and innovation, superior teaching and learning, and a determined commitment to sustainable, impactful community engagement.”

He emphasised that the NWU will continue to create a great future for all its stakeholders and make a difference in the lives of people – as it has done during the past two decades.

As part of his keynote address, Adv Johan Kruger, former Council chairperson, gave an insightful and concise overview of the NWU’s two decades of existence. “The NWU can be proud of what it has achieved in a relatively short time. When we ask ourselves the question: Have the objectives of the merger 20 years ago been achieved? The facts speak for themselves. The answer is a resounding yes. The NWU has shown impressive and positive growth that includes spreading its wings across the globe, and strengthening international relationships.”

He said the aim was to create a university where staff and students demographically looked different from apartheid institutions. It also had to create more opportunities through a range of qualifications and improve its research output. “Problems that are crucial to institutions of higher learning will still occur from time to time, but we can say that the ship is stable, the course is set, and the captain and his crew are firmly in control.”

This official launch at the Feather Hill venue in Potchefstroom on 14 March was the first in a series of events that will continue throughout 2024.

Dignitaries and esteemed guests included Dr Anna Mokgokong, the NWU’s chancellor, Bert Sorgdrager, chairperson of the NWU Council, all current and former Council members, officials and representatives of all spheres of government, and members of NWU structures such as the Senate, Institutional Forum, NWU Convocation Exco and the Board of Donors. Student leaders included Yikumba Andreas, NWU SRC president, and current and former student leaders.

The song, The Journey, was specifically written and composed to celebrate the NWU’s 20-years of existence. Listen to the song here.


Prof Bismark Tyobeka, principal and vice-chancellor, and his wife, Ngeniswa, join guests as they toast the NWU during the launch of its 20-year anniversary.


Submitted on Fri, 03/15/2024 - 09:55