The welcoming event for first-year students and their parents on Thursday 25 January 2018 marked the official start of Stellenbosch University’s Centenary year. The year’s commemoration will occur against the backdrop of many decades of excellent academic achievements and valuable lessons learnt from the institution’s complex history. The Centenary theme is 100 years of learning, growing and moving forward together, with the following expression in the three official languages of the Western Cape:
saam vorentoe • forward together • masiye phambili
Following the formal welcoming event, all new students were invited to gather on the rugby field at the Danie Craven Stadium to depict the number 100.
The Stellenbosch University (SU) that started out on 2 April 1918 with the four faculties of Arts, Science, Education and Agriculture (now Arts and Social Sciences, Science, Education and AgriSciences), 503 students and 40 lecturers today boasts ten faculties, five campuses and a vibrant and cosmopolitan community of over 30 000 students and 3 000 staff members.
As SU already has a full and rich annual programme, existing events will be clad in the Centenary brand identity, while only a few truly dedicated Centenary events will be hosted. The Centenary webpage – which Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers introduced to staff towards the end of last year – will be updated throughout 2018. A commemorative book with perspectives on the history of the institution and its various faculties is set to appear in the first semester.
The many events and projects planned for 2018 include the thought-provoking production 100% Stellenbosch, the Centenary concert and family day – all planned as part of the Woordfees – along with the #Maties100 campaign, which will use sports events to raise bursary funds for students in financial need. Staff and alumni have also been invited to join Prof De Villiers in taking part in the Cape Town Cycle Tour on 11 March 2018 sporting Centenary jerseys.
Prof Hester Klopper, Vice-Rector: Strategy and Internationalisation, who joined SU in 2016, heads up the Centenary project.
In its Centenary narrative, SU states: “As we commemorate our Centenary in 2018, we celebrate great achievements and ground-breaking discoveries. We salute the more than 250 000 alumni and students, educators, researchers and professional and administrative support staff, as well as our management and governance structures who have helped to mould this institution and cement its reputation as a world-class academic institution.
“SU, as a public institution, performed its higher education role within the various political, socio-economic, cultural and educational realities and developments of the 20th Century, including the particular form of injustice then prevalent in South Africa. SU has since ‘acknowledged its contribution to the injustices of the past and committed itself to appropriate redress and development initiatives’, as expressed in its Strategic Framework for the turn of the Century and Beyond of 20 March 2000. We also honour the critical Matie voices of that time who would not be silenced despite revilement, and who were to become beacons on the journey towards a just society.
“Against this background of achievement and valuable lessons from our complex history, the Centenary with its theme ‘100 years of learning, growing and moving forward together’ signifies a new beginning for Stellenbosch University. We strive toward becoming a relevant university that will play a key role in the development of our nation, and our continent. We are committed to contribute to a society of dignity, healing, justice, freedom and equality for all.”
The video below shows the development of the Centenary branding.