Every year that passes gives us more experience to handle the year that comes after it.  In looking forward to the year 2011 we also need to look back a moment as it follows after a very unique experience when South Africa hosted the FIFA Soccer World Cup.  What an experience it was for the nation and what an excellent exhibition of Ubuntu South Africans displayed!  The University of Fort Hare was part of that experience.

A new year is dawning and new experiences come with it. Once again it will have its unique qualities.  For the University of Fort Hare it is a year with a difference, a year when we are celebrating our 95th anniversary and have to mark the launch of the Centenary celebrations.  It is five years to go to the Centenary and there is every reason to make each and every member of the UFH community feel the difference in such a year.  As we move together in scholarly excellence we have to deepen the understanding of what University of Fort Hare stands for.  That understanding becomes even more profound when one looks at the 95 years in which this Institution has stood like a baobab tree, dignified and strong in all the upheavals it had to face, continuously producing to this day excellent leaders in every sphere of society.  The University has been a beacon of hope for generations of young people who have come to drink from that fountain which spawned a generation of leaders who contributed immensely to the restoration of the dignity of the African people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It is our hope that when you start your careers as students and staff in 2011 you will join the broader community of the University of Fort Hare, past and present, who defined the scholarly excellence for which we strive as critical engagement in teaching and learning, research and community engagement.  This should be marked by rigorous inquiry with relevance and responsibility in providing leadership to society.  That scholarly excellence should provide insights into the best paths of development and should be inspiring, informative and transformative.  

The University, in pursuit of the scholarly excellence indicated above tries to produce a complete person who should be able to have a holistic approach to life and not just excel in her/his specific academic discipline.  We encourage each and every first year student to participate in the Life-Knowledge-Action Programme which will prepare them as citizens of the globe.  Students should engage in cultural and sporting societies in the Institution.  In 2011 the Institution will host the Intervarsity Games, hosting all the higher education institutions in the Eastern Cape.  For the first time a new competition in rugby will commence with the first match held at the Davidson Rugby Stadium in our Alice Campus on the 31st January against Wits.  Women sport is rapidly gaining ground and this is not only in the traditional women games but in soccer and rugby with national players being produced.  The sports facilities are getting a revamp and we aim to produce even more players who will wear national colours in various sporting codes.

Our students compete very well not only in sport but in national academic and cultural events like student debates, entrepreneurship, accounting, budget speech analysis etc.  All this is in line with the strategic goals of the institution as enshrined in our Strategic Plan 2009-2016 with its overall goal of excellence in teaching and learning, research, and community engagement.  This overall goal is under-girded by six enablers which include improving student experience, harnessing technology, developing a service culture, optimizing the multi-campus nature of the Institution, human resource development, financial viability and sustainability.

As you join the University of Fort Hare put your shoulder into this wheel that is perpetually turning to achieve these strategic objectives.  Assist in developing that culture of excellence, selflessness, service to humanity and Ubuntu.  You are because the other person is, and you are because Fort Hare is!  The other person is because you are, and Fort Hare is because you are!

"Together in Excellence"

Dr Mvuyo Tom


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