Tell your story

The University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape has reached a historical milestone as it celebrates its centenary. Established in 1916, in pursuit of academic excellence, it has been a beacon of hope for the whole continent.

The centenary celebration is a significant milestone for the university, which is the oldest historically black university in the country. The celebration will acknowledge the role the university has played in the fight against apartheid and in educating both black South Africans and Africans.

#MyFortHare Story of Moeng Willy

Arriving at Fort Hare in February 1980, I was admitted in the Faculty of Agriculture in the Department of Agricultural Engineering. My stay at Fort Hare was a mixed bag of disappointment especially on academic progress and direction. 1982 saw students hardening their attitude after the creation of Ciskei Republic on 4 December 1981.

In 1982, the campus experienced disruptive power outages and almost 80% of male students were expelled during strike. Despite all the problems I can say that I am happy with what I obtained at Fort Hare. 

I returned with lifelong friendships, a BSc Agric Degree (majoring in Irrigation & Drainage Engineering as well as Soil Conservation Engineering). Nevertheless, My Fort Hare experience was fulfilling.

#MyFortHare Story of Nebo Legoabe

I am Nebo Legoabe, I was a student at University of Fort Hare from 1980 to 1983 studying Library science degree majored in Library science, Psychology and Sociology. During that time I had a choice to go study at Turfloop but I chose University of Fort Hare because it is one of the oldest African university for black people.

During my student life there, I had an opportunity to meet different people from different areas across South Africa and neighbouring countries. Students were diverse, it was interesting to learn different languages and cultures. In 1982, there were serious unrest and as students we were fighting the Ciskei government. These students' protests we see today have come a long way.

#MyFortHare Story of  Ace Mlisa

I went to Fort Hare to study Applied Communication Management in 2002 to 2004. I was majoring in Marketing and Advertising. Student life then was different compared to other urban universities mainly because Fort Hare is a rural setting. There were a lot of students from SADC region at tat time.

I remember every Friday students would congregate at the Great Hall for drama, comedy and music night. Students participated and it was great to learn other cultures. During my time there, there were a lot of arrests and closure of the campus, as students from afar we used to go the nearby communities to look for a place to sleep and many families opened their homes for us.

#MyFortHare Story of Paulina Ramusi

My name is Paulina Ramusi (née Mashilo). I was a student at Fort Hate University between 1980 and 1984. I graduated there with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and also obtained a Higher Education Diploma in the teaching of Maths and Physical Science, an honour I will carry to the grave. I was also the first princess of Miss Fort Hare in 1981 and represented this prestigious institution at the Miss Intervarsity held at the then University of the North, now University of Limpopo.

My late father, Abiot Mashilo, a former teacher at Mokomene High School in Botlokwa,believed so much in Fort Hare education that he would borrow money from the local petrol station owner for us to go back the following day because he would not have earned his salary at that time. You can imagine the trip. At some stage we tried to convince him that we should come back and be nearer but he would take none of that.

Thanks to him we are Fort Hare graduates alongside political icons who would change the cause of politics in Africa. Today I am a proud African National Congress activist and am running my own business and help those who are less fortunate where I can I wish to be part of Fort Hare's destiny. It has given so much and deserve the best in return.

Government calls on Fort Hare University Alumni and members of the public to share their Fort Hare stories for the Tell Your Story campaign using the hashtag #MyFortHare. This forms part of the commemoration of the university's centenary celebrations.

Alumni and members of the public can join the #MyFortHare Tell Your Story campaign by emailing pictures, videos and audio to: electronic@gcis.gov.za with the subject line: My Fort Hare.