Apart from establishing itself as a leading research and teaching university during the early 1900’s, the period between 1960-1990 was marked by sustained opposition to apartheid, particularly as it pertained to higher education. The 1980s and 1990s at University of Cape Town (UCT) were characterized by a deliberate, planned process of international transformation, to meet South Africa's new challenges in higher education.

Beyond the classroom, there are a staggering number of clubs and activities students can become involved in at UCT. UCT officially counts 43 sports clubs and more than 100 student clubs on campus – all accessible to visiting students. If you are a student-athlete and wish to continue competing at a high-performance level, UCT offers sport clubs in traditional arenas such as soccer, swimming, cross-country, or rugby. For those who want to have fun and keep fit, there are sports clubs ranging from traditional arenas such as fencing or squash to more extreme sport such as surfing and paragliding.

With more than 100 student clubs from which to choose, students have innumerable ways to get involved and meet the locals. The UCT clubs range from culture and the arts, to religion, politics, and games. Traditionalists might want to join the Chess Club, the Film Society, or Toastmasters, while adventurers might be ready for the Flying Club, or even the Hip-Hop Club. There is a full range of international student associations and religious organizations – all of them led by students and for students.