The University of the Western Cape (UWC), situated in Bellville, approximately 15 miles from Cape Town city center, is a leading research and teaching institution in South Africa that played a unique role in the struggle against apartheid. Following his election, President Nelson Mandela appointed many prominent faculty and alumni to his cabinet. Many famous figures in South Africa's political and social history are associated with the University, such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu who once served as Vice-Chancellor.
The campus of the University of the Western Cape in Belleville has a clear view of the impressive Table Mountain and there is a nature reserve integrated into the campus with 29 hectares utilized by the university as well as primary and high school pupils from the local community. Through linkages with a variety of institutions around the world, UWC attracts more than 300 international students each year. The total population of the university is approximately 14,000.
There is an exciting vibe on campus focused around the student center and the year-round activities organized by students for students. The UWC Sports Council represents the student sport organizations on campus and within South Africa. Students who wish to compete at the highest varsity levels as well as those interested in a weekend pick-up game can choose from a range of sports clubs including: basketball, body-building, boxing, chess, cricket, golf, handball, judo, karate, mountaineering, pool, rugby, soccer, softball, squash, tennis, triathlon and volleyball.
Apart from the sports clubs, UWC students have established political, cultural, and religious societies.The UWC Centre for Performing Arts offers opportunities for students to learn to play a musical instrument, to dance, to sing and to act. Drama, dance, and instrumental groups hold concerts and performances throughout the year. There is a student newspaper and a radio society on campus for budding journalists and broadcasters.
UWC's mission statement includes this summary of the institutions: "[a] place of quality, a place to grow from hope to action through knowledge." UWC's faculty are willing to "walk the extra mile" for the committed student and that is apparent both inside the classroom and outside. This is a student centered institution where teaching takes priority over research at the undergraduate level.