On 30 November 1990, a few months after being released from prison, Nelson Mandela stepped onto the UCT Rugby Field to receive an honorary doctorate in Law. The university's Jameson Hall, where these ceremonies are usually held, could not contain the masses who wanted to be part of the historic event.
A visit to Fuller Hall
Accompanied by the then Vice-Chancellor, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Nelson Mandela toured campus in 1996. Students and staff welcomed him with open arms. The visit included a stop at Fuller Hall, where GraÃ§a Machel's daughter, Josina, would later reside during her UCT studies. Josina went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Social Science in 1998, a year before her mother was installed as UCT Chancellor.
Graça Machel's installation as Chancellor
In 1999, Graça Machel was elected as UCT's fifth chancellor. She celebrated her installation with her husband and Dr Mamphela Ramphele, then serving as UCT vice-chancellor. This marked the first time in UCT's history that its two most senior executive positions were held by black women.
UCT has been hosting the annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture since the establishment of the series in 2000. In 2002, Mandela attended the third Steve Biko Memorial Lecture, delivered by the late Nigerian writer and scholar Professor Chinua Achebe. Achebe's lecture was titled Fighting Apartheid with Words. Two years later, marking ten years of democracy in South Africa, Madiba would deliver the 5th memorial lecture.
In February 2005, Madiba and Graça Machel were on hand to congratulate the recipients of the inaugural Mandela Rhodes Scholarships. They included three UCT students – Sirika Pillay (back, far left), Julia Cloete (second from left) and Alex Salo (far right).
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