Renaming of upper campus places and spaces

17 November 2021 | VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Dear colleagues, students and alumni

The naming of places and spaces across our campuses is an opportunity to think deeply about who and what the university represents.

In 2018 we renamed Jameson Hall to Sarah Baartman Hall. This was a moment in which the university could recognise the multifaceted struggles and resilience of South African women. In June 2021 Council deliberated and approved a recommendation of the Naming of Buildings Committee (NoBC) to change the name of Smuts Hall, the student residence on upper campus, and decided that in the interim the name Upper Campus Residence will be used until such a time that the process of determining a new name is formally concluded.

I now invite you to participate in the process of renaming this residence, along with two other spaces which are located at the heart of upper campus.

All proposals that we receive will be considered by the Naming of Buildings Committee (NoBC). In addition to making recommendations to Council about the naming or renaming of any building, space, room or lecture theatre on campus, the NoBC maintains a register of the names of buildings and spaces and is responsible for promoting awareness of the reasons behind the names.

In addition to the new name for the Upper Campus Residence, the NoBC would like to hear your proposals for these two additional spaces:

  • The steps and plaza in front of Sarah Baartman Hall (currently Jameson Plaza). This part of our campus has been a gathering place for the university community for generations – from protests to graduation ceremonies, to social gatherings, festivals and meeting up with friends.
  • The plinth on Madiba Circle (previously, the location of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes). This commanding location foregrounds Sarah Baartman Hall, the plaza and steps and the two residence buildings.

Proposals may be submitted to the NoBC from today, Wednesday, 17 November, to Monday, 6 December 2021. Following this, the NoBC will recommend new names to Council.

The naming of places and spaces at UCT is an important process, which we do not take lightly. These names need to reflect the values of the many different groups that make up the UCT community. Renaming buildings and places allow us an opportunity to respond to both the past and the future of UCT and to reflect and honour our diversity and inclusivity.

I look forward to your participation in this important process.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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