Call for proposals: naming of university spaces

29 August 2023 | Norman Arendse

Dear members of the UCT community

I write on behalf of the University Naming Committee (UNC) to invite all members of the University of Cape Town (UCT) community, including our esteemed alumni, to submit proposals for new names or suggestions and motivations for a revision of existing names of the university’s physical and virtual spaces.

The UNC, formerly known as the Naming of Buildings Committee (NOBC), believes that the names associated with our university should reflect our African identity and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and academic excellence. By engaging in this process, the UNC aims to ensure that our physical and virtual spaces align with our values, history, and aspirations.

All members of the university community are strongly encouraged to contribute their perspectives and ideas to help shape the future identity of our institution.

Submission of proposed names

Submissions can be made in two broad categories:

  • Naming of physical spaces: The UNC welcomes submissions for the naming of buildings, laboratories, lecture halls, theatres, libraries, gardens, and any other physical spaces within the university premises. This is also an opportunity to honour esteemed individuals who have contributed significantly to the university, the nation, or the world; as well as to celebrate our rich cultural heritage and promote inclusivity.
  • Naming of virtual spaces: As the university continues to embrace digital advancements, Council recognises the significance of virtual spaces in shaping the future of education, research, and collaboration. Submissions are therefore encouraged for the naming of virtual classrooms, online platforms, research centres, digital archives, and any other virtual spaces that are integral to the university’s academic pursuits.

Criteria for submission of new names or revision of old names

  • Relevance: The proposed name should have a meaningful connection to the individual, group or concept it represents, and should resonate with UCT’s values, objectives and vision.
  • Inclusivity and diversity: The name should reflect the diverse social identities, heritage, cultures and contributions of our community.
  • African identity: Submissions should resonate with our African identity, culture, heritage and values.
  • Contributions and legacy: For names honouring individuals, the candidate should have made a substantial positive impact on the university, society or their respective field of expertise, leaving a lasting legacy worth commemorating.
  • Historical significance: The proposed name should have a historical or contextual significance that enhances our understanding of the university’s past, present and future.
  • Ethics and sensitivity: Proposed names must adhere to principles of respect, sensitivity and ethical considerations, avoiding any potential controversy or harm to any individual or group. Names associated with individuals should consider their ethical standing, their contributions to society and their alignment with the principles and values upheld by UCT.
  • Originality: Submissions should not duplicate existing names of spaces within the university.
  • Academic excellence: The proposed name should reflect the pursuit of knowledge, intellectual rigor, and the achievements of our institution in teaching, research and community engagement.

Submitting proposals

To ensure a comprehensive and inclusive process, the UNC invites all members of the university community – including students, staff and alumni – to submit their proposals for new names or the revision of old names.

Please include the following information in your submission:

  • your full name
  • your affiliation with UCT (eg student, staff, alumni)
  • proposed name or suggestion for revision
  • rationale for the proposed name or revision, addressing the criteria mentioned above.

Submissions should be sent via email by Wednesday, 4 October 2023. Late submissions will not be considered. Please note that this mailbox is for the receipt of proposals and no communication should be expected from it.

We encourage everyone to engage in respectful and constructive dialogue throughout this process. While the UNC may not be able to implement all suggestions, each submission will be carefully reviewed and considered.

On behalf of the UNC, I thank you for your commitment to shaping the future of our university and ensuring that our physical spaces reflect our values. We look forward to receiving your proposals and working together towards a more inclusive and meaningful environment for all.


Norman Arendse (SC)
Chair of Council

Read previous communications:

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.