Upcoming UCT virtual events

15 July 2020 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues and students

It has been four months since the University of Cape Town suspended all mass gatherings on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and three and a half months since the start of the national lockdown declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa in March. While some restrictions have been eased over the past few weeks, we are still unable to host events on campus and have therefore decided to move certain 2020 events online.

In light of this, I write to share details on some of the virtual events that are scheduled to take place over the next few weeks. These include standard annual events on the UCT calendar such as the Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lecture, the VC Inaugural Lecture series, the TB Davie Memorial Lecture and the Women’s Month commemoration event. It also includes events such as the #NewGlobalUni series and the Vision 2030 staff engagements:

VC Open Lecture

The first virtual Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lecture for 2020 will be held today from 18:00 on the Microsoft Teams platform. Titled “From a two-speed economy to one for all South Africans”, the lecture will be presented by Colin Coleman, senior fellow and lecturer at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

TB Davie Memorial Lecture

The annual lecture, organised by the Academic Freedom Committee (AFC), will take place on Wednesday, 5 August 2020 at 18:00. It will be delivered by guest speaker Professor Ravi Kanbur. I will write with more details on this lecture in the next few days.

VC Inaugural Lectures

Some of the events in the VC Inaugural Lecture series will be moved online too. These include a lecture by Professor Hussein Suleman, the head of the department of Computer Science. He will present on “Computer Science at times of crisis: reflecting on societal drivers for software and algorithm design”. The lecture will be held on 30 September 2020.


The COVID-19 pandemic has put in the spotlight inequalities in the higher education sector, which are reinforced by the current model of internationalisation which excluded those who had no means of travelling to attend academic conferences. In order to rethink this old model, UCT is hosting a series of virtual events: “Unleashing the new global university”, with the first held on Monday, 29 June 2020 and the second on 13 July. Other events in this series will be as follows:

  • Monday, 27 July: “Undergraduate student mobility: are virtual experiences a realistic substitute?”
  • Monday, 24 August: “Postgraduate researchers: can we rethink the international experience?”
  • Monday, 7 September: “How does changing the medium change the way of doing things?”
  • Read more on the feature page: Unleashing the new global university.

Open PASS Forum: Return to campus framework

As part of efforts to minimise the spread of COVID-19, the university will continue to limit the number of people on campus, and has developed a COVID-19 return to UCT policy framework. In order to engage with staff on this, COO Dr Reno Morar will host an open PASS Forum virtually on 6 August 2020.

Women’s Month: For Womxn By Womxn

While women are honoured throughout the year at UCT, they are further celebrated in August with a special focus on those who have achieved greatness in their fields. This year, the annual Women’s Month event will be held online. Our Chancellor, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, has been earmarked as the keynote speaker, while panellists will include ForWomxnByWomxn Scholarship recipients. Further details will be shared later.

Vision 2030 staff engagements

When campus was vacated, the executive was in the process of engaging with staff to reflect on progress made in developing a strategy that looks to the future, focusing on challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as we move towards 2030. I am therefore excited to announce that these discussions that will focus on ensuring that the UCT of tomorrow is responsive to the needs of future generations have moved online. A number of sessions will be held with various staff groupings, with the details set to be shared in the next few weeks.

Please note: this Vision 2030 document link has been updated to click through to the Council-approved report from November 2020.

One obvious opportunity that moving these events online brings is the fact that there is no restriction on the number of people who can attend. Please feel free to save these dates and join us for these events.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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.

UCT’s response to COVID-19

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March 2020 and to implement a national lockdown from 26 March 2020. UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.

Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, has in June 2022 repealed some of South Africa’s remaining COVID-19 regulations: namely, sections 16A, 16B and 16C of the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions under the National Health Act. We are now no longer required to wear masks or limit gatherings. Venue restrictions and checks for travellers coming into South Africa have now also been removed.

In July 2022, the University of Cape Town (UCT) revised its approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic on UCT campuses in 2022.
Read the latest document available on the UCT policies web page.


Campus communications


Adjusting to our new environment 16:50, 23 June 2022
VC Open Lecture and other updates 17:04, 13 April 2022
Feedback from UCT Council meeting of 12 March 2022 09:45, 18 March 2022
UCT Council
March 2022 graduation celebration 16:45, 8 March 2022
Report on the meeting of UCT Council of 21 February 2022 19:30, 21 February 2022
UCT Council
COVID-19 management 2022 11:55, 14 February 2022
Return to campus arrangements 2022 11:15, 4 February 2022

UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre

On Wednesday, 20 July, staff from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences came together with representatives from the Western Cape Government at the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre at Forest Hill Residence to acknowledge the centre’s significance in the fight against COVID-19 and to thank its staff for their contributions. The centre opened on 1 September 2021 with the aim of providing quality vaccination services to UCT staff, students and the nearby communities, as well as to create an opportunity for medical students from the Faculty of Health Sciences to gain practical public health skills. The vaccination centre ceased operations on Friday, 29 July 2022.

With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.


“After almost a year of operation, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, located at the Forest Hill residence complex in Mowbray, will close on Friday, 29 July 2022. I am extremely grateful and proud of all staff, students and everyone involved in this important project.”
– Vice-Chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.

Thank You UCT Community

Frequently asked questions


Global Citizen Asks: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe & Effective?

UCT’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) collaborated with Global Citizen, speaking to trusted experts to dispel vaccine misinformation.

If you have further questions about the COVID-19 vaccine check out the FAQ produced by the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation (DTHF). The DTHF has developed a dedicated chat function where you can ask your vaccine-related questions on the bottom right hand corner of the website.

IDM YouTube channel | IDM website


“As a contact university, we look forward to readjusting our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in 2023 as the COVID-19 regulations have been repealed.”
– Prof Harsha Kathard, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.