Commemorating one year of the national lockdown

26 March 2021 | Words Elske Joubert. Photos Lerato Maduna.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) reflects on the past year since the country went into national lockdown on 26 March 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19 – from the evacuation of residences to the essential services staff who stayed behind to maintain critical facilities, and the researchers who produced remarkable research that helped mitigate the effects of the pandemic on lives and livelihoods. We honour and commend the UCT community for their resilience and steadfastness. We have recently seen a slow and steady return to campus – under strict health and safety protocols – which shows how UCT is slowly but surely adapting to our new normal.

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UCT’s response to COVID-19 in 2021

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 regularly with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.


Commemorating a year of COVID-19

At midnight on 26 March 2020, South African went into the first nationwide hard lockdown. A year later, we remember those who have died and those who have been affected by COVID-19, as well as the pandemic’s effects across society and campus. We are especially grateful for the front-line health workers who have done so much for so many.

Frequently asked questions


In an email to the UCT community, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly changing epidemic. [...] Information [...] will be updated as and when new information becomes available.”


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.