Saunders’ contribution to Kopano and UCT honoured

03 October 2011
Honoured: Kopano Residence hosted an alumni dinner in honour of former warden and former UCT vice-chancellor, Dr Stuart Saunders, who turned 80 this year.
Honoured: Kopano Residence hosted an alumni dinner in honour of former warden and former UCT vice-chancellor, Dr Stuart Saunders, who turned 80 this year.

Kopano Residence hosted an alumni dinner on 24 September in honour of its former warden and former UCT vice-chancellor Dr Stuart Saunders.

Part of Saunders’ 80th birthday celebrations this year, the event brought back a number of former residents, including registrar Hugh Amoore, who was the Master of Ceremonies, and former Chair of Council Geoff Budlender, the guest speaker.

The dinner also bridged the gap between the generations of Driekoppen and those of Kopano, said the warden, Professor Evance Kalula.

The residence was originally named Belsen, after the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp in north-west Germany, as the residence initially housed students who had served in World War II. The name was changed to Driekoppen to mark the beheading of three slaves in the Mowbray area in 1724, but was changed to Kopano after the watershed year of 1994, as a celebration of unity.

The event was also intended to symbolically denote the theme Change and (positive) Continuity, with which Saunders’ career at UCT is associated.

“This emphasis is significant, given the controversy that followed the name change from Driekoppen to Kopano,” Kalula added.

Some did not support the name change, arguing that it was wrong to throw away tradition for the sake of change.

At the event, Saunders received a book, a collection of tributes from the university community to him, compiled by the Development and Alumni Department.

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Dr Stuart Saunders


The University of Cape Town (UCT) hosted an online memorial service for former Vice-Chancellor Dr Stuart Saunders on 24 February. Dr Saunders was a dedicated servant, steward and supporter of UCT. He passed away on Friday morning, 12 February 2021.

Stuart John Saunders was born in Cape Town, South Africa, on 28th August 1931. After graduating MBChB with honours in 1953 at the University of Cape Town, he did post-graduate research at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith in London and at Harvard University. He received the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1965 (University of Cape Town). He began his administrative career as the University of Cape Town’s Head of the Department of Medicine (1971-1980) and was co-founder of the university’s Liver Clinic & Liver Research Unit (a field in which he wrote some two hundred articles and co-authored a study that has become a classical reference). He was Vice-Chancellor from January 1981 to August 1996.

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