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Walter Sisulu University

Region: Mthatha Country: South Africa

About The University

Walter Sisulu University (WSU) was established on 1 July, 2005 in terms of the Higher Education Act No 101 of 1997, as amended. WSU, a comprehensive university, resulted from the merger of the former University of Transkei (Unitra); Border Technikon and Eastern Cape Technikon. The new university was named in honour of an icon of the South African liberation struggle and close comrade of Nelson Mandela, the late Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu.

From 2002 to 2005, the South African higher education landscape underwent an extensive merger and incorporation process to bring about a more equitable dispensation to meet the requirements of a fast-developing new nation. The thirty-six universities and technikons were merged in various ways to produce twenty-three universities in three categories:

  • Traditional academic universities;
  • Universities of Technology and
  • Comprehensive Universities (which offer both academic and technological qualifications).

WSU will maintain the traditional role of a University as a centre of higher learning, where theoretical and other intellectual pursuits are combined to serve a larger and more specific role it has defined as that of a Developmental University, ascribing to itself the imperative of making a significant contribution to regional, national and continental development.

WSU vision and mission is informed by the National and Provincial Growth and Development strategies including:
  • acting as a major regional resource centre of excellence in rural development and urban renewal;
  • providing access to knowledge to a diversity of learners and actors from mainly rural, poor and disadvantaged communities;
  • relevance to local, provincial, national and regional development through innovative curricula and learning processes, applied research and effective community partnership;
  • responsiveness to and alignment with internal and external imperatives;
  • alignment/re-engineering of faculty programmes with all applicable higher education policies and the university mission;
  • development of a student access, retention and throughput strategy;
  • embedding of quality in all the institution systems and practices;
  • ensuring the viability of the institution, including the diversification of revenue streams and
  • changing the institutional culture in a fundamental way to define new strategies to improve staff morale by embedding the core values of the institution.
Core Focus Areas
By its location, and its character as a comprehensive university, WSU is strategically located to respond to local and national development needs.

WSU embraces the following characteristics:
  • a diverse range of academic programmes;
  • student mobility through vertical and horizontal articulation;
  • work-related qualifications from certificates through to full degrees and post-graduate studies;
  • service to community, business and industry;
  • innovative, problem-solving research;
  • life-long learning opportunities and
  • flexibility by strengthening relationships with community, civic, government, business and industry partners for local and regional development.

WSU core business is Teaching, Research and Community Engagement
The four faculties are:
  • Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Faculty of Business, Management Sciences and Law
  • Faculty of Education
These faculties offer a wide variety of programmes and qualifications ranging from certificates, diplomas and degrees to postgraduate studies.

The following programme focus areas are considered as priorities for development and redesign:
Information Technology
Business Management
Fashion and Art
Journalism and Broadcasting
Tourism and Hospitality Management
Agriculture (a future focus in the process of being established)

WSU Vision
(WSU) will be a leading African comprehensive university focusing on innovative educational, research and community partnership programmes that are responsive to local, regional, national development priorities, and cognisant of continental and international imperatives.

WSU Mission Statement

  • In pursuit of its vision as a developmental university, WSU will:
  • Provide an educationally vibrant and enabling environment that is conducive to the advancement of quality academic, moral, cultural and technological learner-centred education for holistic intellectual empowerment, growth and effective use of information;
  • Provide and maintain the highest possible standards in innovative learning and teaching, applied, basic and community-based research and community partnerships in cooperation with development agencies, the public and private sectors;
  • Provide affordable, appropriate, career-focused and professional programmes that address rural development and urban renewal with primary emphasis on science, technology and development studies;
  • Create a new generation of highly-skilled graduates capable of understanding and addressing complex societal challenges, with critical scholarly and entrepreneurial attributes grounded on morally sound work ethics and responsible leadership.
Values of WSU
In pursuit of its Mission, WSU commits itself to the following values which are an affirmation of the eternal principles which will inform all dealings of the University:
  • Academic Freedom: In line with our vision and mission as an accountable institution, we acknowledge our right to exercise academic freedom in a responsible way, in teaching and learning, in research and in community service.
  • Quality: We commit to institution-wide quality management, value and reward excellence and uphold and protect the integrity of the University.
  • Access and success: We provide equitable access to higher and continuing education at all stages of adult life to students who have a potential to succeed.
  • Transformation: We are committed to addressing equity imperatives, diversity, and entrepreneurship and to democratic governance.
  • People development: We are committed to the optimum development of the human resources potential and leadership capacity of all staff.
  • Caring University: We commit to mutual respect, ubuntu, humility, good citizenship, student centredness and endorse and uphold all principles of Batho Pele*
  • Resource Consciousness: We commit to utilising the University resources prudently and responsibly at all times with a view to adding maximum value to the institution.
The ECDoE Research & Interventions Database was commissioned by Dr. Annetia Heckroodt in 2005.

The motivation for the database was to create a library of information which could be mined and used to co-ordinate future research projects and interventions and so eliminate duplication of efforts as well as channelling energy and resources into the right areas.

If, therefore, you are aware of any research or publication that is relevant to the ECDoE and is not yet included in this database, we ask that you kindly notify one of the contact people listed below with the information.


The Projects section includes all the Reseach and Interventions related to the ECDoE. The ECDoE database includes internal Projects, as well as those that have been externally funded. Generally, these Projects run over a period of time and result in one or more publications.


The Publications section lists all the available Publications that are related to the ECDoE. They are sorted into self-explanatory categories.

Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu was born in the village at Quthubeni at Engcobo in the Transkei region of the Eastern Cape on 18 May 1912-coincidentally the same year as the ANC was founded.

Sisulu joined the ANC in 1940 and it was through him that both Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo were brought into the organization. In 1944 he formed the ANC Youth League, with them, whose radical approach fundamentally transformed the ANC and the struggle against colonialism and apartheid. In 1949 he was elected Secretary General of the ANC.
In 1944 Sisulu married Albertina Nontsikelelo Mnyila and the marriage produced five children.

In the 1950s he was one of the leading figures in the Defiance Campaign. Between 1956 and 1961 Sisulu was constantly in court defending himself against a string of treason charges. Sisulu was one of the founders of Umkhonto Wesizwe, the ANC armed wing after major liberation organizations such as the PAC and the ANC were banned in 1960. Sisulu together with Mandela and other senior leaders of the ANC were caught and tried in the Rivonia Treason Trial. In 1964 they were sentenced to life imprisonment, most of which was spent on Robben Island.

Sisulu was released on 15th October 1989, after almost three decades in jail. He then served the ANC as its Deputy President. Sadly, Sisulu passed away on 5 May 2003 just before his 91st birthday.

Sisulu commanded respect from friends and foes because of the dignified manner with which he handled himself as well as the values he embraced. He remains a towering giant of South Africa and humanity's struggle for justice. His humility, ability to identify and promote leaders as well as his selflessness are some of his distinctive traits.

His family values and relationship with his comrade and wife can be described as a love relationship of the 21st century. Sisulu proved to be as faithful to the struggle as he was to his family.

It is an honour for WSU to be carrying the name of such a towering figure in human history. He is an embodiment of the values of selflessness, courage, humility, Ubuntu and compassion to which this University would like to aspire. n 2007, WSU awarded a posthumous honorary doctorate to the late Walter Sisulu; his wife Albertina also received an honorary doctorate from the former University of Transkei in 1992.

The promotion and development of quality student life at Walter Sisulu University is the responsibility of the Department of Students Affairs under the leadership of the Director of Student Affairs.

The Department is also responsible for enforcing the University's Rules and Regulations where it pertains to students. The Department of Student Affairs has offices at all WSU campuses that manage student enquiries, complaints, events and student life in general on a daily basis.

Using the services of dedicated and competent staff, the Department of Student Affairs provides students with relevant training and support within the areas of counselling, health, residences, sport, personal development and student governance. The Department strives to create and sustain a vibrant and well-resourced learning environment in which respectful relationships are established. Interpersonal skills such as cross-cultural dynamics, empathy, citizenship, voluntarism and social responsibility are groomed amongst WSU's students.

The University is committed to providing students with a holistic learning experience. Students, in turn, are expected to respect and protect the rules and property of the University and the rights and property of fellow students.

As a unique comprehensive University, WSU will offer students a wealth of academic choices together with articulation and mobility across the qualifications spectrum - ranging from certificates to diplomas and degrees. Higher Education institutions today must ensure their viability and relevance and serve the needs of their clients, the government, commerce and industry and the communities in which they are located. The investment of taxpayers' funds into higher education demands a return in the form of graduates who are equipped to drive the economy.

Walter Sisulu University campus libraries hold a large volume of material other than books. We also offer access to sources such journals, online databases, multimedia and internet research.

A record of all available WSU library material can be viewed on the online public access catalogue known as OPAC, where you can also view all Eastern Cape Higher Tertiary Institution Library material.

Through various subscriptions to national library databases it is also possible to access material via inter-library loans.

Research Development
The merger of historically disadvantaged two technikons and a university within rural South African setting presents a complex historical heritage. In 2005, Border Technikon; Eastern Cape Technikon; and University of Transkei were merged into a comprehensive university: Walter Sisulu University (WSU). The birthed institution is faced with varied existing challenges inherited from the defunct institutions and novel challenges emanating from the merger exercise. The Eastern Cape Province occupies 14% of the land areas of South Africa , and has 14.5% of the country's 45 million inhabitants.

Walter Sisulu University is located in the Eastern Cape Province together with University of Fort Hare, Rhodes University and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Primarily, WSU serves the people of Eastern Cape Province with strong aspirations for national and international educational leadership standings.

The University has four campuses: Buffalo City; Ibika; Mthatha; and Queenstown with eleven knowledge dispensing sites. With four Faculties: Business, Management Sciences and Law; Education; Health Sciences; and Science, Engineering and Technology; of which two offer doctoral programs. It is committed to advancing the frontiers of research in Eastern Cape in particular, South Africa and the world at large.

Walter Sisulu University (WSU) will be a leading African comprehensive university focusing on innovative educational, research and community partnership programmes that are responsive to local, regional, and national development priorities, and cognisant of continental and international imperatives.

Walter Sisulu University Degree Programs :


  • Bachelor Degree
  • MBBS
  • Master Degree
  • MD Anaesthesiology
  • MD Anatomy
  • MD Biochemistry
  • MD Community Medicine
  • MD Dermatology
  • MD Emergency Medicine
  • MD General Medicine
  • MD Microbiology
  • MD Paediatrics
  • MD Pathology
  • MD Pharmacology
  • MD Physiology
  • MD Psychiatry
  • MD Radiodiagnosis
  • MD Skin & V.D
  • MD TB & Chest Diseases
  • MS Anatomy
  • MS ENT
  • MS General Surgery
  • MS Ophthalmology
  • MS Orthopaedics


  • Bachelor Degree
  • BDS


  • Bachelor Degree
  • Bachelor of Science (Nursing)

Video Presentation

Rural Development in South Africa with Nomfundo Luswazi

Visitors from around the world will soon descend upon South Africa for a conference on rural development. The conference will provide an opportunity for collective interpretation of policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation of progress in implementing policies and decisions by various stakeholders. Joining ABN on rural development in South Africa is Professor Nomfundo Luswazi, Director Centre for Rural Development at the Walter Sisulu University

Contact Details

Address: Private Bag X1, UNITRA, 5117


047 502 2844

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