The South African Native College, later the University of Fort Hare founded in 1916 on the Site of the earlier British Military Site.The University of Fort Hare produced graduates from South Africa and as far north as Kenya and Uganda. Many went on to prominent careers in fields as diverse as politics, medicine, literature and art. Some politically active alumni like: Oliver Tambo; Nelson Mandela; Govan Mbeki; Robert Sobukwe and Mangosuthu Buthelezi in South Africa. Robert Mugabe and Herbert Chitepo in Zimbabwe. Elius Mathu and Charles Njonjo in Kenya. These have all impacted their Nations. In the Arts, Fort Hare has released from South Africa: poet Dennis Brutus; Drum journalist Can Themba; sculptor and painter Ernest Mancoba and Xhosa author and scholar Archibald Campbell Jordan. The first black Zimbabwean medical doctor, Ticofa Samuel Parirenyatwa, and the historian, novelist and politician Stanlake Samkange were also among the many non-South Africans who spent formative Years at Fort Hare.
Following a decision by the Ministry of Education, the University has, since January 2004, been incorporating and integrating a new Campus in East London, formerly of Rhodes University, into the University of Fort Hare. This development in a new larger operating environment, presents significant challenges as well as opportunities for the expansion of the University. Thus, enabling it to play a stimulating and catalytic role in the development of the Buffalo City Region. Hence it is posed to grow into a much larger student pool. By establishing Fort Hare, across the three Campuses in Alice, Bisho and East London. As the backbone to a new Academic system, five new Faculties were established in 2005-6.