The University of Pretoria (UP) was established in 1908 with just four professors and 32 students, in a little house called: 'Kya Rosa'. Today, it is one of the largest research Universities, in Southern Africa.
The foundational Years of the University of Pretoria were welcomed with great turmoil. In 1889, the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) proposed that a University be established.
By 1899, the South African War had broken out between the ZAR and Britain. In 1902, after the Peace of Vereeniging was signed, there was a time period of relative stability which allowed the first semblance of a University, to open its doors in 1908. In 1910 the Union of South Africa was declared and in 1914, the First World War broke out with the Great Depression of 1929, further complicating the fledgling Years of the University of Pretoria.
The Pretoria branch of the Transvaal University College (TUC) was the forerunner of the University of Pretoria. It commenced its activities in 1908 with a staff of four professors and three lecturers. Thirty-two students enrolled for courses at the first campus, Kya Rosa, a House in the centre of the Pretoria. The University of Pretoria became a fully fledged University in 1930. The name 'Tuks'- for the University of Pretoria- derived from the acronym for the College, namely - Transvaal University College.
In the Years preceding the South African War (1899-1902) there was much discussion in the Volksraad of the ZAR, regarding the establishment of a University. These plans were interrupted by the outbreak of the War. In 1902 the Normal College for the training of teachers was established in Pretoria and in 1904 the 'Transvaal Technical Institute' opened in Johannesburg with an emphasis on Mining Education. Classes were also offered by the institute in Pretoria. In 1906 the institute adopted a new name: 'the Transvaal University College' (TUC). In 1908, University classes began in Pretoria in the Arts and Sciences as part of the Transvaal University College with its seat in Johannesburg. The first four professors were Prof H. Th. Reinink (Dutch), J. Purves (Scottish), A.C. Paterson (Scottish) and D.F. du Toit Malherbe (South African). On 10 February 1908 32 students began with classes in Kya Rosa, a house in Skinner Street and on 4 March 1908 the Transvaal University College (TUC) became
known officially as the Pretoria Centre of the Transvaal University College. Kya Lami, in Schoeman Street was used as a men’s residence for students and lecturers.
On 17 May 1910, the TUC in Pretoria became an independent institution apart from the Johannesburg institute, which became known as 'the South African School of Mines and Technology'. The TUC acquired its own campus in the East of Pretoria. The cornerstone of the Old Arts Building was laid by Governor General Gladstone on 3 August 1910 and in September 1911 the TUC moved into the Old Arts and the Old Chemistry buildings. There were 7 professors, 6 lecturers and 62 students.
In 1914, the College Men’s Residence was built. Then in 1917 the establishment of the Faculties of Agriculture and Theology. In 1918, the establishment of the Faculty of Law followed in 1919, with the Faculties of Arts; Natural Sciences; Trade and Public Administration and Veterinary Science.
In 1920, the TUC acquired the Experimental Farm and in 1926 the first official Ladies Residence-'die Fant' (today 'Vergeet-my-nie') was constructed.
Many student activities originated in the founding Years. The first Student Council was founded in 1909. 'Rag' started in the early 1920's and the first Rag Queen was crowned in 1929. With sport facilities on the Hatfield Campus (where the Musaion and Aula are today), students could participate in various kinds of sport such as; rugby, netball, hockey and tennis.
- Authored by the UP Archives