History of the NWU
The NWU officially came into being on 1 January 2004 as part of the South African government’s plan to transform higher education. In our case, this saw a historically white university and a historically black university merging to create a new university where South Africans from all walks of life have come together.
The historically black university was the former University of North-West, whose students were mostly black people from rural communities. The historically white university was the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, whose students were mostly white Afrikaans people from Christian backgrounds. A third party was the Sebokeng Campus of another mainly black university, Vista, whose staff and students were incorporated.
Their coming together to form the North-West University (NWU) was a strong symbolic act of reconciliation and nation building – and a highly effective one. The transition to the unified NWU has been hailed as one of the most successful and stable higher education mergers in South Africa. Each year since the merger, the NWU has produced a healthy financial surplus, improved student pass rates, increased research output and risen in the corporate governance rankings for South African universities.
This stability reflects the culture of consultation at the NWU, our clear vision, values and mission, our effective governance and leadership, and the well-defined strategic and operational plans we have made to take the NWU into the future.