Nelson Mandela University Discovery

Nelson Mandela University Discovery


Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) opened on 1 January 2005, the result of the merging of the PE Technikon the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE) and the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University (Vista PE).

The PE Technikon has its roots in the country’s oldest art school, the PE Art School founded in 1882; the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE), the country’s first dual-medium residential university, came into being on 31 January 1964; and the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University, which opened up access to higher education for disadvantaged students.

The union of these institutions came about as a result of the government’s countrywide restructuring of higher education – intended to deliver a more equitable and efficient system to meet the needs of South Africa, the continent and the world in the 21st century.

On 20 July 2017, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University has officially renamed Nelson Mandela University: the only higher education institution in the world to carry the name of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. The name change provided an opportunity for the institution to rebrand and position itself continentally and globally, while also allowing it to usher in a new era of renewed vigour towards meaningful transformation.

Nelson Mandela University is today a sought-after educational destination and the most diverse university in South Africa.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to Change the World.”
Nelson Mandela

On 20 July 2017, the university was officially renamed Nelson Mandela University, the only university in the world to carry the name of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. With the full support of Mandela’s eldest grandson and custodian of the family, Mandla Mandela, it is our unique privilege to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s most beloved statesman and a man who became the world’s moral compass.

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Mandela believed that education was a force of good and called on all South Africans to treasure knowledge and never stop learning. He valued diversity – especially the coming together of different minds, different backgrounds, different talents and different approaches to achieve greatness. He also made it clear that his contribution was just the beginning; calling on students, academics, and universities to forge new paths, and bring about new cycles of economic innovation, democratic change and equality.

We embrace Mandela’s challenge and honour his name by leading our university into an era of transformative innovation, development and change. As an innovative 21st century institution of higher learning, we are taking responsibility for his legacy and ensuring that it is reflected in the way that we teach, learn, research, engage with our communities. and work and live as students, staff, alumni and partners.

Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to improving society and changing the world for the better and as the university that uniquely carries his name, we are confident that we can do justice to his legacy.


To be a dynamic African university, recognised for its leadership in generating cutting-edge knowledge for a sustainable future.


To offer a diverse range of life-changing educational experiences for a better world.