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University of Limpopo Campuses

University of Limpopo Campuses

University of Limpopo Campuses, University of Limpopo comprises two main campuses: one at Turfloop to the east of Polokwane in Limpopo province, the other at Ga-Rankuwa just north of Pretoria. The old Medical University of Southern Africa (Medunsa) on the latter campus has been incorporated as a full medical faculty into the new university.

Turfloop Campus

Both campuses are situated in the middle of densely populated old ‘homeland’ areas. This brings the university face to face with the full range of developmental challenges confronting rural communities throughout the SADC region. The Turfloop campus in particular is a visual manifestation of the university’s fundamental aim: to be a leading university that addresses the needs of African rural communities. From the top floors of many campus buildings, the crowded plains of Sovenga spread outwards to the horizon. ‘We’re in the middle of a huge human laboratory,’ remarked one academic.

The origins of the new university are rooted in the apartheid past. The Turfloop campus is on a site chosen by Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, erstwhile Prime Minister and father of separate development. A tertiary college was opened in 1959, and a decade later full university status was achieved. The development of the medical school for black students at Ga-Rankuwa was a response to the perceived black frustrations thought to have motivated the 1976 Soweto uprisings.

Medunsa Campus

In spite of its origins and location, many centres of excellence thrive on both campuses. Two examples must suffice. The Diarrhoeal Pathagens Research Unit at Ga-Rankuwa has pioneered important work on the development of a vaccine for the deadly rotavirus, a Southern African scourge. The Materials Modelling Centre at Turfloop is a leader in the field of computational modelling techniques to develop metal alloys and polymers, not least relating to platinum, Limpopo province’s economic backbone.

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