University of Transkei, South Africa: Papers concerning student unrest, 1984

Scope and Content

Papers relating to student unrest at the University of Transkei (UNITRA), South Africa, 1984, triggered by the questioning of four students, and the detention of two others by security police; this led to the boycotting of classes and closures of the campus. Many students were arrested and detained, several members of the Students' Representative Council were suspended by the University and four members of staff were deported from Tramnskei. The papers include documents produced by the Principal and other members of the University administration and the Students' Representative Council, during the period of unrest; legal papers concerning court action brought by suspended students; submissions to the ensuing Commission of Enquiry; and news cuttings relating to student unrest, 1980-1984.

Administrative / Biographical History

The University of Transkei (UNITRA) was established in Umtata in 1976 at the request of the Government of the Transkei Homeland, initially as a branch of the University of Fort Hare. Its mission was to offer educational opportunities to the largely rural population, and to upgrade the qualifications of teachers and civil servants who hitherto had been denied the chance to attend higher education institutions by Apartheid policies. Legislation in 1976 provided for the establishment of an autonomous University, which officially opened in 1977. It experienced rapid expansion in the following decade.
During the 1980s, when resistance to the Apartheid regime was occurring throughout South Africa, there were several instances of demonstrations and unrest among the students at Transkei. The papers in this collection document some of these events.


The papers have been retained in two files, as originally arranged.

Access Information

Open although advance notice should be given. Access to individual items may be restricted under the Data Protection Act or the Freedom of Information Act.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued to item level (see link to repository catalogue).

Archivist's Note

Compiled 2000, revised by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 programme, Sep 2001.

Conditions Governing Use

A photocopying service is available, at the discretion of the Library staff. Copies are supplied solely for research or private study. Requests to publish, or to quote from original material should be submitted to the Information Resources Manager.

Custodial History

The files appear to originate from the Students' Representative Council at UNITRA, but the exact provenance is unknown.

Related Material

The ICS holds a large number of collections relating to South African politics, including African National Congress (ICS 1), Mary Benson (ICS 6), Ruth First (ICS 117), Marion Friedmann (ICS 20), Ruth Hayman (ICS 30), Baruch Hirson (ICS 32), Mandela Trials papers (ICS 52), Josie Palmer (ICS 57), Edward Roux (ICS 67), South African Institute of Race Relations (ICS 95), and University of Cape Town (ICS 81-82).