About us


OUR HISTORY     |     Founding the future

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 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 was 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.


OUR NAME     |     Living the legacy

“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.

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.


OUR VISION, MISSION AND VALUES     |     The cornerstone of who we are and stand for



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.


Respect for Diversity

  • We reflect and serve diverse regional, national and global communities.
  • We promote an open society where critical scholarship and the expression of a multiplicity of  pinions and ideas are actively encouraged.
  • We foster an environment in which diversity is appreciated, respected and celebrated.
  • We foster a culture that welcomes and respects diverse identities, heritages and life experiences.


  • We promote, recognise and reward excellence in our teaching, learning, research, engagement and service delivery.
  • We provide a supportive and affirming environment that enables students and staff to reach their full potential.
  • We pursue inclusive excellence by embedding equality of access and opportunity to all persons in our policies, processes, systems and practices.


  • We are a people-centred university.
  • We respect the dignity of others.
  • We recognise our mutual interdependence.
  • We promote compassionate and responsible citizenship

Social Justice and Equality

  • We are dedicated to the realisation of a socially just, democratic society that promotes equality for all irrespective of race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, sexual orientation, age, physical and learning abilities, national origins, religion, conscience, belief, culture and language.
  • We cultivate living, learning and work environments that enable students and staff to realise their full potential, without fear of discrimination or harassment.
  • We develop our graduates as globally competent citizens who generate, apply and transfer knowledge to contribute actively to advancing social justice, inclusion and equality


  • We commit ourselves to the highest standards of personal honesty and exemplary moral character.
  • We conduct our activities in an accountable and transparent manner.
  • We ensure the integrity of our information, systems and processes.
  • We acknowledge our personal responsibility for ethical and professional behaviour towards others.
  • We accept responsibility for our actions and the consequences thereof.

Environmental Stewardship

  • We care about the natural environment and recognise our responsibility to conserve, protect and properly manage natural resources for current and future generations.
  • We promote the integration of sustainability principles into our academic practices, operations and design of physical infrastructure.
  • We encourage mutually beneficial and sustainable approaches to community service and engagement.
  • We inspire students and staff to embrace responsible environmental stewardship.
To achieve our vision and mission
  • will ensure that our values inform and define our institutional ethos and distinctive educational purpose and philosophy.
  • are committed to promoting equity of access and opportunities so as to give students the best chance of success in their pursuit of lifelong learning and diverse educational goals.
  • provide a vibrant, stimulating and richly diverse environment that enables staff and students to reach their full potential.
  • develop graduates and diplomates to be responsible global citizens capable of critical reasoning, innovation and adaptability.
  • create and sustain an environment that encourages and supports a vibrant research, scholarship and innovation culture.
  • engage in mutually beneficial partnerships locally, nationally and globally to enhance social, economic, and ecological sustainability.


OUR STRATEGIC PRIORITIES     |     Creating a learning destination of choice


Embrace a distinctive educational purpose and philosophy that contributes to student access and success.


Foster an affirming, transformative institutional culture that promotes diversity and social cohesion.


Develop and cultivate an engaged, innovative scholarship culture that generates knowledge recognised for its contribution to sustainability.


Position the university as an employer of first choice by investing in talented, high-performing staff.


Enhance long-term financial sustainability through responsible resource stewardship.


Provide and sustain enabling systems and infrastructure that promote an exceptional experience for students, staff and key stakeholders.


ENGAGEMENT     |     Partnerships with the broader community


We engage and form partnerships, interact with stakeholders and reach out and contribute towards the sustainable development of the communities we serves. These actions are directed at making the Nelson Mandela University a transparent and user–friendly institution which extends itself effectively to those who seek access to its knowledge resources, products and expertise.

Managed by the Engagement Office, there are four units that serve as the interface between internal and external stakeholders:


OUR CAMPUSES     |     All the information you need about our campuses and libraries

INSTITUTIONAL REPORTS AND PUBLICATIONS     |     For an in-depth understanding of the university