Raymond Uren 2010



Raymond Patrick Uren was born in Port Elizabeth on 11 May 1939.  He matriculated from South End High School in 1957 thereafter going on to the University College of Fort Hare (then affiliated to Rhodes University) where he obtained a BA in 1960 and a University Education Diploma in 1961.

Returning to his alma mater, Raymond took up a teaching post at South End High School and in 1970, after eight years of teaching there, was appointed as Vice-Principal. During his time here he taught Latin with distinction, with one of his matric classes obtaining a B aggregate and outdoing most of the schools from the privileged minority.  The school had the rare distinction of being praised for this performance in the Senior Certificate Examination Reports with the Education Department wanting to investigate the results and only desisting at the insistence of the local chief inspector.

He moved onto Bethelsdorp High School as deputy-principal in 1974 and two years later became principal. He remained in this position until 1993 when he retired – turning the chaotic school he inherited into a leading educational institution in the region. 

In the mid-eighties with the upheaval in education, Raymond played a leading role in the establishment of the Eastern Cape Teachers’ Union (ETCU), which subsequently lead to the establishment of the Western Cape Teachers’ Union.

Firmly believing that society cannot be compartmentalised into education, sport and politics, he made sure that he became involved where he could make a difference.  As chairperson of the Eastern Province Senior Schools Sports Union, Raymond was sent as their delegate to the Eastern Province Cricket Association meetings and soon became chairman of the Association.  He later went on to become vice-president of the South African Cricket Board.  It was in the late seventies that he became involved in the activities of the South African Council on Sport, enduring questioning and detention without trial under the apartheid regime. In 2001 the State President awarded Raymond the Presidential Sports Award in recognition of his lifelong contribution to the sports struggle and in 2009 he was awarded the ICC “Catch the Spirit” medal for his outstanding service to cricket.

In the nineties, Raymond became involved in the Land Restitution Initiative in order to offer people with legitimate land restitution claims the option of pooling their claims in favour of a consolidated group approach. This occupied his mind for at least 18 years during which time he achieved much success. According to the National Land Claims Commissioner, his restitution model was used in many of the country’s land restitution projects.

In 2003, Raymond jumped at the opportunity to serve on a project team set up by the General Motors SA Foundation to help design and pilot a leadership programme for school principals. Conducted in partnership with NMMU, the programme ultimately led to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) registering the national Advanced Certificate: Education in School Management and Leadership.

He is currently a member of the steering committee of NMMU’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation’s (CERTI) Saving our Schools project.  This initiative aims to involve the community in helping local schools address the numerous problems they face.

As a role model who has made a substantial contribution to the community of the Nelson Mandela Metropole, it is an honour for NMMU to confer the degree of Doctor of Education (honoris causa) on RAYMOND PATRICK UREN.