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 opinions 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 encourage the pursuit of the highest levels of academic, civic and personal achievement.
  • We provide a supportive and affirming environment that enables our students, employees and publics to reach their full potential.
  • We pursue inclusive excellence by embedding equality of access and opportunity in our policies, processes, systems and practices.
  • We seek to foster a culture of intellectual and personal growth and lifelong learning.
  • We promote, recognise and reward excellence in our teaching, learning, research, innovation, creative outputs, engagement and service delivery.

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 encourage mutually beneficial, equalising partnerships and engagement with our core publics to co-create sustainable, innovative solutions to persistent societal and planetary challenges.
  • We cultivate living, learning and work environments that enable students and employees to realise their full potential, without fear of discrimination, harassment or violence.
  • We develop our graduates as global citizens capable of developing and applying knowledge across multiple contexts to make meaningful contributions to advancing a socially just, equal society.


  • We are a people-centred, values-driven university that seeks to foster a compassionate and caring institutional culture.
  • We respect the dignity of others and strive to be human-centred and relational.
  • We recognise our mutual interdependence.
  • We promote socially conscious and responsible citizenship.


  • We commit ourselves to the highest standards of personal honesty and exemplary moral character.
  • We are dedicated to cultivating an atmosphere of trust.
  • We take responsibility for our decisions, behaviours, actions and the consequences thereof.
  • We ensure the integrity of our policies, information, systems and processes.

Sustainable Stewardship

  • We are committed to environmental sustainability and recognise our responsibility to conserve, protect and sustainably manage natural resources for current and future generations.
  • We promote the integration of sustainability into our governance, leadership, academic core missions, operations, as well as the design and maintenance of physical and digital infrastructure.
  • We inspire students and employees to embrace responsible stewardship of all financial, human, infrastructural and environmental resources entrusted to them.
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 FOCUS AREAS     |     Creating a learning destination of choice


Liberate human potential through humanising, innovative lifelong learning experiences that prepare graduates to be socially conscious, responsible global citizens who serve the public good.


Pursue impactful, pioneering research, innovation and internationalisation to address grand societal challenges and promote sustainable futures.


Engage with all publics in equalising partnerships to co-create transformative, contextually responsive solutions in pursuit of social justice and equality.


Catalyse dynamic, student centric approaches and practices that provide life-changing student experiences within and beyond the classroom.


OUR STRATEGIC ENABLERS     |     Creating an empowering work environment


Embrace ethical governance and leadership approaches and practices that embody the values of the University and seek to promote service before self.


Foster an inclusive, values-driven institutional culture to position the University as an employer of choice for talented and empowered employees.


Create and sustain an enabling innovation ecosystem where students and employees can collaboratively engage with external partners to co-create pioneering discoveries that advance the frontiers of knowledge and promote the public good.


Improve efficiencies and value creation through digitalisation, integrated systems, agile service delivery, and modernised infrastructure.


Promote long-term sustainability through strategy-aligned resource mobilisation and responsible stewardship.


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 INFORMATION     |     For an in-depth understanding of the university