University of Johannesburg
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|Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit (Rand Afrikaans University) (1967–2004)|
|Motto||Diens Deur Kennis|
Motto in English
|Service Through Knowledge|
|Established||1 January 2005
(by merger of existing institutions)
|Postgraduates||6,280* (2011) *Mid-year total|
|Location||Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
|Campus||4 urban campuses - Auckland Park Kingsway (APK) , Auckland Park Bunting Road (APB), Doornfontein (DFC) and Soweto (SWC)|
|Colours||Orange and white|
|Mascot||University of Johannesburg Hoopoe|
|Affiliations||AAU, ACU, FOTIM, SACU South African Colleges & Universities Organisation, HESA, Universitas 21 |
The University of Johannesburg (known colloquially as 'UJ') is a public university located in Johannesburg, South Africa. The University of Johannesburg came into existence on 1 January 2005 as the result of a merger between the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), the Technikon Witwatersrand (TWR) and the Soweto and East Rand campuses of Vista University. Prior to the merger, the Daveyton and Soweto campuses of the former Vista University had been incorporated into RAU. As a result of the merger of Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), it is common for alumni to refer to the university as RAU.
The newly emerged institution is one of the largest comprehensive contact universities in South Africa, with nine faculties having more than 90 departments and an enrollment of approximately 48,000 students, spreading over four different campuses. The university is one of the largest residential universities in the Republic of South Africa.
- 1 History
- 2 Logo and brand identity
- 3 Organisation and administration
- 4 Campuses
- 5 Faculties
- 6 Facilities
- 7 Academic profile
- 8 Research
- 9 Student life
- 10 Notable people
- 11 Popular culture
- 12 References
- 13 External links
British Rule, 1900s
During the Johannesburg gold rush a number of training institutions were founded to supply skilled labour to the gold mines demands. One of those institutions was Witwatersrand Technical Institute, founded in 1903, with its roots in the Kimberly School of Mines. It eventually became 'Technikon Witwatersrand 'in 1979. This institute was based on the British system and the medium of instruction was English. Not only did its policies restrict access to white students only, but it also restricted admission to those who are well versed in the English language. In 2006, the property belonging to the Technikon Witwatersrand was sold by the University of Johannesburg, which had already absorbed the operations of the Technikon Witwatersrand at that stage.
It would take more than half a century before the independence of South Africa from the British, that the newly elected National Party sought to provide education in the Afrikaans language, the third most spoken mother tongue language in South Africa. This led to the foundation of Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) in 1966. At the time of its founding, RAU was the second university to be established in Johannesburg and it was established through an act of parliament as the academic hub for Afrikaners, establishing a standard of excellence. After the fall of Apartheid in 1994, African students started to become more involved in previously white institutions of higher education. RAU was no exception as for the first time in 1995, it had the largest number of African students in its ranks, followed by the University of Witwatersrand, Rhodes University and the University of Cape Town.
In 1982, Vista University admitted the first black students in designated urban black settlements across South Africa. It was established in Port Elizabeth. It had seven satellite campuses throughout South African townships, making tertiary education accessible to most African people, and it had its first academic year in 1983.
It was intentioned that a modern university would spring from unification, and not separation, as it was enforced in the past. The University of Johannesburg, established on 1 January 2005, is the result of the incorporation of the East Rand and Soweto campuses of Vista University into the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) (1 January 2004). The merger of the modified RAU and the Technikon Witwatersrand took place on 1 January 2005 thus creating the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
The integration of these institutions – with seemingly more differences that similarities, offers UJ a unique identity and character, which serves to bridge the chasms that previously divided South Africa. Indeed, no other university in South Africa truly represents the rainbow nation like UJ.
The incorporation and merger was part of a series of major programmes which restructured higher education in South Africa; a result of the National Plan for Higher Education (2001). Consequently, this meant there was a reduction from 36 universities and technikons to 22 higher education institutions. South Africa now has 11 traditional universities, 5 universities of technology and 6 comprehensive institutions.
Logo and brand identity
University of Johannesburg distinguishes itself from its previous institutions as a new, adaptable and progressive institution. Early on it was decided that UJ did not want a coat of arms and motto, as are custom with other tertiary educational institutions in South Africa. The administration decided rather to opt for a logo and brand identity. An internal competition was held where current students could put forward their proposals. In the interim, the previous motto of the Rand Afrikaans University "Diens Deur Kennis" (Afrikaans for Service Through Knowledge) was maintained.
The design by Joey Hifi was chosen as the official logo of the university. Present in the design are two hoopoos upupa africana. The hoopoo is the official mascot of the UJ Sports Bureau. The hoopoos are reflective of the "coming together" of two respective institutions (originally) and they form the outline or frame of a book, symbolic of education. The hoopoo is also symbolic of freedom, at various levels; personal and social, adaptability and change. The crowned feathers are symbolic of Africa.
Organisation and administration
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The Senate is the body responsible for academic matters at the University and is made up mainly of full professors and heads of departments. By law, the Senate is accountable to the University’s Council for all the teaching, learning, research and academic functions of the institution and all other functions delegated or assigned to it by the Council.
The UJ Senate currently comprises about 250 members under the chairpersonship of Vice-Chancellor Prof Ihron Rensburg. The Registrar is the Secretarial of the UJ Senate.
- APK, or the Kingsway Campus Auckland Park (former RAU campus)
APK, is the largest and most populated campus of the University of Johannesburg. It is also the seat of the administration and governance body of the university. The campus was formerly the only educational campus of the Rand Afrikaans University. The campus gets its name from a major Johannesburg road, Kingsway Avenue, that runs along the north-east side of the campus. The roads that form the boundary of the campus are (clock-wise) University Road, Ditton Avenue, Ripley Road, Hampton Avenue, Studente Avenue, Akademie Road and Perth Road. Although the official name of the campus implies that it is in Auckland Park, it actually falls just out of that suburb by one street. It is technically in the suburb of Rossmore with the first-year parking lot bordering the suburb of Melville, Gauteng.
- APB, or the Bunting Road Campus Auckland Park (former TWR campus)
The ABP was originally a campus of the Technikon Witwatersrand. Unique about the campus is the fact that the campus is an enclosed section of a suburb. The main throughfair of the suburb is Bunting Road. The name Bunting Road, according to the City of Johannesburg archives is derived from a subspecies of bird and not the decorative banner it is currently associated with.
- DFC, or the Doornfontein Campus (former TWR campus)
- SWC, or the Soweto Campus (former RAU campus, previously former Vista University Soweto campus)
The East Rand Campus (ERC) was temporarily closed halfway through 2007 pending proposed redevelopment of the campus, provisionally planned for reopening in 2009.
Art, Design and Architecture
The Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, expanding these fields beyond their traditional boundaries through internal and external collaborations. It has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approached to art and design. Equipped with state-of-the-art, custom-built facilities, the Faculty is staffed by highly regarded academics, designers and artists. FADA's research focus areas include: Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD) which explores visual expressions of identity as a specialised area of knowledge and expertise in art and design research; and the Design Society Development DESIS Lab which is a multi-disciplinary community of practice that seeks to better understand how design can best serve the emerging needs of broader society, specifically in the face of staggering inequality and rapid change in Gauteng, South Africa.
FADA is home to the following departments:
- Department of Industrial Design
- Department of Architecture
- Department of Fashion Design
- Department of Graphic Design
- Department of Interior Design
- Department of Jewellery Design and Manufacture
- Department of Multimedia
- Department of Visual Art
Economic and Financial Sciences
The faculty of Economic and Financial Sciences research focus areas include: economics, econometrics, credit management, banking, accounting, taxation, auditing, cost and management accounting, finance.
The faculty of Education research focus areas include: ecologists of learning to ecologists of practice, learning to be a teacher – towards learner outcomes in schools, discourse and performative practice of teachers in language literacy and communication, keystone species in the science and mathematics classrooms of two schools, teachers building practice as community counselors, teachers and tools: crafting technology education in practice, teacher identity and the culture of schools, Information and communication technology in schools, Values and human rights in education, and aggression in secondary schools in South Africa.
Engineering and the Built Environment
The faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment research focus areas include: civil engineering materials research, chromium steels, control and image processing, industrial electronics technology, manufacturing, mineral processing and technology, optical communications, process optimization of thermodynamic systems, small-scale mining and minerals, speech and signal processing, telecommunications, unmanned aerial vehicles, water research.
- Department of Chemical Engineering
- Department of Civil Engineering Science
- Department of Civil Engineering Technology
- Department of Construction Management and Quantity Surveying
- Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Science
- Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technology
- Department of Metallurgy
- Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Technology
- Department of Mechanical Engineering Science
- Department of Mine Surveying
- Department of Mining Engineering
- Department of Town and Regional Planning
- Department of Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering
The faculty of Health Sciences research focus areas include: Laser Research, optometrics science, Water and Health Research. There is also a big department for sport studies which include Sport psychology, sport management, sport communication, sport development and sport science.
The faculty of Humanities research focus areas include: social Development in Africa, sociological Research, culture and Languages in Africa, African-European studies, study of Democracy.
The faculty of Law research focus areas include: study of Economic crime, Private International Law in Africa, banking Law, International Law in Africa, International and comparative Labour and social security Law, sport Law. 456505
The faculty of Management research focus areas include: skills in the transport arena, Economic Governance and Local business, the Enterprise of craft, Practices of travel agencies.
The faculty of Science research focus areas include: Nanotechnology, Energy and sustainable Development, aquatic Eco-toxicology, Economic Geo-metallurgy.
The University comprises a built-up area in excess of 45,000m2 and the facilities available at the respective campuses include:
- Lecture rooms and microlaboratories
- Sports facilities
- Auditoriums, halls, galleries and conference venues
- Student shopping centres, restaurants and cafeterias
- Campus and health clinics.
- A villa for postgraduate students
- Court rooms
UJ owns an island in the Vaal River, formerly known as RAU Island.
Libraries, collections and museums
- The Kingsway Library serves the Kingsway campus (APK) and contains an extensive selection of research literature spread over 7 levels. It is located at the main entrance to the Kingsway campus in the vicinity of the administrative department of the campus. The library is currently in the process of improving its IT infrastructure, with fully equipped Wi-Fi facilities being introduced in 2013.
- Bunting Road Campus Library
- Doornfontein Campus Library
- Soweto Campus Library
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Just eight years after being established, the University of Johannesburg (UJ), has moved into the top 4% of universities in the world.
Admission and Registration
As is common practice with all South African universities, South African applicants to the University of Johannesburg are required to apply in advance for admission into their preferred course by no later than the end of September. Therefore, prospective South African matriculants must apply for their preferred course of study before the completion of their matric year. As of 2013, the University of Johannesburg has adopted a "no walk-in" policy and therefore, prospective and current students are required to apply for admission and complete their registration online.
International students have to comply with a specialised admission process and must apply for admission into their preferred course by no later than the end of September.
Registration for undergraduates and postgraduates takes place before the commencement of the academic year. New registrations for qualifying matriculants takes place in January shortly after the matric results are released.
Teaching and degrees
Undergraduate teaching takes place over the duration of four terms or two semesters during the course of the year. Some subjects are taught throughout the duration of the year known as year-long subjects and other subjects are taught over the course of two terms or one semester. Some subjects have prerequisites such as a requirement for a student to complete a specific course or subject/s before they are permitted to continue with a related subject.
The teaching terms usually coincide with Gauteng public school terms though can change as the university administration sees fit.
Scholarships and Financial Support
There are many opportunities for students studying at the University of Johannesburg to receive financial support. One of the primary methods in which a student may receive financial support is as a result of a students academic performance at the end of their matriculation year. This type of financial support is known as an academic merit bursary that is only awarded to students who observe the stringent "M-score" academic requirements of such support. The academic merit bursary offers up to 100% payment of tuition fees and an additional stipend amount to qualifying applicants.
An alumni bursary is offered to qualifying postgraduate students that may be applied for in the applicants respective faculty offices. Postgraduate students may apply for funding through the National Research Foundation (NRF) that offers up to 100% payment of tuition fees and an additional stipend amount to qualifying applicants.
Alternative funding includes applying for funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) as well as through applying for funding through external sponsorship bursaries.
Since the universities inception in 2005, UJ has committed itself to growing its academic footprint in South Africa and the rest of Africa. The growing stature of the university is represented by its performance in the 2013/2014 QS World University Rankings, where it placed in the 601-650 band - placing it in the top 4% of world universities. It remained in the 601-650 band in the 2016/17 instalment of the QS World University rankings.
The University of Johannesburg has a large research compendium, with researchers in various fields of expertise and research focus areas. The university has 113 rated researchers, six of whom are NRF "A-rated" researchers, internationally recognised in their fields of expertise.
Below is a list of all the research centres at the University of Johannesburg with information regarding their efforts, breakthroughs and other information where applicable.
- Centre for Visual Identities in Art and Design: The Centre for Visual Identities in Art and Design (CVIAD) is a crucial part of the University of Johannesburg's Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture. Established in 2007, CVIAD's main objectives include developing the faculty as a renowned hub for practice-based research via involvement with issues of image pertaining to text within art and design practices, and developing a body of knowledge in the fields of visual identities in art and design through the research of its Research Associates, Post-doctoral Fellows, and Staff Researchers as well as through Post-Graduate research efforts. The centre presents research in many formats, such as: exhibitions, installations, video screenings, live performances, curatorial practices, textual outputs by academics (including journals and periodicals), research projects undertaken by individuals and groups, workshops, seminars, conferences, discussions and presentations.
- Centre for Education Rights and Transformation: The Centre for Education Rights and Transformation (CERT) forms part of the Faculty of Education and was founded on 15 October 2009 at the Bunting Road Campus. One of the keynote speakers at the founding of CERT was Dr. Neville Alexander, a former prisoner who served time with Nelson Mandela at Robben Island. All the staff members that form part of the CERT have an avid interest in linking academic scholarship with societal changes and public involvement.
- Centre for Education Practice Research: The Centre for Education Practice Research (CEPR) forms a part of the Faculty of Education and was officially established on 24 April 2007 at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto Campus. CEPR's main objective is to foster research efforts which are dedicated to the generation of knowledge with regards to the practices and development of education in Southern African region.
- Advanced Composite Materials
- Industrial Electronics Technology Research Group
- Mineral Processing & Technology
- Photonics Research Group
- Stream Processing Research Group
- Telecommunications Research Group: The Telecommunications Research Group forms part of the Faculty of Engineering and the Build Environment.
- Laser Research Centre
- Research Centre on Civil Engineering Materials: The Research Centre on Civil Engineering Materials is presently being founded in the ABA Brink Materials Laboratory and will form part of the operations of the Faculty of Engineering and the Build Environment.
- Water & Health Research Centre: The Water and Health Research Centre consists of a Water Research Group based in the Department of Civil Engineering Science, which forms part of the Faculty of Engineering and the Build Environment, and various other water-related groups in the university, like the Water and Health Research Unit. The Water and Health Group involves various researchers working on water research from several faculties at the University of Johannesburg and from other universities as well.
- Centre for Culture and Languages in Africa
- Centre of Social Development in Africa
- Centre for Sociological Research
- South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public & Human Rights
- The Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies in Africa
- Aquatic Ecotoxicology
- Centre for Aquatic Research
- African Centre for DNA Barcoding: The African Centre for DNA Barcoding (ACDB) is a subsidiary of the University of Johannesburg and an academic unit contained within the departments of Botany & Plant Biotechnology and Zoology, and jurisdiction of the Faculty of Science. The mission of ACDB is to facilitate the gap of knowledge and to enhance the research frameworks for global, regional and inter-institutional co-operation in Africa in relation to key fields of DNA technology, such as biodiversity and DNA barcoding. As of July 2013, ACDB has catalogued barcodes for 15 584 plant specimens across 8 352 species and 14 253 animal specimens across 1 493 species, resulting in 29 837 specimens across 9 845 species overall. The International Barcode of Life project received a financial grant of $2.2 million from Canada's International Development Research Centre so that researchers from Argentina, Costa Rica, Kenya, Peru and South Africa could play key roles in the project, of which ACDB forms an important part. The Japanese car manufacturer Toyota also sponsors ACDB in the form of a fleet of vehicles which researchers utilize to access rough terrains. They work together with the research team in a project called the Toyota Enviro Outreach.
- Centre for Nanomaterials Sciences Research: The Centre for Nanomaterials Sciences Research (CNSR) was established in 2007 and was founded on four key aspects, namely: nanomaterials for water treatment, nanomaterials for catalysis applications, bio-nanomaterials, and nanomaterials for sensors and photovoltaic applications. The CNSR supports and facilitates the individual and cooperative research efforts and is a part of the Department of Applied Chemistry, which is a department which falls under the Faculty of Science. The centre has worked with the South African Chemical Institute, the Water Institute of Southern Africa, the South African Nanotechnology Initiative, the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry in the past.
- Paleoproterozoic Mineralisation Research Group: The Paleoproterozoic Mineralisation Research Group (PPM) falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Geology, which falls under the Faculty of Science. The PPM's main objectives include: studying and modelling the relationship between environmental change and styles of mineralization in the Precambrian Era, particularly on the Paleoproterozoic Era, applying the knowledge for the evaluation of the mineral exploration and beneficiation potential of that era on a worldwide scale, ensuring a competitive edge for industrial partners in global mineral exploration and acquisition markets by studying the temporal and spatial distribution, composition, and origin of mineral deposits on local and regional scales, and training postgraduate students in the field of Economic Geology. The PPM is financed by grants provided by the National Research Foundation of South Africa and the Faculty of Science.
- Sustainable Energy Technology and Research Centre
- Centre for Catalysis Research
- Centre for Banking Law
- Centre for International Law
Research focus areas
- Science 42%
- Humanities 21%
- Engineering and the Built Environment 7%
- Health Sciences 7%
- Law 7%
- Education 5%
- Art, Design and Architecture 4%
- Management 4%
- Economic and financial sciences 3%
The University of Johannesburg has a Students' Representative Council (SRC) referred to as the UJSRC, as well as an SRC for each of the four campuses. The UJSRC consists of eight members, two members per campus, and they are elected by the student bodies of each campus. The UJSRC represents all UJ students, addressing issues and concerns which are of relevance to the whole student body. Each individual campus has its own Campus SRC which is elected from members of that particular campus' student body. The powers and functions of Campus SRCs are delegated to them by the UJSRC and Campus SRCs consist of ten members.
Media and societies
The University of Johannesburg has a radio station that airs on its campuses called UJFM which aims to reflect the demographics of the university by airing content that is relevant to the target market. In April 2010, UJFM moved to the Bunting Road Campus where it has access to more professional, state of the art equipment. UJFM operates on a frequency of 95.4FM.
The University also has its own student newspaper, called the UJ Observer. The purpose of the paper is to act as a communication medium for the student community with the goal of providing information to the student community, investigating issue that are of importance to the student community, and reflecting debates about current affairs on the various campuses of the university. The UJ Observer also offers journalism students a practical platform to learn and develop journalistic and managerial skill sets. However, students do not necessarily have to be journalism students to be a member of the UJ Observer's editorial team. The UJ Observer operates on all of the campuses of the University of Johannesburg.
Students interested in taking part in charity events can do so via UJ's RAG (Remember and Give) committees, which are voluntary student organizations that raise funds and take part in community relief efforts. It is a tradition at UJ to host a RAG Week during the opening week of the academic year, in which events like musical performances, beauty competitions, fun days and float processions take place to generate funds. However, RAG committees operate throughout the academic year in various activities.
Registered students have the option to take part in societies at UJ which are divided into four broad kinds of society, namely: academic societies, political societies, religious societies and social societies.
UJ enrolled 43,630 undergraduates and 6,280 graduate students in 2011. Women constituted 55 percent of the total student headcount.
There is a vast division with 28 residences spread over 4 campuses at the University of Johannesburg.
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Auckland Park Campus (APK)
- Junior female residences
- Karibu Jamil Residence
- Magnolia Residence
- Mosate Heights Residence
- Lebone Residence
- Impumelelo Residence
- Junior male residences
- Afslaan Residence
- Maqhawe Residence
- Cornerstone Mens Residence
- Oppierif Residence
- Mixed residence
- Sophiatown Residence
- Senior residence
- Thomas Sankara (mixed)
- Melrose Place (mixed)
Bunting Road (APB)
- Junior female residences
- Horizon Residence
- Panorama Residence
- Junior male residence
- Majuba Residence
- Senior residences
- Broadcast Court (mixed)
- Goudstad Flats (mixed)
- Junior female residence
- Gauta Residence
- Phumlani Residence
- Junior male Residence
- Akanani Residence
- Kopano Residence
- Robin Crest Residence
Soweto Campus (SWC) has three residences.
- YWCA Ladies' Residence (junior)
- YMCA Men's Residence (junior)
- Hector Peterson (mixed)
Athletics, Sport & Cultural activities
The university offers many different codes of sport:
As with the former RAU, rugby is a large focus of many students. UJ's competitive sport is regulated by the UJ Sports Bureau. Sport education is regulated by the Faculty of Health Science and Department of Sport and Movement Studies.
UJ has made a name for itself excelling in athletics, hockey, basketball and rowing particularly. 2008 Olympic representative Juan Van Deventer was at the time a student. Several players who competed for the South Africa national basketball team at the 2011 African Basketball Championship in Madagascar were UJ Alumni.
UJ has numerous sporting venues:
- UJ Gymnasium – located on APK campus; used for various sports
- UJ Hockey Stadium and Grounds – located in Melville; used for hockey
- UJ Stadium – located in Westdene; used primarily for athletics but also soccer
- Grasdak – located in Westdene; used primarily for rowing
- Soweto Stadium – located in Soweto; used primarily for soccer
- Kingsway Campus Auckland Park – contains squash courts, a swimming pool and volleyball courts
Arts and Culture
The University of Johannesburg has an arts centre, comprising a 436-seat theatre, an art gallery and rehearsal studios where the UJ Arts Academy rehearses. This academy consists of the University of Johannesburg Choir (conducted by Renette Bouwer and Sidumo Jacobs), the UJ Drama Company, the UJ Dance Company and the UJ Song and Dance Company.
The University of Johannesburg has numerous alumni and faculty members distinguished in their respective fields.
Literature, music, and drama
Science and Mathematics
Professor Beukes, N.J. (Science) - NRF "A-rated" researcher specialising in: Economic geology, Sedimentology, Sedimentary geochemistry & Sequence stratigraphy. Professor Ferreira, H.C. (Engineering) - NRF "A-rated" researcher specialising in: Communication technologies, Information systems and technologies, Electronic engineering, Applied mathematics, Communication technologies & Information systems and technologies. Professor Harris, W.F. (Health Sciences) - NRF "A-rated" researcher specialising in: Physics, Biophysics, Vision metrology, Optics, Biostatics & Biometrics. Professor Maina, J.N. (Science) - NRF "A-rated" researcher specialising in: Respiration. Tshilidzi Marwala (Dean of Engineering) - Known for extensive contributions to the field of mechanical engineering. Received the Order of Mapungubwe in Bronze for outstanding contributions to, and inspirational achievements in, the field of engineering science. Professor Metz, T.H. (Humanities) - NRF "A-rated" researcher specialising in: Life, meaning of, Ethics Political and legal philosophy. Azwinndini Muronga Relativistic fluid mechanics, Mulalo Doyoyo Engineer and inventor, Fulufhelo Nelwamondo engineer, Evan Hurwitz engineer and Megan Jill Russell.
- Bernadette Coston - South African female Olympic field hockey player.
- Lisa-Marie Deetlefs - South African female Olympic field hockey player.
- Chris Froome - Winner of the 2013 Tour de France.
- Theuns Kotzé - Namibian rugby player.
- Jaco Kriel - South African rugby player who plays for the Lions.
- Kegorapetse David Letsebe - South African male basketball player.
- Thornton McDade - South African male Olympic field hockey player.
- Zibusiso Mkhwanazi - South African digital entrepreneur and CEO of Avatar.
- Caylib Oosthuizen - South African rugby player.
- Shireen Sapiro - South African Paralympic swimmer.
- Francois Uys - South African rugby player who plays for the Free State Cheetahs. Irvette van Zyl - South African Olympic long-distance runner.
- Jano Vermaak, South African national rugby player.
- Francois Pienaar former Springbok captain that led the South African rugby team that won the 1995 IRB World Cup
- Micheen Thornycroft - Zimbabwe Olympic rower
United States President, Barack Obama visited the University of Johannesburg's Soweto campus on Saturday 29 June 2013. The main reasons for his visit included addressing questions relating to terrorism, the economy, trade in Africa and the US foreign policy. President Obama addressed the young African leaders in Soweto, a historic part of South Africa which is now symbolic of tourism, culture, and a growing middle-class. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Johannesburg.
Thomas Piketty presented the 13th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the University of Johannesburg on the 3 October 2015. He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Johannesburg.
In 2011 the university decided to suspend ties with Israeli Ben-Gurion University, citing the University's support for the Israeli military. The decision was seen to affect projects in biotechnology and water purification.
However, two days later, Ihron Rensburg, vice-chancellor and principal of the university issued a statement saying that "UJ is not part of an academic boycott of Israel...It has never been UJ's intention to sever all ties with BGU, although it may have been the intention of some UJ staff members."
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