Book review – 140 years of shaping futures – University of South Africa

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As an Alumnus and current student of Unisa, I was very excited to have been able to purchase two copies of the celebratory record of Unisa’s 140-year history earlier this month. From the moment I opened the book, the immediate sense I got was that Unisa is indeed an institution of substance and value. This is well reflected in the book’s high quality pages, giving a balanced and inclusive description of this great institution’s journey through history, its contribution to the continent, to its people and to all those beyond our borders. The book, like the institution, is diverse, interesting, relevant, colourful. I learnt things about Unisa that I did not know. I smiled with pride at some of the things that always make me smile when I think of Unisa, not least of which are the images of the main campus in Muckleneuk, which has been quoted as being “a Tshwane landmark” (p. 127), with its unique structure watching over all who learn and work there.

Comparing the 140 year publication to the 1973 publication, Spes in Arduis, a history of the University of South Africa, which has been gracing my bookshelves for the past quarter of a century, there is no doubt that Unisa keeps up with the times, reflects what is, and what was. Whilst Unisa is an institution of distance learning, a publication such as the 140 years of shaping futures brings the reader closer to this vital, vibrant, interesting institution. This publication is so much more than a coffee table book, lending elegance to a piece of furniture. It is a publication to be devoured, its contents reflected upon, its message to be treasured. For me, it is a privilege to be associated with Unisa, and it was a privilege to immerse myself between the covers of this publication.

© Beba Papakyriakou
Mon. 28 April 2014

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