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Cairo University, one of Africa's top ten

Top Ten Universities in Africa

May 22, 2013

By now, graduating high school seniors have received their acceptance letters from universities throughout the United States. The choices seem to be unlimited, and the same is true for students embarking on this next phase of life in Africa. The Top Ten Universities in the US always seem to include the Ivies, such as Harvard and Yale, and Africa, too, has lists of the best places for higher learning on the continent. Upon review of several lists ranking college choices in Africa, here are the Top 10.

  1. University of Cape Town
    This school was at the top of all the lists we studied that ranked universities in Africa. It was established in 1829 and grew substantially after the discovery of gold and diamonds in South Africa’s northern territory. Actor Akin Omotoso, who has starred in Generations and Jacob’s Cross on The Africa Channel, graduated from UCT.
  2. University of Witwatersrand
    Located in central Johannesburg, South Africa, and better known as Wits University, the school has also been ranked by two independent studies as one of two universities in Africa among the leading world institutions. Wits School of Mining Engineering is the largest in the English-speaking world.
  3. Stellenbosch University
    The architecture on the campus of Stellenbosch University pays witness to its origin dating back to the 17th century. Set in the wine lands of South Africa’s Western Cape, the institution is regarded as a leader in the fields of biomedical tuberculosis research, animal sciences and mathematical biosciences. The university also designed and manufactured Africa’s first microsatellite, SUNSAT, which was launched in 1999.
  4. University of Kwazulu-Natal
    This University was formed as a merger between the University of Durban-Westville and the Natal University College, both located in South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal province. Both former universities actively sought to educate a diverse student population despite the rules of apartheid. Established in the 1960s as University College for Indians, Durban-Westville’s student population grew in 1971 under a strategy of “education under protest.” The following year, the newly-established University of Durban-Westville moved from Salisbury Island in Durban Bay to Westville, the site of a major anti-apartheid struggle. Likewise, the Natal University College was in the forefront of equality, opening a Medical School for African, Indian and mixed race students in Durban in 1947.
  5. Cairo University
    The university was established in 1908 and opened one of the first medical schools in Africa and the Middle East. In addition to its School of Medicine, the university has a School of Law and 25 other schools of education in different scientific disciplines. Cairo University is located just outside of Cairo on the banks of the Nile River in Giza, and it is a neighbor to some of the world’s most famous structures, including the Great Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza.
  6. University of South Africa
    The University of South Africa was founded in 1873, initially as the University of Good Hope. In 1916 the university changed its name to the University of South Africa and in 1946 became the very first public university in the world to teach exclusively by means of distance education. The university has enrolled students from 130 countries across the globe, with student campuses at Sunnyside in Pretoria, Tshwane, and a Science and Technology center in Johannesburg.
  7. University of Western Cape
    The University of Western Cape was originally founded by the South African government in 1960 as a university for colored people only. With a history of oppression, discrimination, and disadvantage, the university has been a leader of historic change in South Africa. The university is committed to excellence in teaching, learning and research, and to nurturing the cultural diversity of South Africa. With over 15,000 students, the University of Western Cape has grown to become one of most diverse universities in South Africa.
  8. Rhodes University
    Located in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Rhodes University was founded on May 31, 1904. Rhodes University is a small university, but it has one of the best undergraduate passes and graduation rates in South Africa. The university has nearly 6,000 students from all over South Africa as well as overseas. Rhodes University was named after Cecil Rhodes, an English-born South African businessman who set up the provisions of the prestigious and internationally-recognized Rhodes Scholars.
  9. American University Cairo
    Established in the year of 1919, American University in Cairo was founded by Americans devoted to education and community service in the Middle East. Founding president Dr. Charles A. Watson desired to launch a university that would contribute to the academic growth, character and discipline of the future leaders in Egypt. Today, AUC is the region’s premier English-language university. It is an independent, nonprofit, apolitical, non-sectarian and equal-opportunity institution that is fully accredited in both Egypt and the United States.
  10. Makerere University
    As one of the oldest yet most prestigious universities in Africa, Makerere University was founded in Uganda as a technical school. Over the years, it became a Center of Higher Education in East Africa and an independent national university of the Republic of Uganda. The university offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as evening and external study programs, to nearly 35,000 undergraduates and 3,000 postgraduates. Prominent writers, including Nuruddin Farah, Ali Mazrui and David Rubadiri, studied at Makerere University, as did numerous notable figures, including former Ugandan president Milton Obote, and the late Tanzanian president, Julius Nyerere.


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