Contemplating the approach of RAU's founders towards radically transforming Afrikaans speaker identity in taking economic responsibility


  • J Klee University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  • ES van Eeden, Professor North-West University, South Africa



Teaching methods, Teaching systems, Philosophy, RAU, Modernising, Industrial heartland of South Africa, Architectural design, Universities idea, Identity, Onderrigmetodes, Onderrigstelsels, Filosofie, Modernisering, Industriële hartland van Suid-Afrika, Argitektoniese ontwerp, Universitêre begrip, Identiteit


This discussion on the former Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) covers the founding years of the University from 1955 to 1975. What should become clear from the contemplations is that the establishment of RAU in 1968 (today the University of Johannesburg), was not driven by the increase in the population of white Afrikaans speakers on the Witwatersrand or to act as a force against the liberal influences of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). The philosophy behind the establishment of RAU was mainly to reposition and empower white Afrikaans speakers with the education required to ensure that they could take their place in particularly the Witwatersrand as economic heartland of South Africa, and South Africa in general. Part of this approach by the founders was to create and develop RAU to become the most modern Afrikaans university of its time, providing quality teaching and learning of a high local and international standards. The prominence of being a university driven by specific ideals contributed to the forming of the Afrikaans speaker’s identity in education and the national economy. As examples, this discussion mainly emphasises some new teaching methods introduced at the time, visibly blending with a refreshed view on the architectural design to accommodate the philosophical ideals envisioned for RAU. The founders’ vision was for RAU to become an educational instrument towards transforming white Afrikaans speaker identity within a modernised context.


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