Our History

The University of Limpopo was established in January 2005 by merging two previous apartheid institutions, the University of the North and the Medical University of Southern Africa (Medunsa). From the start the merger was controversial, at least in part because the two campuses were 300 kilometres apart. The idea of a trust fund to support the work of a university, while well established in the mainstream urban-based universities, was relatively new to those that had begun life in accordance with the aims of the ill-fated policy of racially defined ‘separate development’.

In April 2015, Medunsa was officially reborn as the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) in Gauteng while the University of Limpopo (UL) continue to function on its several campuses in and around Polokwane in Limpopo province. This was the result of the South African government’s programme to expand access to education and training opportunities for the youth. Its aim is to increase participation in higher education from 17,9 percent in 2012 to 25 percent in 2030.

The uncoupling of SMU from the UL will bring changes to the current character of the UL Trust. Until these changes are brought about, the Trust will continue to serve the interests of both universities by cultivating new partnerships, honouring existing relationships and managing donor funding with the same diligence as has characterised the Trust’s activities since inception.