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University of Johannesburg(South Africa)

Last modified: 2023-11-25 by bruce berry
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image by Bruce Berry, 11 Nov 2023

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The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is a public university located in Johannesburg, South Africa.  It came into existence on 01 January 2005 as a result of the merger between the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), the Technikon Witwatersrand and the Soweto and East Rand campuses of Vista University.  The recently merged institution is one of the largest contact universities in South Africa with over 50 000 students, of whom more than 3 000 are international students from outside South Africa.

The Witwatersrand Technical Institute was founded in 1903 following the Witwatersrand gold rush in the late 1800s.  It became the Technikon Witwatersrand in 1979. 

The Rand Afrikaans University was established as an Afrikaans medium tertiary educational institution in 1966 while Vista University was established in 1982 with seven satellite campuses in various Black townships across South Africa. 
Bruce Berry, 11 Nov 2023

University of Johannesburg flag

The University of Johannesburg distinguishes itself from its previous institutions as a new, adaptable and progressive institution. 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 students could put forward their proposals. Initially the previous motto of RAU, Diens Deur Kennis (Afrikaans for Service Through Knowledge, was used until a new logo was chosen.

The current flag of UJ is based on its logo.

According to the UJ website, the logo reflects everything the university stands for, namely cultural diversity, stature, global diversity and academic excellence. The striking imagery, colours and textures represent Johannesburg’s character and landscape, and all the elements portray a sense of liberty and unity, a celebration of the human spirit, and a fresh new energy.

The two African hoopoes (upupa africana) facing one another represent the union between the two respected institutions that brought about a new and powerful force. They represent freedom – the freedom to live your potential, to explore all possibilities (on academic, personal and social levels), and to inspire you to reach for the sky. In short, to be part of a movement that is “co-creating solutions for humanity.”

The image of the open book, created by the space between the two birds within the logo, also symbolises a blank slate upon which students and staff may write the script for their futures. This also represents the book of knowledge – the continual development and renewal of knowledge, as well as the infinite nature of the learning process.
The abstract element between the birds’ heads denotes the torch of learning – symbolic of diversity and the comprehensive range of different qualifications offered by the university.

Knowledge transforms people and people transform the world. It is therefore the quality of our thinking that determines the quality of our society. UJ aims to give staff and students the freedom to live their potential and explore the totality of possibilities. People are only limited by limited minds. UJ aims to set them free.

This aim is expressed as the university's brand philosophy of  “Co-creating solutions for humanity.”
Paul Bassinson, 10 Sept 2023 and Bruce Berry, 11 Nov 2023

Rand Afrikaans University Arms

The Arms of the former Rand Afrikaans University (Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit) was registered at the South African Bureau of Heraldry under Certificate No. H4/3/1/2222 issued on 16 June 1972 with the following blazon:

Arms: Vert, a flint within two fire-steels (voided) saltire-wise, in chief an open book, Argent.
Motto: Diens Deur Kennis  (Service through Knowledge).

image sent by Bruce Berry, 11 Nov 2023

A logo based on its Arms, as shown above, was used by the University for general use.
Bruce Berry, 11 Nov 2023

Vista University Arms

image sent by Bruce Berry, 11 Nov 2023

The Arms of the former Vista University was registered at the South African Bureau of Heraldry under Certificate No. H4/3/1/2754 issued on 23 March 1973 with the following blazon:

Arms: Azure, on a bezant, a hurt charged with another bezant, all three conjoined in chief, the whole within a bordure, Or.
Motto: Vista.
Bruce Berry, 11 Nov 2023