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All roads will lead to Nelson Mandela University’s Gqeberha and George campuses on Saturday, 3 February, for the official first-year student welcome by Vice-Chancellor Professor Sibongile Muthwa and faculty staff.


The University is reverting to a face-to-face format after the virtual COVID years to give new students and their families the opportunity to meet staff in person and to view facilities ahead of classes, scheduled to start on 12 February. 


Saturday’s official proceedings for as many as 7000 students are set to begin at 9am at the Indoor Sport Centre on South Campus, followed by faculty break-away sessions on North, South, Second Avenue and George campuses.

Apart from the Welcome Address by Prof Muthwa regarding what to expect at Mandela University and what is expected of its students, there will be entertainment and an introduction to first-year orientation, or what is now called the First-Year Success programme.

All newcomers, bar those linked to the Education, Law and Engineering, Built Environment and Technology (EBET) faculties, and the colleagues on George Campus, will start in the Indoor Centre. The welcome by the Vice-Chancellor will be livestreamed.

Faculty breakaway venues

The meet and greet or faculty breakaway sessions will begin at 10.30am. This will give new students and their parents time to move from the Indoor Centre to specific venues (see below), most of which are within easy walking distance.



Business & Economic Sciences

Start and stay at Indoor Sport Centre on South Campus


Start at the Indoor Centre on South Campus then move to:

South Campus Auditorium

Overflow: Council Chamber


Start and stay at Building 35


Start at the Indoor on South Centre then move to:

Building 35 (0040)

Overflow: Building 35 0027

Health Sciences

Start at the Indoor Centre on South Campus then move to:

Building 123 x 3 venues inside, South Campus

Overflow: Building 123 (2 smallest venues in building)


Start and stay at Second Avenue Campus Auditorium


Heinz Betz Hall on North Campus

Overflow: Eng 1 (Mapungubwe Auditorium)

Please note: Arch, ArchTech & Interior: Building 8 (SC) 2nd Floor

George Campus

Will link to VC via Zoom, then follow a campus specific programme around campus.

Each faculty will host their own programme of events. They are expected to finish by midday.


For newcomers who do not have their own transport or are not able to walk to their venues (especially the South Campus Auditorium, EBET on North Campus, Education on Second Avenue), transport will be available in the form of branded 15-seater vehicles.

These shuttles will run between the campuses and from the Indoor Centre to the South Campus venues for much of the morning. (Additional communication will follow.)

First Year Success Buddies and staff support 

Mandela University staff and the First-Year Success Buddies (FYS), who are all senior students, will be on hand on Saturday to guide and support all first years and their supporters to the various venues and campuses.

Security staff and traffic police will also be on duty to manage parking, foot traffic and possible traffic congestion.

Come early

To avoid possible traffic jams and to better orientate yourself, newcomers are urged to come early.  Staff will guide you to your destination and the designated parking.

Please build in additional time to walk from the parking areas to the Indoor Sports Centre and other venues.


The VC’s Welcome address will be livestreamed to other venues and to George Campus. It will also be shared on the institution’s YouTube channel.

Likewise, each of the Dean’s welcoming sessions will also be recorded and placed on the YouTube site so that those students and their families who are unable to attend on Saturday morning can watch these at their leisure.

Invitations and SMSs

All students who received firm offers from Mandela University to study in 2024 have received an SMS invitation to the Welcoming Ceremony, and faculties will also be targeting new faculty students to join the breakaway sessions.

Invitations will also be shared on social media to create further awareness for students and their families to attend Saturday’s event.

Overflow venues in the faculties have been secured to mitigate possible overcrowding.

University Shop

The University Shop will be open with a pop-up shop outside the Indoor Sport Centre for those students who wish to beat the rush and buy branded Madibaz items.

Food trucks and catering

Food trucks and catering venues will be open on most campuses for those who may be hungry.

Additional information on all matters will be shared via Memo and on our social media platforms and will all be housed on a dedicated Welcome Ceremony events webpage.

Communication and Marketing   

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057