from the vice-chancellor and principal

It is a pleasure to present the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Strategic Plan 2017–2021, which outlines the institutional culture, goals and enablers we have identified to help the University realise its full potential, and to inspire greatness in our stakeholders. The process of formulating a new Strategic Plan at UKZN gave us the opportunity to take stock of our achievements and failures and to determine our future in light of the challenges that lie ahead.

This strategy demonstrates our commitment to achieving transformation and excellence through our core function as a knowledge agent, as well as through our engagement with stakeholders and communities. Transformation and excellence are both pervasive elements that are deeply entrenched throughout the strategy to shape the future of the University.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal


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Institutional Context

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has swiftly established its credentials as a rapidly transforming and research-intensive institution, and has become one of the leading universities in Africa. UKZN is the only merged South African university that has consistently featured in global university rankings over the last five years. Established in 2004, with roots originating in… read more


The UKZN Strategic Plan 2017–2021 builds on work already underway and launches several new initiatives. While maintaining continuity with the normative standard of African scholarship within a global context, the plan takes advantage of UKZN’s distinctive features – including its heritage, refreshed academic portfolio, research strengths, and its geographical location as a coastal university on South Africa’s eastern seaboard with a significant presence in the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal.

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strategy 2017-2021


The purpose of UKZN, or the reason it exists, is to shape a better future by “Inspiring Greatness”...

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UKZN aims to establish a value-driven organisational culture that empowers...

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UKZN’s success in Inspiring Greatness depends upon the Institution fostering...

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Mission Statement

UKZN’s Mission is to be “A truly South African University of Choice that is academically excellent...

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“The premier university of african scholarship”

UKZN carries forward the vision of the predecessor plan and the privilege of making its own choices, while harnessing the expertise and energy of those within and outside the Institution – to grow the esteem of the University. This Vision differentiates UKZN from other research-led universities…

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Strategy statement

The university strives to inspire greatness

The Strategy Statement articulates UKZN’s shared vision about where it is, what matters to it, and the future it wants to create. The Strategy Statement is informed by what the University is passionate about, what it could be at international level – and what drives its existence.

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At a glance

The pictorial representation in Figure 1 indicates the essence of the UKZN Strategic Plan 2017-2021.

The purpose of the Institution is captured in the centre – Inspiring Greatness. The purpose is surrounded by the issues pertaining to the institutional climate and culture the University seeks to achieve (e.g. Excellence, Transformation, Service Culture and Innovation and Entrepreneurship).

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UKZN Strategic Diagram