The formal education journey of Cassim Dangor, 1963-1985: Reflection of education challenges in apartheid South Africa by Goolam Vahed (Wonga Tabata)

Associate Professor Vahed’s journal article on the challenges faced by “first-generation” university students at University College, Durban, on Salisbury Island in the 1960’s makes for interesting reading.  The term, “first generation”, refers to those students who come from families whose members have never entered universities or institutions of higher learning. Vahed’s  article is based on the educational journey of Professor Cassim Dangor, a South African academic of Indian descent who was born in Standerton and became one of the Pharmacy students to enrol at the ethnic University College, Durban, in 1963 which later became University of Durban-Westville (UD-W) in the early 1970s when the institution moved to Westville.

Vahed points out that Dangor faced many alienating academic, cultural and political challenges on Salisbury Island. Through determination and hard work, he secured a USA post-graduate scholarship in 1970. In Mississippi, USA, he was exposed to the Black political protest movement and racism but the academic experience was more enriching than at UD-W. Dangor eventually became a Professor of Pharmacy at UD-W and taught anti-apartheid leaders such as Indris Moodley and Pravin Gordhan.  Pravin Gordhan later became South Africa’s Minister of Finance and is currently the Minister for Co-operative and Local Government. This biographical study remains relevant in post-apartheid South Africa as it traces academic experiences, student alienation and politics in the then “Bush Colleges” under apartheid.

The article is available at:
Published in Historia Journal of the Historical Association of South Africa, Volume 59, No. 1, May 2014, pp. 38-58

Wonga Tabata is a Deputy Director: Social Inclusion & Equity Directorate. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Education and History.

For further information contact Wonga Tabata at