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The history of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s George Campus is inextricably linked to the training of Foresters in South Africa. From 1906 to 1911 a theoretical course in Forestry was presented at Tokai, following which a training course focussed on the actual work done by infield Foresters was started at Saasveld from 1912.

Therefore from 1912 to 1931 foresters were trained at Tokai. In 1932 the training venue was relocated to Saasveld. This year (2012) being both the centenary and 80th year commemorating the inception of Forester training in South Africa and at Saasveld respectively called for a special celebration.

It was with this in mind that NMMU George lecturers in the School of Natural Resource Management arranged a “trip down memory lane”, involving both current and former Forestry lecturers. A photo slide show highlighted the changes at Saasveld over the past eighty years, while retired Forestry lecturers, MessrsJoh Scriba, Albie Colton, Richard van Tonder and Sarel Theron gave a presentation on the general highlights of the Forestry programmeand the mischievousness of past students.

The group were in agreement that constant change was one of the factors that has kept Saasveld relevant and vibrant over the years.

Saasveld was managed by the National Government up to 1986, when it was incorporated into the Port Elizabeth Technikon. This status was maintained up to 2005, when the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) was formed from a merger of the University of Port Elizabeth, the PE Technikon and the Port Elizabeth Campus of Vista University, making it the biggest comprehensive university in the Eastern and Southern Cape. 

Retired Forestry lecturers

Retired Forestry lecturers, with their spouses, featured at the entrance to the historic Pampoenkraal building (now a conference centre and guest house) at the NMMU George Campus (from left to right) –Albie Colton, Joh and Katie Scriba, Richard and Toekie van Tonder, Anna Theron and husband Sarel; and Anita and Mike Cameron. Mike is another Saasveld stalwart, who retires at the end of the year after 32 years’ of lecturing here at NMMU George.

 Retired Forestry lecturers and current lecturers

Retired Forestry lecturers, with their spouses, and current lecturers featured at the entrance to the historic Pampoenkraal building – front (seated): Richard Muller, Tiaan Pool, Andrew McEwan and Willie Louw; back (from left to right) Dr Jaap Steenkamp, Albie Colton, Prof Laurence Watson, Joh Scriba, Richard van Tonder, Katie Scriba, Toekie van Tonder, Anna and Sarel Theron, Barry Muller and Mike and Anita Cameron.

Contact information
Ms Alet van Tonder
Manager: Marketing & Corporate Relations
Tel: 27 44 801 5098