University Of Cape Town Notable Alumni

University Of Cape Town Notable Alumni

University Of Cape Town Notable Alumni, UCT values its bonds with its alumni, and works hard to create links between alumni throughout the world. There are over 100 000 of you, and as diverse as this community is, your shared experiences and memories of studying on our spectacular campus make for a very strong alumni network indeed. This network continues to grow, and it now has a wide footprint not only in South Africa, but spans across our continent and reaches all corners of the globe.

One of the Development & Alumni Department’s main objectives is to broaden and strengthen our alumni database, so that we can keep you up to date with exciting developments at UCT. We aim to do this through UCT Alumni News, the magazine for alumni, and also news updates from your faculties or national alumni co-ordinators.

Your alma mater looks forward to welcoming you back, whether to a public lecture, a leadership forum, your class reunion, or just an informal visit. We are arranging more eventsfor those of you who live outside Cape Town too, so please let us know your current contact details, and from time to time also tell us something about your lives and where you are in your careers.


This list of the notable alumni of the University of Cape Town is divided into the six faculties of the university: Commerce, Humanities, Sciences, Health Sciences, Engineering, and Law.


  • 1Commerce
  • 2Humanities
    • 2.1Music
    • 2.2Fine art
    • 2.3Drama
  • 3Sciences
  • 4Health sciences
  • 5Social sciences
  • 6Law and government
  • 7References


  • Roelof Botha, grandson of Pik Botha; began his career as an actuary and became a venture capitalist
  • Chelsy Davy, ex-girlfriend of Britain’s Prince Harry
  • Nick Mallett, played for and later coached the Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby union team
  • Tshediso Matona, CEO of Eskom
  • Mark Shuttleworth, billionaire entrepreneur; founder of Canonical Ltd; sponsor of the Ubuntu Linux distribution; second space tourist


  • Professor Emeritus J. M. Coetzee, Literature, 2003
  • Lauren Beukes, international best-selling author of The Shining Girls, winner of Arthur C. Clarke Award
  • Jean Comaroff, professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago
  • John Comaroff, professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago
  • Harold Cressy, head teacher and first coloured person to gain a degree in South Africa
  • Janette Deacon, archaeologist specialising in heritage management and rock art conservation
  • Roger Ebert, film critic, graduated with an English degree as part of a Rotary International program
  • David Fanning, Emmy Award-winning producer of Frontline
  • Bobby Godsell, Masters of Arts, later CEO of AngloGold Ashanti and Chairman of Eskom
  • Johannes de Villiers Graaff, professor of welfare economics; economist
  • Adrian Guelke, Professor of Comparative Politics at Queen’s University Belfast
  • Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr, deputy prime minister of South Africa, obtained an M.A. at the age of 17
  • Philip Edgecumbe Hughes, New Testament scholar, Professor at Westminster Theological Seminary
  • Edward Neville Isdell, former CEO of the Coca-Cola Company
  • Gail Kelly, CEO of Westpac; 8th most influential woman in the world, according to Forbes magazine
  • David Lewis-Williams, Professor emeritus of Cognitive Archaeology at the University of the Witwatersrand specialising in Upper-Palaeolithic and Bushmen rock art
  • Gwen Lister, South African-born Namibian journalist; anti-apartheid activist; founder of The Namibian
  • Nicolaas Petrus van Wyk Louw, Afrikaans-language poet, playwright and scholar
  • Steven Markovitz, award-winning film and television producer
  • André du Pisani, political scientist and professor at University of Namibia
  • Mamphela Ramphele, managing director of the World Bank; former Vice-Chancellor of UCT
  • Isaac Schapera, Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics; leading expert in the anthropology of South African tribesmen
  • Carmel Schrire, Professor of Archaeology, Rutgers University
  • Robert Carl-Heinz Shell, South African author and professor of African Studies
  • Lady Skollie, feminist artist and activist
  • Andries Treurnicht, founder and the leader of the Conservative Party in South Africa
  • Mary Watson, 2006 winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing


  • Richard Cock, conductor
  • Cromwell Everson, classical music composer and composer of the first Afrikaans opera
  • Ernest Fleischmann, impresario best known for his tenure at the Los Angeles Philharmonic[1]
  • Malcolm Forsyth, musician; composer; Canadian Composer of the Year; Juno Award winner; member of Order of Canada
  • Hendrik Hofmeyr, composer and music theorist; winner of the 1997 Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Composition Prize; Professor of Music at the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town
  • Galt MacDermot, composer of the musical Hair
  • Melanie Scholtz, vocalist, operas, jazz, pop, r&b, and classical music. Graduated from the School of Opera
  • Barry Smith, organist, conductor, musicologist, former Associate Professor of Music at the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town
  • Pretty Yende

Fine art

  • Anne Bean, British installation and performance artist
  • Breyten Breytenbach, author
  • Roger Ebert, Pulitzer Award-winning American film critic and writer
  • Kai Lossgott, interdisciplinary artist
  • Jonathan Shapiro, South African political cartoonist known as “Zapiro”


  • Vincent Ebrahim, known for his role on The Kumars at No. 42
  • Richard E. Grant, actor
  • Zolani Mahola, lead singer of the South African band Freshlyground


  • Professor Allan McLeod Cormack, Medicine, 1979
  • Hilary Deacon, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Stellenbosch specialising in the emergence of modern humans and African archaeology
  • Emanuel Derman, Goldman Sachs financial engineer and author of My Life As A Quant
  • Jonathan M. Dorfan, director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
  • Professor Mulalo Doyoyo, South African engineer and inventor; known for inventing cenocell, a cementless concrete
  • George Ellis, cosmologist; collaborator with Stephen Hawking; winner of the 2004 Templeton Prize
  • Sir Aaron Klug, Chemistry, 1982
  • Paul Maritz, former Microsoft executive; VMware CEO
  • Magdalena Sauer, first woman to qualify as an architect in South Africa
  • Sydney Harold Skaife,South African entomologist and naturalist
  • Stanley Skewes, number theorist most famous in popular mathematics for his bound for the point of changeover in magnitude between the number of primes up to a certain number and an important approximation of this, which was for many years the largest finite number ever legitimately used in a research paper
  • Willem Van Biljon, former co-founder of Mosaic Software, acquired by S1 Corporation ; founder of Nimbula, a startup funded by Sequoia Capital
  • Richard van der Riet Woolley, British astronomer who became Astronomer Royal

Health sciences

  • Neil Aggett, South African trade union leader and labour activist who died in custody after 70 days’ detention without trial
  • Frances Ames, first woman to receive an MD degree from UCT; first female professor at UCT
  • Professor Christiaan Barnard, performed the world’s first heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital
  • Enid Charles, statistician and demographer
  • David Cooper,theorist and leader in the anti-psychiatry movement
  • Margaret Keay (1911-1998), plant pathologist[2]
  • Bongani Mayosi, cardiologist and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
  • Max Theiler, virologist awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951 for developing a vaccine against yellow fever
  • Heather Zar, paediatric pulmonologist and Chair Department of Paediatrics

Social sciences

  • John Karlin, industrial psychologist whose research led to the rectangular push-button telephone[3]
  • Debora Patta, broadcast journalist and television producer[4]
  • Joel Pollak, editor-in-chief of Breitbart News

Law and government

  • Sheila Camerer, South African politician; former Deputy Minister of Justice; long-serving Member of Parliament of the main opposition the Democratic Alliance; ambassador to Bulgaria; completed a Bachelor of Law degree at UCT in 1964
  • Ryan Coetzee, South African politician; former CEO of the Democratic Alliance and Shadow Minister of Economic Development; chief strategist for Western Cape premier Helen Zille; graduated from UCT in 1994
  • Beric John Croome, Advocate of the High Court of South Africa; Chartered Accountant CA (SA); taxpayers’ rights pioneer; completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree (1980), Certificate in the Theory of Accountancy (1981) and a PhD (Commercial Law) (2008) at UCT[5]
  • Zainunnisa “Cissie” Gool, anti-apartheid political and civil rights leader
  • Ian Neilson, Executive Deputy Mayor of Cape Town
  • Kate O’Regan, former Constitutional Court of South Africa judge
  • Dullah Omar, South African anti-apartheid activist; lawyer; Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; minister in the South African cabinet from 1994 until his death
  • Justice Albie Sachs, of the Constitutional Court of South Africa
  • James Selfe, long-serving Member of Parliament with the Democratic Alliance; chairperson of the party’s federal council; holds a Master’s degree from UCT
  • Lady Kitty Spencer, daughter of the 9th Earl of Spencer and niece of Diana, Princess of Wales
  • Donald Woods, South African journalist and anti-apartheid activist
  • Percy Yutar, South Africa’s first Jewish attorney-general and prosecutor of Nelson Mandela in the 1963 Rivonia Treason Trial