The University of Zululand is one of the South African institutions founded on the ideologies of racial and ethnic segregation and was meant to consolidate the creation of homelands. Designated to serve the Zulu-speaking population, the University of Zululand was established in the village of KwaDlangezwa, under the Mkhwanazi traditional authority. Like most black universities in the country, it was envisioned as a training institution for the homeland labour force. This paper examines the post-apartheid relationship between the University of Zululand and the key local stakeholders, namely the traditional leadership, the municipalities, and the Mkhwanazi community. The paper uses qualitative methods, mainly interviews, to examine the town-gown relationships. As an academic enterprise, the university provides opportunities for teaching and learning, research, and employment on the one hand, and on the other hand, the village provides off-campus accommodation for both students and staff. Notably, numerous opportunities for community engagement exist. However, this paper argues that even though the university is conspicuous in the village and opportunities for engagement exist, it remains disconnected from its immediate surroundings, and efforts to build formal relationships with various stakeholders are rather torpid. The disconnections were noticeable during the February 2018 Mkhwanazi community protest and the September 2019 off-campus student protests. Both protests highlighted the university's fragmented relationships with local governance actors. There is an urgent need for robust engagement between the university and the local governance actors in order to achieve congruence. Thus, the reconfiguration of relationships between the university and the locals is an essential ingredient for future endeavours.
Mots clés : protests|relationships|community|students|traditional leadership