The University of the 3rd Age, Cape Town (U3A-CT) is the springboard from which all U3A activities in South Africa took off. It was launched at the millennium, and has grown by leaps and bounds, splitting itself and giving birth to offshoots along the way. Its objective is to offer stimulation and socialisation to all, primarily senior citizens, through opportunities for life-long learning in good company.
Plenary meetings are held monthly at the Baxter Theatre Complex. Here, for 20 years since 2000, audiences of 400 to 600 people are addressed by eminent speakers on currently relevant topics. More than 70 different courses at any one time are presented by voluntary leaders in various venues – members’ homes, municipal library activity rooms, public rooms of retirement villages, communal halls etc. Day excursions to cultural destinations enrich the menu, and wonderful bus tours criss-cross the country.
Many face-to-face activities had to be put on hold during Covid and were replaced by Zoom courses, regular quizzes of all sorts, and two crossword puzzles weekly. Face-to-face meetings have resumed where possible, though some that make use of visual media remain on Zoom. Such offerings are available to all U3A members in South Africa – as well as further afield.
The cost of all this mental stimulation and fun is the princely sum of R100 per annum.