Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa

Location: Mbabane, Swaziland
Student profile: 600 students aged 11-20
Founded: 1963 (UWC since 1981)
Visit their website: Here


Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa is a pan-African institution with a global outlook . 80% of the students are from Africa. As well as teaching the IB Diploma, the school also has younger students from Forms 1-5 (aged 11-16). This creates a particularly diverse community, encompassing a wide range of age groups, experiences and cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.


Waterford Kamhlaba was founded in 1963 in opposition to the apartheid system of education then being practised in South Africa. The school has historically played an important role in opposing oppression and advocating democracy in southern Africa and became a UWC in 1981. Since the end of the apartheid era, countries in Africa that are experiencing conflict or post-conflict conditions have become a particular focus for student recruitment, with the aim of developing leadership potential in the region.

The campus and facilities

As a developed world institution in a developing country, Waterford Kamhlaba UWC offers many opportunities for students to experience at first hand some of the paradoxes, contrasts and opportunities of the world they live in. The college buildings are attractive but deliberately modest, being located in country where 70% of people live on less than US$1 a day.

Beyond the classroom

The school’s community service programme is an integral part of the student experience, with around 25 projects that reflect the college's values: encouraging and enabling education; promoting international and cultural understanding; alleviating poverty through shared resources; providing care for those affected by Aids and HIV; and demonstrating a commitment to a sustainable future. Projects include orphan care, literacy teaching, construction of soup kitchens and other buildings for some of the most impoverished communities in Swaziland, environmental initiatives, and sports and creative learning for orphaned and vulnerable children.
Aids and HIV have had a devastating impact in Swaziland, as in so many sub-Saharan African countries, and the impact of the community service work in this context is very real.
Students are also offered a vigorous and wide-ranging programme of extra-curricular activities in the evenings and at weekends, including many student-led initiatives such as film festivals, workshops and discussions about current affairs and international issues. In sports activities, the emphasis is on participation rather than competition.