INTRODUCING THE UNIVERSITY OF THE THIRD AGE IN
WHAT IS U3A?
U3A (University of the Third Age) is a learning co-operative for 'third agers'. It is committed to providing life-long opportunities for people no longer in full-time employment. It contradicts the view that there is inevitably an intellectual decline with age - in many countries in which it flourishes, third agers show remarkable ability to organize and create exciting teaching and learning experiences. The word 'university' is used in its original sense meaning a corporation of persons devoted to study. There are no entry requirements or examinations at U3A - fellowship and the love of learning are the only essentials.
THE HISTORY OF U3A
U3A began in France in 1972. Since then it has spread to the UK, with branches in most English cities and towns. Australia too is one of the many countries which has a thriving U3A. The South African chapter was launched in Cape Town in February 2000 and in Johannesburg in July 2001. By 2006 the Johannesburg branch had become so large that the Joburg East branch was formed in 2007. There are reciprocal arrangements with Jo'burg East, giving both sets of members access to each others' activities. Today there are U3A's in several South Africa's urban centres. Each branch is autonomous but we keep in touch through the exchange of information.
HOW WE OPERATE
We are a voluntary non-profit making organization - none of our course leaders, nor administration persons, are paid for their services. All course activities are held during the day and take place mostly in the homes of group leaders. Each course finds its own way of operating - however there is a strong emphasis on participation and involvement. Course leaders are a mix of retired academics and enthusiastic amateurs who enjoy sharing their knowledge and skills with others. Some of our courses have been running for years, others take place over shorter periods with topics including art appreciation, literature, music, creative writing, film studies, language courses, bridge, tours and visits to places of interest. There usually are around 40 courses running in Johannesburg.
In addition to these, ther is a general meeting on the third tuesday of each month at the Rosebank Union Church in Hurlingham. A guest speaker is invited to address us, and over the years we have had a wide variety of stimulating talks. These meetings also give us aopportunity to meet each other. A committee of volunteers meets monthly to administer the affairs of U3A, and reports back regularly to members through newsletters, email and at the general meetings.
U3A charges an annual membership fee of R40. Members also pay R5 for tea at each course meeting. Of this R4 reimburses the host or hostess for simple refreshments and R1 is a contribution to U3A funds to meet the expenses of hall hire, printing and postages. These sums are likely to increase with rising costs but we try to keep our expenditure as low as possible so that U3A remains accessible to everyone.
If you would like to join:
Phone Maureen at 011-883-1494
Marcia at 011-880-7174
Visit our website: www.u3a.org.za
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