The University of the Third Age (U3A) was founded in France in 1972 and established in South Africa in Cape Town in 2000. The Port Elizabeth branch was started by Sandy Boreham four years later with a current membership of around 200. Presently there are over 30 branches in SA. Contrary to the name an academic qualification is not required to become a member. The first age being youth with formal education; the second being employed and economically active with family responsibilities; and the third age at retirement when having more time for self-development.
The principles on which U3A are built are:
- To refute the idea of intellectual decline with age
- To recognise immense resources of skills, experience and enthusiasm in retired people
- To be open for membership to all irrespective of religion, culture, race or education
- To encourage members to share knowledge and enthusiasm with others.