consists of groups of people who come together to share knowledge,
skills and experience in an informal association of their own design.
Small groups of members congregate in private homes to study and
discuss a particular subject under the guidance of a course leader.
Workshops, group outings and general meetings are also popular.
Membership is open to all, irrespective of race, religion, politics or
economic circumstances. The organisation aims to serve those no longer in full time employment - the 'Third Age' of our title.
Most course activities are held during the daytime on weekdays, a time slot that suits retired people. Each course seems to find its own syllabus and way of operating, by common consensus. However, there is a strong emphasis on participation and involvement, although no marks or certificates are awarded. At U3A, learning is for pleasure. No qualifications are required for admission and none are given, since fellowship and love of learning are the essential features here.
SA U3As typically charge an annual membership fee from around R 40 ( but occasionally somewhat higher) . This permits attendance at as many courses as one wishes. Courses are normally held in members’ homes. Course fees are typically a few rand per session, plus refreshments, travel, photocopies etc. at cost.
Monthly general meetings, addressed by eminent speakers on a wide range of interesting subjects, are often free to both members and their guests.