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The Unie-debatsvereniging ("Union Debating Society" - the Dutch/Afrikaans name sometimes written Unie Debatsvereniging) at the University of Stellenbosch was an influential cultural institution in South Africa.

Originally founded under the leadership of W.J. Viljoen, professor in Dutch, as a counter to the growing Afrikaans movement, to ensure the continued existence of Dutch in the country. It included the performance of theatrical work in its programmes. When he left (1910) the society changed character, expanding its cultural role and even performing pieces in English and Afrikaans. It had its own toneelafdeling ("drama section") led by a drama director and served by a drama committee. In the 1920s the drama director was Louis Steenkamp and his committee consisted of C.Beyers, A. Murray, Anna Pohl and P. Booysen. They were supported by a werkkomitee ("working committee") made up of J. van Staden, J.Keyter, A. Beyleveld, D. Retief, P. Murray and C. Beyers (as public relations officer). In this period J.F.W. Grosskopf (now a professor at the University) began playing a leading role, directing several Afrikaans plays. They utilized a variety of venues in Stellenbosch for their productions, including De Recreations Zaal ("The Recreation Hall"), * . Some productions were also taken to Cape Town and surrounding towns. Among their productions over the years were ***, Lentewolken ("Spring Clouds") by Herman Roelvink (1925), Koringboere ("Wheat Farmers") by D.F. Malherbe (1926), Op die regte oomblik ("At the right moment") - a French farce, translated by M.J. Steensma (1926), The Master Builder by Ibsen (directed in English by C. de Villiers, 1926), Candida by G.B. Shaw (1927), * It was later known as the the Universiteit van Stellenbosch Debatsvereniging. See also University of Stellenbosch Student Theatre.


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