Graph Theory is a modern area of mathematics whose explosive growth in the past 70 years can be attributed to its wide range of applications, foremost in computer science and information technology. This focus area is at the heart of an innovation, which has promoted the information society arguably more than any other innovation: the search engine Google, whose success is a result of a novel use of graph theoretic methods. Graph Theory is also important for the development of algorithms for the routing of cellphone calls, which are vital for the functioning of communication in the South African society.
As a research area, Graph Theory has been very active. Presently, nine South African universities have research groups or individuals engaged in research in graph theory and closely related areas: Stellenbosch University, University of Johannesburg, University of the Witwatersrand, University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, University of the Free State, Rhodes University, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Pretoria. The combined total research output of these graph theorists is considerable, MathSciNet lists a total of well over 1000 publications under classification 05C (graph theory) written by authors with a South African affiliation, with 69 publications in 2018 alone.