Public participation process regarding MT Steyn statue resumes

8 July 2018

The University of the Free State (UFS) has launched a public participation process regarding the MT Steyn statue. The process, which will resume on Monday 9 July 2018, is part of the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) required by the Free State Provincial Heritage Resource Authority (FSPHRA) and will assist in keeping the statue topical while its current position in front of the Main Building on the Bloemfontein Campus is under review.

To contribute to the purpose of keeping the statue topical and to demonstrate the start of the public participation process, an exhibition consisting of a reflective triangular column has been erected in front of the statue to effectively edit the statue out of its power position if viewed from the east along the main axis from the City of Bloemfontein. To elevate engagement and solicit comments from the university community, visitors to the campus, and other interested parties, the following set of questions appear on the smooth boards of the reflective column, each linked to its own unique QR code:

  • Who was President Marthinus Theunis Steyn?
  • Why is this statue standing here?
  • How is the statue connected to the UFS?
  • Is this statue still relevant in the current socio-political context?
  • What is the challenge of the statue’s current position, particularly its prominence in the transforming socio-political milieu?
  • Should the statue stay where it is, and if not, what alternative space will serve the MT Steyn statue’s heritage narrative best?
  • What was the role of MT Steyn in the South African War?
  • Why does your opinion matter? How does participating in this consultation process make you feel?

Other components include a suggestion box for depositing comments on the position of the statue, and a group of encircling concrete benches. The exhibition was commissioned by the special task team appointed by Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, to facilitate the review of the current position of the statue.

The public participation process will continue until 9 September 2018 and will include opportunities for members of the university community and the public to make oral submissions regarding the position of the statue. The consultation process specifically addresses the removal, relocation, reinterpretation, and retaining of the statue.

Once the public participation process is concluded, all submissions will be analysed, incorporated into the HIA, and the heritage consultant responsible for the HIA will make recommendations to the university management on the action that will best serve the statue's heritage significance.

More information about the HIA is available at: http://bit.ly/mtshia

Comments about the position of the statue can be sent to news@ufs.ac.za. This includes submissions to address the questions on the reflective column in front of the statue.

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Marketing)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

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