08 September 2021 | Story Mr Temba Hlasho | Photo Sonia Small (Kaleidoscope Studios)
Temba Hlasho is the Exective Director: Student Affairs at the UFS.

Dear Students 

I trust that you are well and safe.

I am Mr Temba Hlasho, your newly appointed Executive Director: Student Affairs, and I am honoured to be of service to you.  The Department of Student Affairs wishes all the students a productive and academically friendly September. My goal is to build an engaging and open-dialogue relationship with student bodies to better understand their plight, which will then be used as a leveller for enhanced, positive working partnerships with colleagues in finding effective student solutions. And as you may already know, the Division of Student Affairs is often a good place to start when you cannot figure out what to do, where to go, who to ask, or are simply in need of a soundboard. 

As you continue with your final semester, I would like to remind you that my office is at your disposal to ensure the provision of social support, as well as co-curricular and extra-curricular activities aimed at enhancing your chances of academic success. Student Affairs service units are readily available to assist you in reaching your full potential inside and outside the lecture room. Please remember to visit our webpage for more information on our support services.  
On 19 August 2021, the South African Cabinet approved the vaccination of people between the ages of 18 and 35.  This milestone provides an opportunity for all students within the approved age categories to go out there and get vaccinated for your safety, health, and well-being.  During these uncertain times and a ‘new normal epoch’, I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity and get vaccinated for your own safety and consideration for others.

My sincere gratitude to all students who participated in our virtual Student Affairs Week that unfolded during August; I encourage you to continue participating in our upcoming events.  Due to COVID-19 protocols, these activities will be held virtually: 

• The Institutional Student Governance Office’s (SGO) SRC elections are currently underway. On 15  September 2021, election campaigning will commence; all information related to the elections may be accessed here.

• Student Counselling and Development (SCD) will be hosting a World Suicide Prevention webinar, titled Suicide Awareness Day on 10 September 2021. SCD will also be hosting various webinars on Blackboard throughout the semester. 

• The Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) is commemorating 20 (twenty) years; activities of this celebration will be on the university’s website from 3 September 2021. 

September marks the annual Heritage Day in South Africa, and I invite you to embrace and recognise South African culture as the best means to showcase your cultural identities.  Over the past two decades, there has been a renewed focus on the preservation of the intangible cultural heritage (ICH). ICH manifests itself in the form of oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; performing arts; social practices, rituals, and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe.

The global ICH crisis involves the indigenous loss of language experienced in several parts of the world, including South Arica. In passing down cultural heritage, language – among other aspects – is an integral part. As students of higher education institutions, particularly the University of the Free State, I challenge you to develop and implement creative and innovative ways of protecting and preserving the ICH. Our Arts and Culture Office is readily available to aid you in this regard. 

Hearty congratulations to the UFS Kovsie Netball Team on being crowned the 2021 Varsity Netball champions. As the UFS community, we are extremely proud of this achievement by the netball players and the technical team. 
I wish you all the very best for this semester. Please stay safe, wear a mask, wash your hands, sanitise, and practise social distancing.  Most importantly, stay away from crowded public spaces as far as it is practically possible. 

TS Hlasho
Executive Director: Student Affairs

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