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02 May 2018 Photo Charl Devenish
South Campus UAP celebrates 27 years of access to education
Mr Francois Marais, Prof Kalie Strydom, Prof Daniella Coetzee (South Campus Principal), Prof Francis Petersen, Dr Nthabeleng Rammile (Vice-Chairperson of the UFS Council), and Dr Khotso Mokhele (Chancellor of the UFS).

More than 27 years ago, international funding from the Human Sciences Research Council and Anglo American was put to an unusual use for that time. Prof Kalie Strydom’s research unit at the University of the Free State (UFS) was tasked with reviewing how institutional missions would change in the new South Africa. Prof Strydom worked closely with surrounding communities in Bloemfontein to develop a bridging course which would help students who showed potential to access tertiary education, although they did not meet the requirements. His vision brought to birth the University Access Programme (UAP), as it is known today, which is hosted on the UFS South Campus, and is still providing unique access to higher-education institutions in South Africa.

People with a passion for human development
March 2018 saw the 27th anniversary of this remarkable initiative, which has given a second chance to over 18 000 students. Special guests at the event included Prof Strydom, Mr Francois Marais, and representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training and Investec’s corporate social investment office.

Dr Sonja Loots, researcher in the UFS Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), singled out two key individuals in the formation of the UAP: Prof Kalie Strydom, who initiated the programme, and Mr Marais, who has been Director of the UAP since its inception. Dr Loots highlighted one of the driving forces behind Prof Strydom’s perseverance, vision, and determination with the UAP by quoting from an interview with him for an upcoming book on student access and success. He said, “It was a decision based on principle … to be part of the solution to a better country.”

Access and success still an issue today
In his presentation on the “Importance of Access”, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, pointed out the vital role of access in South Africa, especially the value it offers for the betterment of the country’s people. However, he said that student success is also an issue, and institutions need to be accountable for it. Quoting Prof John Martin of the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Engineering, “We must be flexible on access, but robust on success.” Only by “closing the loop” in this way, can the UFS and other higher-education institutions ensure a valuable contribution to the economy of the country.

News Archive

The TRC legitimised apartheid - Mamdani
2010-07-20

 Prof. Mahmood Mamdani
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) accepted as legitimate the rule of law that undergirded apartheid. It defined as crime only those acts that would have been considered criminal under the laws of apartheid.”

This statement was made by the internationally acclaimed scholar, Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, when he delivered the Africa Memorial Lecture at the University of the Free State (UFS) last week on the topic: Lessons of Nuremberg and Codesa: Where do we go from here?

“According to the TRC, though crimes were committed under apartheid, apartheid itself – including the law enforced by the apartheid state – was not a crime,” he said.

He said the social justice challenges that South Africa faced today were as a result of the TRC’s failure to broaden the discussion of justice beyond political to social justice.

He said it had to go beyond “the liberal focus on bodily integrity” and acknowledge the violence that deprived the vast majority of South Africans of their means of livelihood.

“Had the TRC acknowledged pass laws and forced removals as constituting the core social violence of apartheid, as the stuff of extra-economic coercion and primitive accumulation, it would have been in a position to imagine a socio-economic order beyond a liberalised post-apartheid society,” he said.

“It would have been able to highlight the question of justice in its fullness, and not only as criminal and political, but also as social.”

He said the TRC failed to go beyond the political reconciliation achieved at Codesa and laid the foundation for a social reconciliation. “It was unable to think beyond crime and punishment,” he said.

He said it recognised as victims only individuals and not groups, and human rights violations only as violations of “the bodily integrity of an individual”; that is, only torture and murder.

“How could this be when apartheid was brazenly an ideology of group oppression and appropriation? How could the TRC make a clear-cut distinction between violence against persons and that against property when most group violence under apartheid constituted extra-economic coercion, in other words, it was against both person and property?”, he asked.

“The TRC was credible as performance, as theatre, but failed as a social project”.

Prof. Mamdani is the Director of the Institute of Social Research at the Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda; and the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government in the Department of Anthropology at the Columbia University in New York, USA.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
20 July 2010
 

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