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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

Odeion School of Music Camerata to perform in Russia
2013-07-31

 

31 July 2013

OSM CAMERATA "Die Spokewals" by Hendrik Hofmeyr under the baton of Jan Moritz Onken (YouTube)

After a successful audition, the Odeion School of Music Camerata (OSMC) received an invitation to participate in the 13th International Conservatory Festival which will take place in St Petersburg, Russia, from 1 to 9 November 2013. The festival is a yearly highlight on the concert calendar of the prestigious Rimsky Korsakov Conservatoire.

The artistic panel of the festival, under the leadership of Prof Lydia Volchek, annually selects ten international conservatories to gather in St Petersburg for the festival. Some of the participants include the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire: Moscow, Conservatoire de Paris, Eastman School of Music NY and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki Finland. According to the Rector of the Rimsky Korsakov Conservatoire, Prof Mikhail Gantvarg, it will be the first ever school of music hailing from Africa to participate in the festival.

The OSMC was requested to give two recitals of 40 minutes each during the festival. Maestro Jan Moritz Onken (Chief Conductor of the OSMC for 2013) will lead the ensemble to St Petersburg. OSMC members will have the opportunity to attend all concerts presented by fellow participants as well as masters’ classes presented by the masters of St Petersburg Conservatoire.

The festival is usually opened and closed with a grand concert presented by the St Petersburg Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra (70 plus members). Last year the opening concert was conducted by the celebrated master, Valery Gergiev (artistic director of the Mariinsky Opera and Symphony Orchestra), while the closing ceremony was conducted by Semyon Bychkov – reciting the Leningrad Symphony by Shostakovich. Both Gergiev and Bychkov are alumni of the St Petersburg Conservatoire.

All recitals at the festival will be presented in the Opera and Theatre Hall of the Conservatoire, as well as in the acclaimed Glazunov Concert Hall located within the colossal conservatory building.

The OSMC will recite a programme of mainly South African composers, with two new works commissioned by the OSM New Music Initiative. These were written by the prolific South African composer, Hendrik Hofmeyr: laureate of the Queen Elizabeth International Composition Competition, entitled Spokewals / Phantom Waltz and Notturno Elegiaco. Spokewals / Phantom Waltz is a challenging work where musicians simultaneously play, sing and speak.

A reworked edition for chamber orchestra of the original string quartet for piano and soprano, Liedere op Boesman-verse, by revered South African composer, Stefans Grové, will also be performed. To commemorate the centenary of composer Benjamin Britten this year, Cantus in Memoriam of Benjamin Britten by Arvo Pärt is also included in the programme.

After participating at the festival in St Petersburg, the ensemble will depart for a two-day visit to Moscow where the OSMC will perform an ’All South African’ programme.

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