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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

OSM Camerata records CD with world-renowned cellist
2014-05-14

In 2010, South African cellist Heleen du Plessis, Executant lecturer for cello at the University of Otago, initiated the project “Cello for Africa”. The objective was to record a CD of new South African compositions for cello, reflecting the multi-cultural context of the country.

Du Plessis received an extensive research grant from the University of Otago in order to realise the project by commissioning, premièring and recording music. The aim was to facilitate a dialogue between Western and African musical traditions, as well as between the cello and indigenous African instruments.

Hans Huyssen, composer and cellist, has been closely involved in indigenous African music for a considerable time. In light of his extensive international experience, the SAMRO Foundation has granted Du Plessis' request to commission Huyssen to this task.

A world premiere concert preceded the recordings at the UFS’ Odeion School of Music (OSM) in March 2013, partially funded by a Humanities Research Grant as well as the OSM. This event provided a collaborative platform for musicians from different cultural backgrounds and several institutions to contribute towards a cultural and musical exchange. The funding enabled the project to successfully conclude in the recording of the CD, “Cello for Africa”. It was released by ODE records – the New Zealand label for classical music.

The OSM Camerata (OSMC) is the flagship ensemble of the OSM and was founded in 2012 with the main objective to kindle and forge the talents of exceptionally gifted students and pursue the highest artistic standards possible.

The OSMC participated in 2013 in the 13th International Conservatoire Festival hosted at the Rimsky Korsakov Conservatoire in St Petersburg, Russia. The OSMC received a standing ovation during their gala performance in the Glazonov Hall with a programme by South African composers Stefans Grové and Hendrik Hofmeyr.

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