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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

A tale of many cities – new dictionary of place names reveals our heritage
2015-01-28

 

‘The Dictionary of Southern African Place Names’ provides not only the answers, but also gives insight into how our places and our people were shaped. Penned by three academics from the University of the Free State (UFS), it is the fourth edition of this fascinating book.

Prof Peter Raper from the UFS Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment, together with his colleagues Prof Theodorus du Plessis and Dr Lucie Möller, created more than a reference book. They provide the reader with deeper understanding of events, our heroes, beliefs, values, fears and aspirations.

Jonathan Ball Publishers describes the book as “the most comprehensive glossary of Southern African towns, villages, railway stations, mountains, rivers and beaches. The 9 000 short entries incorporate data from sources dating as far back as 1486, encapsulating the linguistic and cultural heritage of all the peoples of the subcontinent, past and present.”

And what would the origin of the name Bloemfontein be?

This dictionary provides the following answer.

“Capital city of the Free State and judicial capital of South Africa. It was established in 1846 by Major HD Warden at a fountain on the farm Bloemfontein, originally owned by a Griqua, Mauritz Pretorius. It has been claimed to have been named after a person with the surname Bloem, or in honour of the Khoikhoi chief Jan Bloem, or after an ox with this name. Probably, however, it was named after flowers growing at the fountain, from Dutch bloem, ‘flower’, fonteijn, ‘spring’. The name is thought to be a translation from a Bushman name of which Mangaung is the Sotho adaptation; ma- is the Sotho plural prefix or class marker; the component ngau is comparable to the Bushman word //au, ‘flower’, and the final ng is cognate with the locative demonstrative ?, ‘that (one) there’. Bloemfontein attained municipal status in 1880.”




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