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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 Essop twins bring ‘UNREST’ to the UFS
2015-03-19

 

UNREST, an exhibition by Hasan and Husain Essop, is now at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery in the SASOL Library on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. It will be on until Thursday 2 April 2015. 

The 28-year-old twin brothers are the winners of the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art. Born and raised in Cape Town, they have been collaborating since their graduation from the Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2007. They both completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Art at Michaelis. Subsequently, they earned Postgraduate Certificates in Education at the University of Cape Town.

Husain specialised in Photography, and makes all the important technical decisions when setting up a shoot. Hasan specialised in Printmaking, and therefore has a lot more freedom in the post-production and printing of the work. They both contribute to the subject matter and editing of the photographs, always discussing new ideas and locations to shoot. They speak very visually to each other, and many ideas are born from their conversations. They draw on popular culture, the media, and Hollywood as inspiration because those are the things that interest the youth and shape the next generation.

“Our series of works highlight a multi-cultural clash between religion and popular cultures,” say the Essops. “We explore the dominating influence of Western theatrics and those narratives that are constructed to depict a certain reality. Inspired by Hollywood’s visual language and tactics, we create our own narratives. Each photograph reflects us in a battle of moral, religious, and cultural conflicts. Two dominant personalities appear, East and West, with all their stereotypes. Environments are chosen as stages on which to perform and define our behaviours.”

The Essops’ work has been included in various private and public collections, including the Spier Collection, the Durban Art Gallery, and the South African National Gallery. The Goodman Gallery has hosted two solo exhibitions of their work – Halaal Art (Johannesburg, 2010,) and Remembrance (Cape Town, 2012,).

The Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery hours are Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 16:30.

For enquiries, contact Angela de Jesus at +27(0)51 401 2706 or DeJesusAV@ufs.ac.za

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