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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

'Structures of Dominion and Democracy' by David Goldblatt at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery
2015-08-03

Photograph by David Goldblatt, On August 16 2012 South African Police shot striking mineworkers of the Lonmin platinum mines, killing 34 and wounding 78 within a radius of 350 metres of this koppie, where the men used to meet. Seventeen of the men, seeking shelter among boulders from police fire, were shot with seemingly lethal intent, some with their hands up in surrender, none were given medical assistance for their wounds. Beyond is the Lonmin smelter, which stood idle during the strike. Marikana, North-West Province, 11 May 2014.

The University of the Free State, in partnership with the Goodman Gallery, presents the exhibition, 'Structures of Dominion and Democracy', by renowned South African photographer David Goldblatt.  

This exhibition, which runs from 13 July to 7 August 2015 on the Bloemfontein Campus, is dedicated to the series, “Structures”, one of the major bodies of works by Goldblatt.  For over three decades, Goldblatt has travelled South Africa, photographing sites and structures weighted with historical narrative: monuments, private, religious and secular, which reveal something about the people who built them.  These sites allow us a glimpse into the everyday. Each place is a repository, a landscape containing an epic story that has involved whole communities: the experience sometimes told through the memorialising of remarkable individuals.

The exhibition, Structures of Dominion and Democracy, traverses two distinct eras in South Africa history. As Goldblatt explains: "Over the years, I have photographed South African structures, which I found eloquent, of the dominion which Whites gradually came to exert over all of South Africa and its peoples.  That time of domination began in 1660 when Jan van Riebeeck ordered a cordon to be erected of blockhouses and barriers that would exclude the indigenous population from access to the first European settlement in South Africa and its herds, lands, water, and grazing.  The time of domination ended on the 2nd of February 1990, when, on behalf of the government and the Whites of South Africa, President FW de Klerk effectively abdicated from power.  Beginning in 1999 and continuing to the present, I have photographed some structures that are eloquent of our still nascent democracy.  In the belief that, in what we build we express much about what we value, I have looked at South African structures as declarations of our value systems, our ethos.”

Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, UFS Sasol Library
University of the Free State
206 Nelson Mandela Ave
Bloemfontein

Gallery hours:  
Monday to Friday 08:30 – 16:30

Entrance: Free
Enquiries: 051 401 2706, dejesusav@ufs.ac.za

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