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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

Prof Tim Murithi calls for Africa to design new global order
2016-06-02

Description: Prof Tim Murithi calls for Africa to design new global order Tags: Prof Tim Murithi doen ’n oproep op Afrika om ’n nuwe wêreldorde te skep

From left: Prof Heidi Hudson, Head of Centre for Africa
Studies (CAS); Prof Tim Murithi, Extraordinary Professor
at CAS; Prof Lucius Botes, Dean of the Faculty of
the Humanities; and Prof Prakash Naidoo, Principal of
Qwaqwa Campus.
Photo: Stephen Collet

“What do Africans have to say about the remaking of the global order?” was the opening question of Prof Tim Murithi’s lecture which was hosted by the Centre for Africa Studies (CAS) of the University of the Free State (UFS) to celebrate Africa Day on 25 May 2016.

The annual Africa Day Memorial Lecture, entitled: Africa and the Remaking of the Global Order, doubled as Prof Murithi’s inaugural lecture. He is CAS’s newly-appointed Extraordinary Professor, as well as the Head of the Justice and Reconciliation in Africa Programme at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town. He made a compelling argument for the need for Africa to exert an active influence on international narratives of peace, governance, justice, and reconciliation.

“If we are waiting for American leadership to get us out of the quagmire of a situation we are in, we will be waiting for a long time,” said Prof Murithi.

The Head of the Centre, Prof Heidi Hudson, concurred with Prof Murithi’s suggestion of devising African solutions for African problems. She quoted Audre Lorde’s well-known assertion that “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

Remembering 1963
Over five decades ago, on 25 May 1963, the Organisation of African Unity was formed, and was renamed the African Union in 2002. Africa Day marks this pivotal point in the continent’s history. On this day, we reflect on the continent’s journey into democracy, peace, stability and socio-economic development. It is also an opportunity to celebrate African identity and heritage.

Continent-building dialogues
The UFS Sasol Library celebrated Africa Day with a book launch. Facets of Power. Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe's Blood Diamonds by Tinashe Nyamunda is a reflection of some of the challenges that Zimbabwe continues to face. It details the disadvantaged position which the country finds itself in due to greed, maladministration, and corruption, despite possessing large deposits of minerals.

In celebration of Africa Month, CAS has held a series of lectures by esteemed scholars from across the globe.  Earlier in the month, Prof Henning Melber presented lectures on Namibia’s independence and the African middle class. Kevin Bloom and Richard Poplak unpacked the issues surrounding Africa’s continental shift, while Prof Joleen Steyn Kotze focused on the possible fall of the African National Congress.

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