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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

Award-winning photographer exhibits ravages of war, 25 May 2016 until 17 June 2016
2016-06-02

Description: Unsettled exibition Tags: Unsettled exibition

The ruins of the Dimbaza Border Industrial Park built
in the 1970s as a source of cheap labour for industrialists
and ostensible employment for Ciskei Homeland citizens.
This industrial zone collapsed after 1994.
Photo: Images courtesy of the Galerie Seippel. 
All images © Cedric Nunn

Cedric Nunn’s latest photographic exhibition, Unsettled: One Hundred Years War of Resistance by Xhosa Against Boer and British, opened on 25 May 2016 at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery of University of the Free State, and will run until 17 June 2016. Since 2014, the exhibition has travelled through South Africa and the USA as well as Germany.

The photographer, documentary film-maker, and artist’s photographic journey was launched in the early 1980s in Durban. In 2011, he won the first FNB Joburg Art Fair Award.

Narratives of the victors and the vanquished

Unsettled deals with the nine wars that Xhosa people were subjected to between 1779 and 1879 in their fight against Afrikaner and British colonial settler forces. Nunn’s art seeks to instigate social change, and highlight lesser-seen aspects of society.

The work emanated from his awareness of a notable gap in the telling of this piece of South African history, as well as the fact that, to date, little has been done to memorialise these acts of colonial aggression and Xhosa resistance. He decided to document the land where these struggles took place.

“Through revisiting this painful past in the contemporary scenes of today, this work attempts to place the present in its factual context of dispossession and conquest,” said Nunn.

Unsettled
forms the first component of what will be a trilogy. The next component will address the legacy of colonial dispossession through “bringing ‘the first inhabitants’ back into the picture by giving a select number of self-describing Khoi, Griqua, and San or Bushmen a contemporary face and presence”. The final component will look at slavery.

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