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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

Mafuma aims at elusive tournament victory with Junior Springboks
2016-06-03

Description: Mafuma Tags: Mafuma

The University of the Free State’s Mosolwa Mafuma
recently scored five tries in the Junior Springboks’
three practice matches against a Golden Lions U20
invitation team, a Maties team, and the
South Western Districts. Photo: SASPA

He has never won a rugby tournament, so Mosolwa Mafuma has only one goal: to win the Junior World Cup as Junior Springbok in England.

Even though the 20-year-old Shimlas wing has achieved success, and it is pleasing to excel individually, he believes it is more satisfying when his team triumphs. According to Mafuma, who could just as well be an athletics star, he wants to help the South African U20 team take a different approach.

He and the prop Kwenzo Blose are players from the University of the Free State who will represent the Junior Springboks from 7 to 25 June 2016 in Manchester. The team will play the first of three group matches on 7 June 2016 against Japan in the Academy Stadium.

New approach for SA U20 team
Mafuma, who was Player of the Tournament in his first Varsity Cup in 2016, says the Junior Springboks are well prepared. “We have the skills, and the structures at the Junior Springboks are different than before. There is not just one game plan like playing with big guys. We want to try new things and have a different approach.”

It is with this team that he wishes to achieve something. “It is one thing to be able to say that you are the Player of a Tournament, but your team did not win. I have not won something at school (with St. Benedict’s Boys College in Johannesburg) or this year with the Shimlas.”

Speedster on athletics track
The speedster is one of only a few rugby players who also have a profile on the IAAF website. His fastest time in the 100 m is 10.37 seconds (a national U17 record) and 20.37 s in the 200 m.

In high school, this first-year Psychology student played rugby during winter and took part in athletics during summer. Only at the end of Grade 11 did he started focusing on rugby. “I was more of an athlete than a rugby player,” he says.

It is no coincidence that the nickname he acquired due to his speed, is Dash. His other nickname, Senkie (derived from the Afrikaans word ‘seuntjie’) he received as a child from his parents because he was such a small child.

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