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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

Second book by UFS alumnus celebrates his mother
2016-06-06


Twice an author: Ace Moloi,
author of Holding My Breath.
Photo: Eugene Seegers

Ace Moloi, author of Holding My Breath, describes his memoir as a graveside conversation with his late mother. In the book, he lays bare the intimate details of his life from childhood to his journey as a student at the University of the Free State (UFS).

“It is a letter to my mother that I wrote to celebrate her but also to tell my story. So you will find that it speaks about the strength of motherhood and at the same time it talks about the life struggles of a young black South African,” said the second time author.

The UFS alumnus’ first book - a fable entitled In Her Fall Rose a Nation - was published in 2013 while he was still a final-year Communication Science student at the university. Moloi’s second volume was launched on 3 June 2016 at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Growing up in the small village of Sekgutlong in Qwaqwa, Moloi dreamt of being many things - a radio presenter, a soccer player, and a writer. The writer in him soon took precedence over the sportsman and radio anchor. Because his mother did not live to see her son reach his many milestones, Moloi has dedicated Holding My Breath to her memory and as a belated Mother’s Day present.

Moloi’s writing accomplishments include winning the Young Writers SOMAFCO (Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College) Trust National Essay-Writing Competition in 2012, being selected as a runner-up in the Beyers Naudé essay writing competition in the same year, and being nominated for the Top 10 Human Rights Desk Essay Competition in 2014. Now he can add being published by BlackBird Books, an imprint of Jacana Media.

The young author said to have been “humbled” by the reception his book received at its official launch on 1 May 2016 at the Kingsmead Book Fair in Johannesburg.

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