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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

Biggest Bloemfontein art project comes to life
2016-07-11

Description: It’s My City Giraffe Tags: It’s My City Giraffe

Three sculptures in different places
in Bloemfontein will form part of
It’s My City, a large-scale public art
project from 8 to 16 July 2016
alongside the Vrystaat Arts Festival.
Photo: Xany Jansen van Vuuren

One of the biggest art projects Bloemfontein has ever seen. That is how Angela de Jesus, curator of the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery at the University of the Free State (UFS), describes It’s My City. And the large-scale public art project involves the community of Bloemfontein/Mangaung’s participation.

The artwork, conceived by British artist, Alex Rinsler, will be on display from 8 to 16 July 2016, alongside the Vrystaat Arts Festival. Three sculptures, a Baby Giraffe, Mother Tree and Toy Windmill, each about 7.5 metres, will appear in Hoffman Square, Mapikela Square in Batho location, and on the Red Square of the UFS Bloemfontein Campus respectively.

Many from around the city included


Local lead artists – Marius Jansen van Vuuren (Baby Giraffe), Tshiamo Art and Crafts Development (Mother Tree), and Minè Kleynhans (Toy Windmill) – expressed their relationship to the city. According to De Jesus, the project includes “six artists; more than 20 job opportunities were created; and there were skills transfer for many more. Over 50 volunteers, 100 professionals, and hopefully thousands will take part.” It’s My City is the signature 2016 project of the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development, a partnership between the UFS and the festival, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the municipality of Mangaung.

People can connect in positive way

“What most excites me is that this work will create imagery that loads of people can connect with in a positive way, and write a new story,” says Rinsler. According to the public artist and cultural producer, people are invited to visit the sculptures, write down their wishes for the city and those they love, and add them to complete the artworks.

Sculptures meet each other at ceremony

On 16 July 2016, the sculptures will be led by three processions, convening at the Macufe village (corner of Elizabeth and Markgraaff streets). At 17:30, a short ceremony, free to attend, will follow where they will be dismantled in spectacular fashion, with graceful fire and pyrotechnics, and so bringing together many people’s wishes as one.

Photo Gallery
For more information visit the It's My City website
Click here for a press release about the project



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