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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.

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‘Captivating, powerful’ exhibition debuts at UFS
2016-08-29

Description: Sue Williamson exibition Tags: Sue Williamson exibition

Sue Williamson, What is this thing called freedom?, 2016 (two-channel video, 19min 25s)

A new exhibition by internationally-recognised artist, Sue Williamson, entitled No More Fairytales, was launched in the Johannes Stegmann Gallery on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) on 18 August 2016. The exhibition takes the audience on an exploration into the long-term effects of South Africa’s violent past.

No More Fairytales features two new video works. In It’s a pleasure to meet you, Candice Mama and Siyah Mgoduka—whose fathers were killed by Eugene de Kock—talk about living with loss, holding, on, and letting go. The other video, What is this thing called freedom?, draws the audience into a conversation between three generations of women in the Siwani family, who talk about the humiliations of apartheid, student unrest in the 1980s, and the recent #FeesMustFall protests.

“It’s all about opening up conversations.”

Both of these works have already been invited to participate in international exhibitions, the first of which, Un Autre Continent, opens in Le Havre, France, in September 2016. The videos will appear in 2017 in Without Drums and Trumpets—100 Years of War, also in France. The exhibition will run until 16 September 2016 at the UFS.

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Sue Williamson, It's a pleasure to meet you, 2016 (two-channel video, 25min)

“There is such an energy to this large piece of work; there is something captivating, something powerful about its vibrancy,” said Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Senior Research Professor in Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies at the UFS. The series was commissioned by Prof Gobodo-Madikizela as part of the project, ‘Trauma, Memory and Representations of the Past: Transforming Scholarship in the Humanities and the Arts’. The five-year research project is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through a grant of R10 million.

The launch of the exhibition was followed the next morning by an insightful dialogue session between Prof Gobodo-Madikizela, Mama, Mgoduka, Williamson, and the audience. “It’s all about opening up conversations and trying to bring out things that have been so painful and so hurtful in this country,” Williamson said.

 

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