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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

Literacy Month fosters the love of reading
2017-09-19

Description: Literacy Month fosters the love of reading Tags: Literacy Month fosters the love of reading 

Vutivi Baloyi author of Keep Hoping with Neo Kgoroba
one of the co-authors of In Our Own Words.


Literacy Month is celebrated in September each year at the University of the Free State (UFS) with various activities that are academic and community related and aim to join different departments in collaborative efforts to carry forward an awareness of literacy and the joy of reading among learners. The UFS Sasol Library lined up a series of events to celebrate the month, one of them being the launch of two books on 14 September 2017.

Vutivi Baloyi is a UFS student who wrote a collection of poems at the age of 17 which were recently published in a book called Keep Hoping. The book was launched alongside In Our Own Words, a collection of narratives written by UFS students about university life and transitioning from township high schools to a different culture, society and community, and the challenges with which they are faced.

In their own words, they share incredible experiences
The launch was attended by learners from Christian Liphoko High School in Thaba Nchu as well as Moroka High School and others. The compilation of narratives by UFS students was done under the auspices of Prof Merridy Wilson-Strydom through the Enabling Success project in the Centre for Research in Higher Education. Prof Wilson-Strydom said the project, supported by the National Research Foundation, was a profound way of empowering students by bringing out the value of the stories of their life on campus as they saw them, with each student writing a chapter on a specific theme.

Students as change agents and community builders
The student authors spoke to their audience from the heart, sharing words of advice, especially to younger learners who are still in high school. This has sparked a desire for the beginning of collaborative programmes between the individual university students and high school learners who hail from Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu, highlighting the need for mentorship, life skills, academic improvement and an opportunity to give back. 

The event is also part of the ongoing Launch Your Own Book project that has grown in 2017 at the UFS Library under the leadership of Mr Marcus Maphile, Assistant Director: Library Marketing and Community Engagement. Literacy Month will be celebrated with more events in September such as a round-table discussion in collaboration with the Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association of South Africa (ANSAFA) on 20 September 2017 at the library, to discuss developing authors and the role of ANSAFA. More activities will include outreach and community engagement, with a visit to Christian Liphoko High School in Thaba Nchu on 21 September 2017.

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