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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

Free State University Choir wins competition in Prague
2009-12-15

This past weekend, the Free State University Choir, under the directorship of Mr Corné van Pletzen, won the Christmas Music Festival Competition in Prague in the Czech Republic. 25 choirs from amongst others Spain, Hungary, Slovakia and Russia also participated in the competition.

It is the first time in the 10 years that the Christmas Music Festival Competition is presented that an overall winner of the festival and the competition was announced.

The choir originally only participated in the festival part of the Christmas Music Festival. Later, at the end of the competition, they were asked by the judges to prepare a song for the prize-giving ceremony, not knowing that the judges were judging them for the competition.

Mr Van Pletzen said, “Finally, after all prizes had been handed out, a trumpet fanfare announced the Free State University Choir as the overall winner of the competition. Our choir was also requested to close the competition with a song; that we did, whereupon our students sang the National Anthem with pride and with tears in their eyes.

The choir’s presentation was unique as they included a great variety of songs in their programme, amongst others some of Mr Van Pletzen’s own compositions and a song from Africa, Wana Baraka.

According to Mr Van Pletzen, six of the choirs obtained more than 90% during the competition. The Free State University Choir was however overwhelmed with positive feedback on the standard of their presentation from the audience, other participating choirs as well as the judges.

Most of the 38 choir members have already been members of this choir for three years now and this is the third time that most of them are singing overseas.

They will bring home a beautiful glass trophy.


Mr Corné van Pletzen.

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