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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

2010 World Cup: An opportunity for nation-building
2010-05-11

Pictured from the left, front are: Prof. Labuschagne and Prof. Cornelissen. Back: Prof. Kersting, Prof. Teuns Verschoor (Acting Senior Vice-Rector: UFS) and Dr Ralf Hermann (DAAD).
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

“The 2010 FIFA World Cup creates a window of opportunity for nation-building in South Africa that could even surpass the opportunity created by the 1995 Rugby World Cup.”

This was according to Prof. Pieter Labuschagne from the University of South Africa, who was one of the three speakers during the lecture series on soccer that were recently presented by the Faculty of the Humanities at the University of the Free State (UFS), in conjunction with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), under the theme: Soccer and Nation Building.

Prof. Labuschagne delivered a paper on the topic, The 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa: Nation Building or White Apathy?, highlighting the critical issue of how sport in South Africa was still largely supported along racial lines.

“We are still enforcing the separateness of rugby as a sport for whites and soccer as a sport for blacks,” he said.

He said a high degree of animosity against soccer existed among whites because they felt rugby and cricket were being singled out by parliament as far as transformation was concerned. He said that could be the reason why a large number of South African whites still supported soccer teams from foreign countries instead of local Premier Soccer League teams.

“Bridging social context between different racial groups is still a major problem, even though patriotism is comparatively high in South Africa,” added Prof. Norbert Kersting from the University of Stellenbosch, who also presented a paper on World Cup 2010 and nation building from Germany to South Africa, drawing critical comparisons on issues of national pride and identity between the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the 2010 World Cup.

“Strong leadership is needed to utilize the opportunity provided by the 2010 World Cup to build national unity as former President Nelson Mandela did with the Rugby World Cup in 1995,” said Prof. Labuschagne.

Although acknowledging the power of sport as a unifying force, Prof. Scarlett Cornelissen, also from the University of Stellenbosch, said that, since 1995, the captivating power of sport had been used to achieve political aims and that the 2010 World Cup was no different.

Amongst the reasons she advanced for her argument were that the 2010 World Cup was meant to show the world that South Africa was a capable country; that the World Cup was meant to solidify South Africa’s “African Agenda” – the African Renaissance - and also to extend the idea of the Rainbow Nation; consolidate democracy; contribute to socio-economic development and legitimize the state.

“We should not place too much emphasis on the 2010 World Cup as a nation-building instrument,” she concluded.

She presented a paper on the topic Transforming the Nation? The political legacies of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The aim of the lecture series was to inspire public debate on the social and cultural dimensions of soccer.

DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst) is one of the world’s largest and most respected intermediary organisations in the field of international academic cooperation.
Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
11 May 2010
 

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