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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

The TRC legitimised apartheid - Mamdani
2010-07-20

 Prof. Mahmood Mamdani
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) accepted as legitimate the rule of law that undergirded apartheid. It defined as crime only those acts that would have been considered criminal under the laws of apartheid.”

This statement was made by the internationally acclaimed scholar, Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, when he delivered the Africa Memorial Lecture at the University of the Free State (UFS) last week on the topic: Lessons of Nuremberg and Codesa: Where do we go from here?

“According to the TRC, though crimes were committed under apartheid, apartheid itself – including the law enforced by the apartheid state – was not a crime,” he said.

He said the social justice challenges that South Africa faced today were as a result of the TRC’s failure to broaden the discussion of justice beyond political to social justice.

He said it had to go beyond “the liberal focus on bodily integrity” and acknowledge the violence that deprived the vast majority of South Africans of their means of livelihood.

“Had the TRC acknowledged pass laws and forced removals as constituting the core social violence of apartheid, as the stuff of extra-economic coercion and primitive accumulation, it would have been in a position to imagine a socio-economic order beyond a liberalised post-apartheid society,” he said.

“It would have been able to highlight the question of justice in its fullness, and not only as criminal and political, but also as social.”

He said the TRC failed to go beyond the political reconciliation achieved at Codesa and laid the foundation for a social reconciliation. “It was unable to think beyond crime and punishment,” he said.

He said it recognised as victims only individuals and not groups, and human rights violations only as violations of “the bodily integrity of an individual”; that is, only torture and murder.

“How could this be when apartheid was brazenly an ideology of group oppression and appropriation? How could the TRC make a clear-cut distinction between violence against persons and that against property when most group violence under apartheid constituted extra-economic coercion, in other words, it was against both person and property?”, he asked.

“The TRC was credible as performance, as theatre, but failed as a social project”.

Prof. Mamdani is the Director of the Institute of Social Research at the Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda; and the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government in the Department of Anthropology at the Columbia University in New York, USA.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
20 July 2010
 

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