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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. 

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Address by the first Inaugural President of the Central SRC
2005-08-03


 

The UFS Central SRC

Address by the first Inaugural President of the Central SRC of the University of the Free State, Mr Tello Motloung on Wednesday 3 August 2003

The Chairperson of the UFS Council, Judge Faan Hancke,
The Vice-chancellor and Rector of the UFS, Prof Frederick Fourie
The Vice-Rector Student Affairs of the UFS, Dr Ezekiel Moraka
The Presidents of the main campus SRC and the Vista campus SRC
Colleagues in the Central SRC, campus SRCs, students and fellow South Africans

Please receive my heartfelt revolutionary greetings

Vice-chancellor and rector what I bring here with me assisted by facts, is just the work of my imagination. Like a love letter addressed to a sweetheart miles away, even though you do not know how she feels, what she wants to hear, and do not even know what she looks like.

I value speech as just an honest intimation, that’s why I got into a habit of establishing a dialogue with people, looking at each other’s face, and persuading one another of what we are saying.

Vice-chancellor, today marks an important milestone in the history of the existence of the UFS. Today reflects the confidence and trust that students of the UFS have placed in us. They are confident that the Central SRC has both the will and the capacity to take our university forward as we confront the challenge of transformation.

Students are confident that they are correct to trust the Central SRC as the principal agent of change in our university that is genuinely committed to the objective of building a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic university. We need to frankly ask ourselves, as CSRC members, whether are we up to all these challenges?

All Central SRC members have to understand this fully, internalize it, and ensure that everything we do, does not betray the confidence and trust of students, or disappoint their expectations. I say this knowing that all Central SRC members have committed themselves to serve the students of the UFS, black and white, and no one among us (CSRC) needs any special lectures about this central commitment.

The UFS should be an omnibus, welcoming everybody on board. But we should be a bus with a clear direction. We will certainly lose our way if we, as an institution, don’t have a clear road map spelling out where we are heading to.

There should be clear guidelines on the role of students in the transformation process. Students should also be viewed as role players in transformation along with the University management, and not just opposing forces. There is no right time, other than this one, to move away from the politics of opposition to politics of transformation.

However, we need the support of management to do so. The University should value the role and contribution of student leaders, hear our legitimate claims and consider them as part of political and policy decision making.
     
Vice-chancellor and Rector, it remains our task to ensure that the UFS is transformed into an institution that is seen to be playing a vigilant role in developing students academically, intellectually, socially, culturally, politically and otherwise. The process of transformation is not ending tonight, it is just beginning tonight.

Judge Hancke, Prof Fourie, Dr Moraka, fellow students and fellow South Africans, I lead students at this university with a sense of pride and duty, and I know very well that I lead men and women, students who are all determined that we reach our destination safely and on time.

A navy divided within its ranks will be destroyed and vanquished by the enemy, but the navy united in purpose and action, loyalty and commitment will not sink but sail on to victory.

It is befitting to mention that every drop of my blood is telling me that the UFS is my home. I firstly became a student here, I became the SRC treasurer in my first year here, I became the deputy president here, and I became the first president of the Central SRC of the UFS.

Therefore you should never doubt my commitment towards the transformation of this university. To paraphrase what was said by students at another institution, “If there is no UFS in heaven, then I am not going.”

Let me conclude by thanking my ancestors for teaching me that even if I wined and dined with kings and queens, I am not a king myself, so I should not turn my back on people who made me what I am today.

Most importantly, I would like to thank the Almighty God and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ for giving me time and power to lead this university.

It will be theoretically irresponsible if I ended my speech without indicating that “Only a Kovsie knows the feeling”.

I thank you.

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