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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

UFS mourns the death of a great linguist and educationalist
2012-08-29

He was one of the founders of the National Liberation Front. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit sabotage in 1964 and was sent to Robben Island for 10 years. During his incarceration, he taught history to fellow prisoners.

According to SA History Online, Alexander wrote of his time in prison: "The 'University of Robben Island' was one of the best universities in the country. It also showed me that you don't need professors.”

He also devoted most of his professional life to defend and preserve multilingualism in the post-apartheid South Africa and has become one of the major advocates of linguistic diversity.

During a recent visit to the UFS where he took part in a Critical Conversation at the Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice, Dr Alexander said that a multilingual state and culture could lead to more tolerance in South Africa.

In a tribute to Dr Alexander, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector, said Dr Alexander was an incorruptible, a revolutionary who remained true to his core values despite the materialistic excesses of former struggle heroes.

“He taught me many things, one of which was that Afrikaans is and can be a language of liberation and a vehicle for reconciliation. He took his methodology for language learning into the townships, and altered countless lives in the process. South Africa has lost a great scholar, a principled activist, a generous humanitarian and a formidable intellect; the last of the true revolutionaries.”

 

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