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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

President of Spelman College delivered Second Annual Reconciliation Lecture
2013-08-12

 

Dr Beverly Daniel Tatum
12 August 2013

Dr Beverly Tatum lecture (pdf)
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The United States have much to learn from South Africa about reconciliation. This is according to Dr Beverly Daniel Tatum, president of Spelman College, the oldest college for African American women in the US. Delivering the Second Annual Reconciliation Lecture on our Bloemfontein Campus, Dr Tatum –an internationally-acclaimed educator and expert on race relations –said five years after the US elected its first black president, the country still finds it difficult to make peace with the painful truth of its past.

Drawing inspiration from a speech made by former president Nelson Mandela at the adoption of the South African constitution in 1996, Dr Tatum said it requires courage to engage in a meaningful way with those we have been socialised to mistrust.

Dr Tatum highlighted the shooting of the US teenager Trayvon Martin, who was killed in Florida in an incident many attributed to racial profiling. The unarmed Martin, while out walking in the evening to buy a snack, was accosted and shot by neighbourhood watchman George Zimmerman who suspected him to be a potential thief. 

“How do we move beyond stereotypes to more authentic knowledge of one another?” she posed the question to a packed Reitz Hall in the Centenary Complex. 

Dr Tatum, author of the critically-acclaimed books, Can We Talk about Race? and Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? said we have to be brave enough to have our assumptions challenged. 

“If we want a better society, one characterised by strength, trust and unity, we must interrupt the cycle and there is no better place to do it than at a university like this one, where the next generation of leaders is being prepared. But it requires intentionality. It takes practice.”

During her two-day visit, she also met with postgraduate students from the Faculty of Education to discuss social cohesion at schools. She also took part in a roundtable discussion with educators from the UFS and other universities, deliberating the topicLeading with/for/against differences on university campuses.

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