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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

New digital planetarium first of its kind for Sub-Saharan Africa
2013-10-10

Mr Andrew Johnson, Sky-Skan engineer, explains how the dataprojector of the new digital planetarium functions.
10 October 2013

The University of the Free State (UFS) is the first in the world to boast a modern digital planetarium which was erected within an existing observatory.

It is also the first planetarium of its kind for Sub-Saharan Africa.

“What makes the project unique is the fact that we convert the existing observatory structure into a modern digital planetarium. It hasn’t been done anywhere else,” says Andrew Johnson, engineer at Sky-Skan, the company supplying the equipment and also installing it.

Andrew has worked on similar projects, with his company installing digital planetariums around the world.

What makes the planetarium so special is the fact that it offers visitors an inclusive experience.

“Previously visitors could only watch projected stars and constellations, but with the digital planetarium they can now experience a journey through space which feels very close to reality.”

Andrew points out that, apart from stargazing and travelling through space, the digital planetarium allows the audience to visit planets, explore the secrets of the oceans or even organs in the human body.

The planetarium will also be used for concerts, state-of-the-art presentations, theatre productions, as well as meetings, conferences and exhibitions.

The auditorium can seat approximately 90 adults or 120 children.

The digital dome that was recently fitted into the existing observatory structure, is a 12-metre seamless aluminium screen complemented by a powerful surround-sound system and multiple data projectors from Sky-Skan. This results in an immersive experience of the digital universe, as well as the recreation of the macro and micro cosmos an a variety of other environments.

The planetarium will be officially opened on Friday 1 November 2013 by Derek Hanekom, Minister of Science and Technology. Prof Matie Hoffman from the Department of Physics at the UFS is delighted at this visit from Minister Hanekom.

“This recognition and national interest demonstrates the importance and contribution of the first digital planetarium in Sub-Saharan Africa to science and astronomy.  It is also evidence that a facility like this is important for the training of the next generation of scientists.”

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