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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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Special awards for UFS staff

Prof Dingie van Rensburg, Director: Centre for Health Systems Research and Development at the University of the Free State, received the Premier’s Excellence Award (Gold) for “outstanding excellence and leadership in the category Research and Development” from the Free State Premier, Mrs Beatrice Marshoff.


Prof Andries Stulting (left), Head of the Department of Ophthalmology of the University of the Free State (UFS), and Prof Gert van Zyl, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the UFS, each received a special award from the Premier of the Free State, Mrs Beatrice Marshoff on the occasion of her Awards Dinner.  Stulting was honoured for his major contribution towards establishing units and clinics for eye care, as well as outreach programmes in communities.  Under his leadership the Free State also won the floating trophy of the National Department of Health in 2002, 2004 en 2005 as the unit that had performed the most cataract operations countrywide.  Van Zyl was honoured for his research and development contributions towards promoting the public health management system in the Free State.

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