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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 academic discusses Dutch, Afrikaans and African languages
2006-05-22

During the colloquium presented in Belgium by the Province Antwerp were from the left Prof Pol Cuvelier (University of Antwerp), Prof Theo du Plessis (Director: Unit for Language Management at the UFS), Mr Ludo Helsen (Permanent Deputy: Province of Antwerp) and Mr Jean-Pierre Rondas (Flemish radio journalist).

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UFS academic discusses Dutch, Afrikaans and African languages at international conference

Prof Theo du Plessis, Director of the Unit for Language Management at the University of the Free State (UFS), was the main speaker at a colloquium titled “Routes:  Where to now? - Een traject van het Nederlands naar het Afrikaans en de Afrikatalen”, which was recently presented by the Province Antwerp in Belgium.

 The aim of the colloquium was to discuss the future cooperation in the field of language between the Province Antwerp and South Africa. 

 The Province Antwerp is already involved with projects in South Africa.  One of these projects is the Multilingual Information Development Programme (MIDP), a partnership project between the UFS and the Free State Province that is mainly funded by the Province Antwerp. 

 The project has been running since 1999 and was recently in the news with the presentation of a symposium on multilingualism and exclusion on the Main Campus of the UFS.  It is hoped that the Routes colloquium will indicate new stages on which can be added to the already successful cooperation in the area of language.

 Prof Du Plessis’s presentation titled “Nederlands, Afrikaans en die Afrikatale – kan samewerking slaag? Die geval MIDP in die Vrystaat”, investigated the successes that have been made with the MIDP.  He discussed two possible approaches to cooperation in the areas of language, that of a sentimentalistic  approach against an instrumentalistic approach. 

Cooperation in the first approach makes language the aim.  In the second approach language is used as a means to a greater aim.  According to Prof du Plessis the first approach is driven by a romantisised idea about the relation between the Flemish and Afrikaans speaking people, which may unfortunately polarise the position of Afrikaans in South Africa even further.

 He argues that, given the time that we are in, the second approach will deliver more constructive results as language can among others be used for to further  democracy in South Africa.   This can happen by cooperation in the institutionalising of multilingualism in our society.  The more languages are used in education, law and government administration, the more we can be assured a successful democracy.

 The Routes colloquium was facilitated by the well-known Flemish radio journalist, Jean-Pierre Rondas. About twenty South African and Flemish language specialists took part in the colloquium.  Dr Fritz Kok, outgoing chief executive officer of the ATKV took part in the opening ceremony and Dr Neville Alexander from the University of Cape Town and well-known activist for multilingualism in South Africa was also one of the main speakers.

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