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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

Traditional medicine can play important role in modern drugs discovery
2014-11-11

Indigenous knowledge possesses a great potential to improve science. Making use of this source may lead to advanced technological innovations. This is according to Dr Sechaba Bareetseng, UFS alumnus and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Manager at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Dr Bareetseng recently addressed the seventh annual IKS symposium on the Qwaqwa Campus.
“Interfacing indigenous and local knowledge with scientific knowledge has the potential of encouraging and developing inventions, especially in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Dr Bareetseng.
 
“Such interfacing can also enable access to both sets of knowledge without any discrimination whatsoever. It would also encourage co-existence that would improve understanding between the two.”
 
“Traditional medicine,” said Dr Bareetseng, “can play an extended role in modern drugs discovery as it is already happening in Botswana and New Zealand. These two countries are leading this wave of new thinking in as far as drug development is concerned.”
 
Dr Bareetseng also called on established researchers to start embracing the local communities into their research.
 
“Contemporary scientific research demands that local communities must co-author research conducted within and with them by the universities and research institutions. This would help in maintaining trust between the researchers and the communities that feel exploited. Regular feedback would also make communities feel part of the developments,” Dr Bareetseng argued.
 
He further called on the pharmaceutical companies specifically and researchers in general to convert valuable indigenous knowledge and resources into products and services of commercial value. “Plants, the ecosystem and indigenous knowledge must be preserved to provide a source of income for the local communities. Communities must also be protected from foreign exploitation of their intellectual property.”
 

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