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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 researchers discover the many uses of the cactus pear
2015-02-17

UFS researchers discover the many uses of the cactus pear

For many South Africans, the dry, arid areas in many parts of the country became synonymous with cactus pear growing at random in the natural veld. For some the fruit of a cactus pear, if chilled really well, is a delicious snack on a hot summer’s day. But few actually know that these cacti can be money growing wild in the veld.

For the past 15 years, scientists  at the University of the Free State (UFS) have been looking into the benefits and many uses of the cactus pear. This project  has grown steadily in vision and dimension, and today the UFS is recognised as a world-leading institution in the world conducting multi-disciplinary research on spineless cactus pear.

Dr Maryna de Wit, from the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, together with Prof Wijnand Swart from the Department of Plant Sciences and Prof HO de Waal from the Department of Animal, Wildlife and Grassland Sciences, determined the nutritional and, more importantly, the commercial and viable uses of the cactus pear.

The aspect of human consumption is now giving the cactus pear the status of ‘superfood’.

Dr De Wit and her team have successfully made various products using either the cactus pear fruit, the cladode (also referred to as the leaf) and the mucilage (the sticky liquid  in the cladode).

Some of these products are:

  • flour for baking carrot cake, biscuits and health breads
  • jam, fruit juice and canned fruit
  • sweets – marshmallows and Turkish delight
  • stir-fry, salads and other cooked dishes.

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