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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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Team UFS flexes its debating muscles
2015-08-07


Photo: Nkahiseng Ralepeli debates his way to the finals of the English as a First Language category at the UCT Open.

Team UFS flexes its debating muscles

Friday 24 July 2015 marks the day when the University of the Free State Debating Society (UFDS) outperformed the University of Cape Town (UCT) at the UCT 150th anniversary celebration of its debating union.

Representing Kovsies were Zola Valashiya, Ntsapi ‘Neko, Nkahiseng Ralepeli, Lehakoe Masedi, and Thabang Thembani, who fought bravely for a spot in the finals.

Masedi and Ralepeli broke into the semifinals after seven preliminary rounds, eventually winning the competition. The two students were up against three UCT teams, comprising the current National Champions and Pan African finalists.

This follows the debaters’ outstanding performance at the 2015 South African National University Debating Championship (SANUDC), hosted by the University of Venda. The UFDS commemorated a decade in existence by participating in its 10th national tournament.

After nine preliminary rounds, two teams broke into the grand finals of the two categories: English as a second language (ESL) and English as a first language (EFL). Devon Watson and Nkahiseng Ralepeli were the EFL team who fought their way through to the finals, beating UCT and the University of Botswana.

The inaugural Wits Women’s Debate Open (2014) title holders, Lerato Leteane and Lehakoe Masedi, represented Kovsies as the ESL finalists against the University of Nambia. The ladies rose to the occasion, but eventually emerged just one point short of the Namibian team’s four-point win.

Nonetheless, they were satisfied with their competitive skills, utilising the platform to address the lack of female debaters in the Southern African debating circuit.

 

 

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