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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

2015 Spring Graduation Ceremony rekindles spirit of Ubuntu
2015-09-22

 

Our graduates: A new generation of future leaders
to advance South Africa

 -  Video: Spring Graduation Ceremony

“Give away your love, attention, care and more.” These words of Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), capture the spirit of the 2015 Spring Graduation Ceremony that took place on Thursday 17 September 2015.

On this special day, 599 diplomas and degrees were conferred from the faculties of the Humanities, Education, Law, Theology, Economic and Management -, Health -, and Natural and Agricultural Sciences. Central to both the morning and afternoon ceremonies was the message of Ubuntu.

The essence of humanity

“Here is my advice to you,” Prof Jansen said to the graduates, “whatever you have, give it away. Give away your love, attention, care and more.” Prof Jeffrey Sachs, guest speaker at both events, supported this message by saying that the essence of humanity is the cornerstone to success. Prof Sachs, a prominent American economist and humanitarian, asked graduates to use their hard-earned knowledge wisely, fairly and boldly. “You are the wealth of South Africa, for your knowledge is the key to SA’s prosperity.”

The UFS Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences honoured Prof Sachs by conferring an honorary doctorate on him. With this prestigious conferral, the faculty acknowledges Prof Sach’s extensive work in sustainable economic, social and political development across the globe. Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the UFS, commended Prof Sachs for his compassion and passion for humanity. “I’m truly inspired that you agreed to associate yourself with this institution. We are proud to be associated with your excellence,” Dr Mokhele said.

Celebrating the extraordinary

One of many highlights of the day was when Leanne Kunz and Karabo Motlhakoana walked across the stage to respectively receive their Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration and a BSc degree in Information Technology.

Kunz has been compiling news bulletins for The Breakfast Special show, aired on the OFM radio station, for five years. This Kovsie Alumnus graduated with a Media Studies degree a few years ago. Kunz did not allow her successful career at the popular radio station to hinder her studying further, though. Neither has Motlhakoana’s physical challenges.

While everyone else used their hands to take notes, Motlhakoana used his foot. Despite being born with no arms, he was able to beat the odds by qualifying as a computer scientist. Motlhakoana was also involved in the Leadership for Change programme in 2011 which contributed to producing the well-rounded graduate he is today. When walking across the stage, “I felt like I achieved something that gave me a challenge,” he said.

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