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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

NSH breaking the cycle of poverty
2015-09-28

In was a joyous occasion for the Hlomuka family when their last-born walked across the stage to receive her degree. Spontaneous ululating sounded from the crowd as Nozipo Hlomuka knelt before the Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), Dr Khotso Mokhele, who conferred her degree.

“At that moment, I thought ‘this is really and finally happening’,” says the young teacher from Qwaqwa, who received a B Ed degree at the spring graduation.

At that moment time stood still for Nozipo, who once believed that, because of financial difficulties, this day would never come.

Across our three campuses, there are many students in similar positions to Nozipo. As many as 60% of students on our campuses are food-insecure, and suffer from hunger. The No Student Hungry Bursary Programme as established in 2011 to provide food-insecure students with a modest food bursary.

In 2014, just when Nozipo thought she could no longer continue studying, she became the recipient of an NSH-bursary.

Although receiving a degree is a huge achievement for Nozipo, her parents, too, were overcome with emotion, to see the first of their five daughters reach this academic milestone. Having only finished grade 8, Mrs Notula Hlomuka, Nozipo’s mother, says it was important for her to see her children finish school, at least. Mrs Hlomuka sold fruit and vegetables which provided the family’s only income.

“It was not always easy. It was never easy. Sometimes, there was no money and not enough to eat, and your children must go to school hungry. We could not afford new clothes for all the children, and the school uniforms were handed down to the younger sibling ending with Nozipo. Those were difficult days. It’s over now. God provided.”


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