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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 professor receives international recognition for exceptional ethical values
2015-10-02

“You grow so fond of them,” Prof André Venter,
Head: Department of Paediatrics and Child Health,
says while doing his rounds with patients.
Prof Venter recently received the award for health professions
from the international organisation, Unashamedly Ethical.

“You are such a pretty baby,” Prof André Venter, Head: Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of the Free State, whispers to a baby lying stretched out in her neonatal cradle.

He uses his fingertips to free her legs and arms carefully from the monitors and wires attached to her.

“See how much you have grown,” he says, tapping with his finger on her file. 1.2 kg - her weight indicates. 

In one of the other children’s wards, he joins a mother sitting with her sick baby. Speaking about the baby’s operation coming up within the next few months, he gives her an encouraging pat on the shoulder.

He visits yet another mother who is practising kangaroo care on her baby, and asks to hold the baby for a while.

“Gosh, you’re so nice and warm, let doctor hold you for a while,” he says, hugging the premature baby to his chest.

Prof Venter greets and thanks the nursing staff at the end of his ward rounds.

“Everything is not always good, but one can try to plan for the future from the challenges,” he says. “One should never concentrate on the immediate problem too much, but lift the morale of those using our services, those providing the services, and those who come here for training.”

It is this kind of passion and outlook that earned Prof Venter an ethical award from the international organisation, Unashamedly Ethical. The award, which was made in the health professions category, recognises doctors for exceptional ethical values and for going the extra mile in alleviating the suffering of humanity.

“I am humbled at being honoured for something I see as my passion and actually take for granted. I am also touched that people from outside noticed and nominated me for this,” he says.

He talks about his young patients again: “I learn so much from them each day. Children are so resistant to negative things. I grow so fond of them that I forget they have to go home some time.”

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