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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

New Dean of Student Affairs appointed
2016-08-23

Description: Pura Mgolombane Tags: Pura Mgolombane

Pura Mgolombane, newly-appointed
Dean of Student Affairs at the
University of the Free State.
Photo: Charl Devenish

“Students must always remember that people are human beings before any other identity they may embody.”

This is the message to the students of the UFS campuses from Pura Mgolombane, newly-appointed Dean of Student Affairs at the University of the Free State (UFS) in August 2016. He has replaced Cornelia Faasen, who acted as Dean from December 2014 to July 2016.   

Being part of the Kovsie community
Previously, he was part of the Kovsie family as Assistant Dean of Student Life and Leadership (2011-2013). Before that, he was the Diversity, Ethics, and Social Justice Manager at the University of the Witwatersrand from August 2013 to July 2016. Mgolombane said he is most excited to “observe and experience an inclusive culture” at the university.

“I am looking forward to being part of a team that creates sufficient conditions for every member of the Kovsie community to feel that they belong here; from Qwaqwa campus, to South campus, to Bloemfontein campus.”

Making sure humanity comes first
His primary focus will be “to create Humanising Student Lived Experiences”. I want to create conditions where students feel that their humanity matters, because it is in such conditions that students are likely to excel academically,” he said.

These conditions will be created through the introduction of programmes and activities known as pedagogies, namely the humanising pedagogy and the pedagogy of discomfort. “All of these pedagogies and frameworks will be contained and further clarified in the Dean of Student Affairs Strategy which will be finalised no later than December 2016.”

Overcoming challenges faced by students
Regarding the challenges facing UFS students, Mgolombane said that “it is only when all out humanity is affirmed that we are likely to find lasting peace.

“Those who are in power or privileged positions have a responsibility to be in solidarity with the marginalised groups in pursuit of Social Justice.”

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