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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

Visually impaired UFS student an inspiration
2016-10-05

Description: Zingisa Ngwenya Tags: Zingisa Ngwenya

Zingisa Ngwenya at the 2016
Spring Graduation Ceremony at the Callie Human
Centre on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Johan Roux

“Zingisa, I saw the tears streaming down your face when you were being hooded,” said an emotional Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the University of the Free State. “And you were not the only one with tears streaming down your face.”
 
Zingisa Ngwenya, a visually impaired BA Communication Science student, was one of those who graduated at the UFS 2016 Spring Graduation on 15 September 2016 at the Bloemfontein Campus. By her side were her guardians, Derek Watts, the presenter of the current affairs TV programme Carte Blanche, and his wife Belinda.

Dream becomes reality with support from community
Watts first met Ngwenya at the Audi Pioneer School Rally in Worcester, Western Cape, in which she was his co-driver. He admired her ability to read all her instructions in braille. “I was inspired by her because she had lost her sight late in her school career,” said Watts at the graduation ceremony. Ngwenya was academically strong and her aspirations to go to university led to the relationship.  

The UFS Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support, the Kirsty Watts Foundation, Gavin Fourie from Richmond, and Symington and De Kok law firm in Bloemfontein helped make Ngwenya’s dream a reality. “We managed the facility for her to do well, but it’s nothing compared to what she has done to get this degree,” Watts said.

Support from Watts family made things possible
Ngwenya will be studying towards a law degree at UFS, as well as working part-time at, Symington and De Kok. “She never bemoans what has happened to her in life. She just looks ahead to make the most of her life,” Watts said.

“Derek and Belinda’s support means everything to me. Without them it would not have been possible because it has really been a struggle, but they believed in me,” Ngwenya said.

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