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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

Shimlas honoured to meet Prof Petersen
2017-04-12

Description: ' A Shimlas and Prof Francis Tags: Shimlas, Prof Francis Petersen
Prof Francis Petersen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, with
Shimla captain, Stephan Janse van Rensburg, in front of
the Main Building.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

“I studied at Maties and worked for quite a long time at the University of Cape Town so I am also an Ikey, but now I am a Kovsie. So I am obviously supporting and fully behind the Kovsie team.”

This was what the new University of the Free State Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Francis Petersen, said to the Shimla rugby team at a breakfast on 7 April 2017. The Varsity Cup team was invited to the Main Building by Prof Petersen to congratulate them on a great season. The Rector also thanked the team’s management. “All of them wanted to see you and we have waited quite a few months for you. And thank you for the invite. It means a lot us,” said Jaco Swanepoel, Shimla assistant coach.

Shimlas went in as underdogs

“I was completely stunned by the way you played on Monday night,” Prof Petersen said. 

A young Shimlas team went into the tournament as underdogs, but managed to reach the Varsity Cup semifinal against Tuks on 3 April 2017 in Pretoria. The Shimlas staged a great comeback and pushed the home team until the end. They only lost 21-28 against a strong University of Pretoria team.

The Rector also reiterated the importance of sport within the university. “Sport is a unifier and we should use it more to unite.”

Great privilege to meet the new Rector

“It is a massive privilege for our team to be invited by Prof Petersen for a nice breakfast. To know that we have his support, as well as that of the entire university, means a lot to us,” said Stephan Janse van Rensburg, Shimla captain. 

The Shimlas wanted to make UFS proud by making a difference and it showed during the semi-final. “We played under extreme pressure and went into the semi-finals as complete underdogs. We played for every Kovsie but unfortunately it didn’t go our way,” Stephan said.

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