Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
25 April 2019 | Story Mamosa Makaya

Since 2016, the University of the Free State Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) has received a grant from First National Bank worth R2 498 000, which supports tertiary bursaries for students with disabilities. Bursary holders are funded through CUADS, as the administrator of the bursaries.
  
These are students enrolled for various academic programmes who require academic assistance and/or assistive devices such as electronic handheld magnifiers, laptops, and hearing aids. The FNB grant also covers tuition, accommodation, study material and books, and meals.  The success of the grant is already evident, with one of the recipients having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2018. A second student was capped at the April 2019 graduations with a BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying.
 
Supporting the principles of the ITP

The UFS received the grant from FNB in instalments, starting in the 2016 academic year to date, supporting the needs of 40 disabled students. This grant and the work of CUADS speaks to and supports the principles of the Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP), namely inclusivity, transformation, and diversity. The vision of the Universal Access work stream is to enable the UFS to create an environment where students with disabilities can experience all aspects of student life equal to their non-disabled peers. The ITP provides for the recognition of the rights of people with disabilities as an important lesson in social justice and an opportunity to reinforce university values.

The successful administration of the grant to benefit past and present students is a ‘feather in the cap’ of CUADS, and is a shining example of the impact of public private investment and the endless possibilities that open up when there is a commitment to developing future leaders in academic spaces, allowing them to thrive by creating a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering. 



News Archive

Africa the birthplace of mathematics, says Prof Atangana
2017-11-17


 Description: Prof Abdon Atangana, African Award of Applied Mathematics  Tags: Prof Abdon Atangana, African Award of Applied Mathematics

Prof Abdon Atangana from the UFS Institute for Groundwater Studies.
Photo: Supplied

 

Prof Abdon Atangana from the Institute for Groundwater Studies at the University of the Free State recently received the African Award of Applied Mathematics during the International conference "African’s Days of Applied Mathematics" that was held in Errachidia, Morocco. Prof Atangana delivered the opening speech with the title "Africa was a temple of knowledge before: What happened?” The focus of the conference was to offer a forum for the promotion of mathematics and its applications in African countries.

When Europeans first came to Africa, they considered the architecture to be disorganised and thus primitive. It never occurred to them that Africans might have been using a form of mathematics that they hadn’t even discovered yet.

Africa is home to the world’s earliest known use of measuring and calculation. Thousands of years ago Africans were using numerals, algebra and geometry in daily life. “Our continent is the birthplace of both basic and advanced mathematics,” said Prof Atangana. 

Africa attracted a series of immigrants who spread knowledge from this continent to the rest of the world.

Measuring and counting
In one of his examples of African mathematics knowledge Prof Atangana referred to the oldest mathematical instrument as the Lebombo bone, a baboon fibula used as a measuring instrument, which was named after the Lebombo Mountains of Swaziland. The world’s oldest evidence of advanced mathematics was also a baboon fibula that was discovered in present-day Democratic Republic of Congo.

Another example he used is the manuscripts in the libraries of the Sankoré University, one of the world’s oldest tertiary institutions. This university in Timbuktu, Mali, is full of manuscripts mainly written in Ajami in the 1200s AD. “When Europeans and Western Asians began visiting and colonising Mali between the 1300s and 1800s, Malians hid the manuscripts in basements, attics and underground, fearing destruction or theft by foreigners. This was certainly a good idea, given the Europeans' history of destroying texts in Kemet and other areas of the continent. Many of the scripts were mathematical and astronomical in nature. In recent years, as many as 700 000 scripts have been rediscovered and attest to the continuous knowledge of advanced mathematics and science in Africa well before European colonisation. 

Fractal geometry

“One of Africa’s major achievements was the advanced knowledge of fractal geometry. This knowledge is found in a wide aspect of Africa life: from art, social design structures, architecture, to games, trade and divination systems. 

“The binary numeral system was also widely known through Africa before it was known throughout much of the world. There is a theory that it could have influenced Western geometry, which led to the development of digital computers,” he said. 

“Can Africa rise again?” Prof Atangana believes it can.

He concluded with a plea to fellow African researchers to do research that will build towards a new Africa.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept