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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

Shushing, speaking, politicians, policing
2014-03-18

 
Prof Pumla Dineo Gqola
Photo: Michelle Nothling

Feminist writer, scholar and previous Kovsie staff member, Prof Pumla Dineo Gqola, recently launched her book at the Bloemfontein Campus. “A Renegade Called Simphiwe” explores the life – and controversy – of singer Simphiwe Dana.

The book tells the story of Dana, a rebellious artist and cultural activist. But it also delves much deeper – into the fabric of our society itself. It questions our expectations and reactions to the things that make us shift in our seats.

The politics of silencing
Artists should not involve themselves in politics. They should stick to what they’re good at. Dana and other artists know this silencing finger being waved at them all too well. It is this mentality that alarms Prof Gqola. “I’m very disturbed by the notion of policing our – especially female – artists.” She pointed out that it is mostly female artists in SA who are put under scrutiny, reigned in and censored. Not only by politicians, though. Our public also quickly steps in when an artist seems to step out of ‘their place’.

The proper place of art
“I’m part of the movement that believes art transforms,” said Prof Gqola. South Africa used to be a fertile ground for protest art. This had an immense impact on political and social transformation. “Then something happened,” Prof Gqola let the words linger. “The arts got divorced from its social transformative power.”

Why has art been publically marginalised?

The question remains.

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