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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

“We relied on outsiders to document our histories.” – Zanele Muholi delivers Women’s Day Lecture
2014-08-13

 

Zanele Muholi
Photo: Stephen Collett

“Our society is decaying because of hate crimes against LGBTI groups. You can’t say it does not affect you, because each of us is at least connected to one person [of LGBTI orientation].”

These words by Zanele Muholi, photographer and visual activist of LGBTI rights, who delivered the Women’s Day Lecture. The event commemorated Women’s Day and took place on Thursday 7 August 2014 at the Bloemfontein Campus. The lecture was hosted by the Centre for Africa Studies, as part of their Gender Studies Programme.

Muholi screened photographs featuring lesbian couples and recounted their all-too-real life stories. Her work emphasises the importance of queering the normative gaze by representing black lesbians in ‘straight’ portraits in a collection of works titled ‘Faces and Phases’. By focusing on lesbians in her work, Muholi shows that women in same sex relationships are just women, with the same dreams and aspirations as their heterosexual sisters.

But lesbian women carry an additional, grave fear – that of corrective rape. Muholi speaks on this topic in the video, ‘We live in fear’, which she screened during her talk. The documentary features the lives of lesbian women in Kwa Thema township in Johannesburg. Shockwaves spread through this settlement in 2008 after the brutal killing of a lesbian woman and the ensuing series of hate crimes against the LGBTI community.

Zanele describes her work as “documenting our own stories. For years we relied on outsiders to document our histories. We should do it ourselves.”

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