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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

Prof Helene Strauss delves into the emotion and politics of contemporary South African protest cultures
2014-12-22

Prof Helene Strauss from the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of English currently researches the relationship between emotion and politics in contemporary South African public and protest cultures.

The research foregrounds the complex set of concerns opened up by a study of intimacy, read as not simply a sign for emotional and sexual closeness, but more broadly as a complexly mediated site from which to observe the embodied, affective coordinates of various forms of control and contestation. Through the analysis of a range of cultural texts that, for instance, recompose moments of spectacular social upheaval through the lenses of everyday, embodied experience, this research considers what aesthetic responsibility might mean in both post-transitional South Africa and elsewhere.

One aspect of this research charts a gradual shift in South Africa from what is frequently referred to as the ‘liberation euphoria’ of the mid- to late 1990s – and the optimistic fantasies of a future South Africa that characterised dominant public discourse in the period immediately following the political transition – toward an emotional culture in which expressions of anger, disillusionment and disappointment seem to have become relatively widespread.

Prof Strauss asks, for instance, how these public feelings have been managed in the aftermath of events such as the Marikana massacre, and suggests that the affective and temporal dimensions of current attempts at containing perceived threats to financial and political stability on the part of South Africa’s business and political elite are key to understanding increasingly violent and repressive securitisation strategies.

Earlier this year, Prof Strauss presented papers on aspects of this research at two international conferences: (i) the Association for Cultural Studies conference in Tampere, Finland, where she was invited to be part of a ‘Spotlight Panel’ on the topic of African Cultural Studies, (ii) and at a conference at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, which she helped to co-organise.

An article based on some of this work has been published in the journal Safundi.

For more of Prof Strauss’s research published in journals, follow the links below:
http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rsaf20/current#.VAf88_mSxqU
http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/riij20/15/1#.VAf80vmSxqU
http://www.palgrave-journals.com/sub/journal/v4/n2/index.html

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