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14 June 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Albert van Biljon
Alison Botha
Over and above being a survivor, Alison Botha is an inspiration.

It was an ordinary December 1994 evening in Port Elizabeth. Alison Botha parked her car in front of her home. A man ambushed her at knife point. Minutes later, she was forced into the passenger seat and the perpetrator drove off, picking his friend up on their way to the coastal bushes of the city.
 
What was supposed to be an ordinary evening turned into a horrific experience which changed Botha’s life forever. She was raped, strangled, had her throat slit and her stomach cut open. Physicians called her survival a medical miracle. The true miracle though, is how she has chosen to deal with the experience. 

Botha overcame her fear of public speaking and has become an international motivational speaker who also authored a first-person account of her ordeal and recovery in 1998, titled I Have Life.

Aluta continua against gender-based violence

As part of our university’s advocacy against gender-based violence, the Human Resources’ Division for Organisational Development and Employee Wellness hosted Botha for a motivational talk on 5 June 2019 at the Bloemfontein Campus. In telling her story, Botha stated that she still receives healing.

While welcoming guests and the speaker, Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector: Operations touched on Project Caring which is supported by the Rectorate. “We care for you and part of that caring agenda is gender-based violence. We encourage you to speak out about this issue, don’t remain silent, someone will listen,” he advised.

From victim to victor

Botha believes that if her story serves to help someone else avoid the same situation or perhaps even survive a similar trauma, then she has served her purpose. “I now believe that the evil is far outweighed by all the good that has come out of my choice to share my story,” she said.

Much of the reason behind her strength lies in what she terms her own ABC principle which speaks to attitude, belief and choice. “We are not always going to be in control of everything that happens to us. But we always control how we respond,” said Botha. 

The story of Botha’s survival, recovery and victory proves that the human spirit cannot be crushed. There is indeed life after a near-death tragedy.

News Archive

Multimillion rand donation to boost UFS schools
2013-02-05

At the launch were Dr Cobus van Breda, Director of the Science-for-the- Future Unit at the UFS, Mr Makhetha Botsane from the Free State Department of Education Mrs. Elizna Prinsloo, Programme Manager of the Family Maths and Family Science project and Mr Graham McCulloch, Free State representative of the Ilima Trust.
Photo: Kelly Abrahams
05 February 2013

The University of the Free State’s UFS) Family Maths and Family Science project has received a R1 million sponsorship from Old Mutual for 2013. This is a three-year project whereby the university’s School of Open Learning aims to demystify mathematics and science in the early school years, as stated in their mission. The launching ceremony took place on 1 February 2013 at the UFS Campus.

The sponsorship was made available by Old Mutual, but will be managed by the project management group, Ilima Trust.

The UFS received R30 million altogether from Old Mutual for the use on various projects.

Except for the Family Maths and Family Science project, the Schools make over project and the Internet Broadcasting Programme will also benefit from this donation.

“Ilima has a hands-on relationship with different projects and is the public face for the FM & FS sponsorship,” said Mr Graham McCulloch, Ilima Trust representative for the Free State.

“Today is the first step on the long road to improving math and science in the country,” McCulloch said.

Dr Cobus van Breda, Director of the Science-for-the-Future Unit  says the Family Math and Family Science Project makes science and math accessible to children and their parents in the early years, with the aim of developing positive attitudes towards these often difficult school subject.

“This project aims to empower educators, parents and student educators by iving support and training in hands-on teaching methodologies.”

Learners, educators and parents from 18 schools in Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo will benefit from this project. Teachers will receive training at the UFS and then return to their community to train parents and to teach learners. Teachers will also receive activity material to use in classrooms.

“The selection of the 18 participating schools took place by identifying feeder schools of secondary schools from the UFS School Change Project, trying to create a whole-school development,” Van Breda said.

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