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19 March 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Thabo Kessah
Thokozile Thulo
Thokozile Thulo says the UFS has changed its focus in supporting students with disabilities.

The Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) has recently opened a permanent office on the Qwaqwa Campus The centre aims to ensure that the University of the Free State increasingly becomes a universally accessible higher-education institution which embraces students with various disabilities.

Thokozile Thulo, CUADS Assistant Officer at Qwaqwa said: “Our focus has changed from ‘special’ accommodation for individuals to the creation of a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering to all students. Integrated learning and education methodologies and processes are being researched and developed to create more awareness among lecturing staff. This incorporates universal design, faculty instruction and curricula.” 

The CUADS office assists students to gain access to study courses, learning materials, various buildings and residences, computer facilities and specialised exams and tests. For visually-impaired students, study material and textbooks in Braille, audio, e-text or enlarged format are provided. 

The office also supports students with various psychosocial and chronic conditions such as epilepsy and panic disorder, as well as learning difficulties such as dyslexia and hyperactivity. “In addition, we support students with special arrangements such as extra time for tests and exams,” said Thokozile.



News Archive

Is Al-Qaeda operating in South Africa?
2014-09-29

 
Our Department of Political Studies and Governance recently hosted a seminar with investigative journalist De Wet Potgieter – author of the book, ‘Black Widow White Widow’.During the seminar, Potgieter reflected on the research he has conducted for the book, revealing the unsettling presence of Al-Qaeda in South Africa.

The ‘White Widow’ in the book’s title refers to Samantha Lewthwaite, a British woman who was found in South Africa with a fraudulent passport. She was later linked to the Westgate shopping mall attack which took place in Nairobi, Kenya on 21 September 2013. In this mass shooting at least 67 people died and over 175 people were wounded. The Islamist group al-Shabaab – which is also linked to Al-Qaeda – claimed responsibility for the incident.

In contrast, the ‘Black Widow’ is the disclosed identity of an Afrikaans-speaking self-styled spy, who after being widowed became a counter-terrorist operative.

Potgieter’s book divulges details of Al-Qaeda paramilitary and urban warfare training on a secluded farm in the Little Karoo and reveals details of the support they receive from various local extremist groups. Potgieter’s investigation spans across two years and suggests possible future attacks from, or on, South African soil.

“South Africa plays a role in the bigger picture for Al-Qaeda Islamic terrorism,” Potgieter said. “For instance, the Navy Seal team who killed Bin Laden found reports pointing to active Al-Qaeda/Islamist presence in South Africa. South Africans need to know we are under siege by a small, well-trained Al Qaeda terrorist cell. Yet, operations – of which I know, but cannot disclose much – are also underway to contain these matters,” Potgieter added.

Potgieter’s sources suggest that Al-Qaeda has been active in South Africa since the 2010 FIFA World Cup already. The South African government seems to turn a blind eye, though, despite CIA and MI6 requests and enquiries on the matter.


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