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03 April 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Vhugala Nthakheni
Uhuru Qwaqwa Arrival
The #UFSWalkToUhuru team arrives at the UFS Qwaqwa Campus on Friday 22 March.

The University of the Free State (UFS) Division of Student Affairs, in collaboration with the UFS Office for International Affairs, have joined hands to drive a fundraising and student-accessibility initiative dubbed, ‘The Walk to Uhuru’ (#UFSWalktoUhuru), which is aimed at raising funds and advocating for the educational rights of the less privileged. 

The project aims to raise funds in excess of R2 million from the public and stakeholders affiliated with the UFS (Kovsie staff and students). The project derives from the 2018/2019 UFS Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) mandate ‘Students Must Graduate’. The ISRC mandate aims to source funding opportunities for UFS students to register, and to complete their studies across all three campuses in 2020 and beyond.

The first leg of the project, a 350 km walk from the Bloemfontein to the Qwaqwa Campus, has already taken place and concluded on Friday, 22 March 2019 as planned. The #UFSWalkToUhuru team successfully completed the first leg of their journey to academic freedom for financially disadvantaged students at the UFS. The Uhuru team is now focusing its attention on the second leg and is determined to take on Mount Kilimanjaro (Uhuru) from 20 June to 20 July 2019.

The team sat down for a debriefing session to unpack the overall experience and result of the first half of the initiative, and they all agreed that the walk to Qwaqwa was an enlightening experience. It was a walk that comprised learning opportunities, team building, and goal crushing.

According to Rethabile Motseki, member of the #UFSWalkToUhuru team, the walk to Qwaqwa made a significant impact on the project, as the university community is now aware of the significant goals that the team is trying to accomplish. The team has also resumed their fitness-training programme to ensure that they are ready to take on the Uhuru climb in June.

A media briefing will take place shortly (date to be confirmed) to detail the ongoing fundraising initiatives rolled out by the #UFSWalkToUhuru team.  We implore you, and the nation as a whole, to help establish a better future for disadvantaged UFS students by donating to the initiative.

Students, staff, and the public can support the cause and make contributions/donations to the initiative by visiting the UFS Walk to Uhuru #givengain account page.

For more information, contact UFS SRC President, Sonwabile Dwaba, on DwabaSJ@ufs.ac.za  or Rethabile Motseki on MotsekiR@ufs.ac.za  

News Archive

Out-of-the-box thinking a plus for next generation of agribusiness leaders
2017-07-07

Description: Agribusiness leaders Tags: Agribusiness leaders 

The winners of the 12th IFAMA International Student
Case Competition from Team South Africa are from
the left: JW Swanepoel, University of the Free State,
Melissa van der Merwe, University of Pretoria,
Heinrich Jantjies, Stellenbosch University, and
Johann Boonzaaier, also from Stellenbosch University.
Photo: Supplied



The International Food and Agribusiness Management Association’s International Student Case Competition, in its 12th year, brings together students from around the world to demonstrate their investigative and problem-solving skills to provide innovative solutions to practical problems.

JW Swanepoel, a PhD student at the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of the Free State (UFS) was part of an advanced case study team, representing South African universities, who won IFAMA’s International Student Case Competition. Swanepoel also presented results from his PhD study at IFAMA’s conference in Miami, Florida, where the winners were announced.

Competition a global stage to showcase solutions

The competition provides a global stage for students and their associated universities to showcase the next generation of agribusiness leaders.

This year the featured agribusiness was Bayer Crop Science. Although this company managed to expand its global footprint through its Food Chain Partnership, it faced some challenges to expand in emerging economies through small-scale farmers. Being from the African continent, Swanepoel and his team not only understood Bayer’s unique challenge but could also pre-empt some of the potential problems faced by agribusinesses that wanted to grow their footprint in emerging economies. This provided them with a competitive advantage in going head-to-head with some of the best universities in the world such as Purdue, Wageningen, Michigan, Texas A & M and Santa Clara to mention just a few.

The South African team’s presentation “Selling Lindiwe’s story” told the story of a small-scale woman cassava farmer in Mozambique who, after the death of her husband, became the main breadwinner. The South African team indicated how Bayer could play a major role in not only selling chemicals to these farmers but even more importantly to change the stories of small-scale farmers like Lindiwe. They recommended a strategic partnership with AB InBev as the main buyer for the cassava produced by these small-scale farmers, as a cheaper beer base substitute. They also recommended a local partner (Value Chain Insights) that understood the political, social and economic environment of these countries to facilitate the relationships between Bayer and its small-scale farmers.

Understanding the challenge a competitive advantage

According to the panel of judges, the innovative approach and motivations for investing in strategic partnerships with AB InBev and Value Chain Insights went beyond financial benefits, to include corporate social responsibility and rural development. Lindiwe’s story was, however, the decisive factor. The South African team was the only team to put a face and a story to the often invisible small-scale farmers.

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