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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

UFS celebrates establishment of a new department
2008-09-26

 

 At the celebration of the establishment of the Department of Genetics are, from the left: Prof. Herman van Schalkwyk, Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS, Prof. Johan Spies, head of the Department of Genetics at the UFS, Prof. Chris Viljoen, associate professor at the UFS Department of Haematology and Cell Biology and previously associated with the Department of Genetics; seated: Prof. Paul Grobler, associate professor at the UFS Department of Genetics.
Photo: Stephen Collett

UFS celebrates establishment of a new department

The establishment of the Department of Genetics in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of the Free State (FS) was recently celebrated on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

The department, which formed part of the Department of Plant Sciences, is the only of its kind in the country that conducts research in behavioural genetics. “With behavioural genetics we try to determine if certain human behaviour is hereditary or if it is as a result of the environment. Although this is the fastest growing field of specialty in the United States of America, it is still an unknown field in South Africa,” says Prof. Johan Spies, head of the Department of Genetics.

The other specialty fields of the department are forensic genetics and conservation genetics. “Forensic genetics looks at the compilation of the DNA of animals. Because of our academics’ expertise, the department is regularly requested by the South African Police Service to assist them with establishing the origin of animals – especially in the case of game poaching. We recently completed a research project on cheetahs where we had to establish if they were acquired illegally of part of the farmer’s game. The research showed that the cheetahs were part of the farmer’s own breed,” says Prof. Spies.

Another specialty field of the department is conservation genetics where the genetic variance of animals is researched. A lot of research is done on vervet monkeys to determine from which area in the country they originate. The study must be completed before the 3000 vervet monkeys currently in rehabilitation centres are set free. The behaviour of monkeys in rehabilitation is also being researched.

Prof. Spies says: “Student figures in Genetics show an annual increase of 8% per year for the past five years. The first group of master’s degree students in Genetics will start their studies next year.” The department is also regarded as a leader on Clivia research.


Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
25 September 2008
 

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