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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 awards its innovative thinkers
2009-11-18

Here are, from the left: Prof. Van Wyk with first-prize winners Precious Setlaba and Themba Motsoeneng and Prof. Muriel Meiring, the students’ promoter.
Photo: Stephen Collett


The University of the Free State (UFS) recently announced the winners of the Innovation Fund Competition. This national competition, which is organised by the Department of Science and Technology aims to promote entrepreneurship through the commercialisation of the innovative ideas of young entrepreneurs.

Every participating educational institution first has an in-house competition in which a total prize money of R100 000 is at stake. At the UFS 14 business plans from students were received and evaluated by six external adjudicators. The three winners now have to take part in Phase II of the competition where 60 competitors from 20 universities will compete. The winners of the National Competition will receive prizes of up to R300 000. This money must be used for the development of the innovative idea with which the prize was won.

The first prize in the UFS’s Innovation Fund Competition of R50 000 was won by Themba Motsoeneng and Precious Setlaba from the Department of Haematology for the development of low-cost diagnostic assays for thrombotic diseases and bleeding disorders with the aim of supplying these test assays at a much lower cost to pathology laboratories all over the country. “This exciting idea appealed to many of the judges, especially because it can contribute to low cost health care in the country,” says Prof. Gerrit van Wyk, organiser of the Innovation Fund Competition at the UFS. The second prize of R30 000 was won by Charl Jaftha, MSc student in Physics. He has developed a low-cost hearing aid the size of a cigarette box. It contains a microphone and electronics to amplify the sound. The third prize of R20 000 was won by Adriaan Taylor and Jaco Brink, both MBA students. They designed a two-in-one lawnmower that would enable the average gardener with a bulky garden to shred the garden refuse and recycle it through composting or disposal through the normal disposal system. “One judge called this a novel use of existing technology,” says Prof. Van Wyk.
 

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