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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

Scientists discover a water reservoir beneath the Free State
2009-12-09

Dr Holger Sommer

The Mantle Research Group Bloemfontein (MRGB), under the leadership of Dr Holger Sommer, a senior lecturer in the Department of Geology at the University of the Free State (UFS), has discovered an enormous water reservoir 160 km beneath the Free State.

This discovery, according to Dr Sommer, is the first of its kind in South Africa after he had previously made a similar finding in Colorado, USA.

However, this water cannot be used for human consumption. “It is not frozen water; it is not molecular water; it is not fresh water; it is not salty water; it is OH – water which is sitting in the crystal lattice,” he said.

He said the reservoir was comparable in size to Lake Victoria in Tanzania.
The researchers collected eclogites from the Roberts Victor (Rovic) Mine close to the town of Boshof, south-west of the Free State, for their study.

“The Rovic eclogites are rocks which represent former oceanic crust transported into the earth’s interior by complex plate tectonic processes about 2.0 billion years ago,” explained Dr Sommer.

“These rocks were finally carried back to the earth’s surface by volcanic (kimberlite) eruptions around 130 million years ago. Eclogitic rocks are therefore a window into the Earth’s interior.”

The question from the beginning for all MRGB scientists was: Is there water inside these rocks in such depth, and if so, where is it located?

To answer this question, Dr Sommer and his research fellows separated single mineral grains from eclogite samples and prepared about 100 micrometer (0,1 mm) thick rock sections. Afterwards, specific particle accelerator (Synchrotron) measurements were carried out in the city of Karlsruhe in Germany.

“And indeed, the MRGB found water inside the studied rocks from the Roberts Victor Mine,” he said. “The water was located in defect structures in crystal lattices and along boundaries between single mineral grains.”

“The occurrence of water at such depth would give first evidence that all water of the oceans could be stored five to ten times in the earth’s mantle.”
The study was conducted about a year ago.
 

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za
4 December 2009

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