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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

Inspiration from an Olympic Champion for Spring graduandi
2012-09-20

Photo: Hannes Pieterse
20 September 2012

The guest list for the Spring Graduation ceremony of the University of the Free State included an Olympic gold medallist, a former Miss South Africa finalist and the Prime Minister of a neigbouring country.

The new graduates could draw inspiration from Olympic swimming champion Chad le Clos, who was the guest speaker at the event. Also attending was the Prime Minister of Lesotho, the Honourable Thomas Thabane, who came to watch his grandson graduating from Kovsies. Sharing a stage with Le Clos was Rolene Strauss, a medical student, who was among the top five contestants at last year’s Miss South Africa competition.

Le Clos, who became a national hero in July when he won a gold medal in the 200 m butterfly at the Olympic Games by beating American swimming legend Michael Phelps, told new graduates to strive for the impossible. Giving them insight into his remarkable achievement, Le Clos told them nobody had expected him to beat Michael Phelps. “Even I thought it was impossible to achieve. Always have a goal and work towards it,” he told them and said his ambition was to build up swimming in South Africa. Le Clos said he hoped that by 2016 there would be more swimmers making South Africa proud.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the university, delivered an Olympic-inspired message. Quoting the motto of the modern Olympic Games, ‘faster, higher and stronger’, Prof. Jansen told the new graduates that they had to be better than those who came before them. “I expect my students in a troubled country to learn how to be different, faster, higher and stronger. Faster means efficiency; it means to be responsive to those in need."

Drawing lessons for the country from Le Clos' victory, Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the University, told the graduates to choose optimism. Referring to the Marikana mine tragedy, Dr Mokhele said the country was far from taking the last stroke. “Even if it looks as if the curtain is down; remember that final stroke of Chad le Clos and how the great Michael Phelps was defeated.”
 

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