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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 honours young researchers
2006-02-10

Some of the guests attending the recognition function were from the left:  Prof Magda Fourie (Vice-Rector:  Academic Planning at the UFS), Mr Joseph Smiles (lecturer at the UFS Department of Political Science and Thuthuka grant holder), Prof Frans Swanepoel (Director:  Research Development at the UFS) and Dr Carlien Pohl (lecturer at the UFS Department of Microbial,  Biochemical and Food Biotechnology and Thuthuka grant holder).
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

The guest speaker was Prof Jonathan Jansen, Dean:  Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria (UP).  He gave tips to young and promising researchers on how to be an outstanding scholar. 
What is a Scholar 

UFS honours young researchers       

The University of the Free State (UFS) last night honoured 24 young researchers who are taking part in the National Research Fund’s (NRF) Thuthuka programme.

The recognition function is the first of its kind at the UFS.  “The renewed focus on research development that was recently announced at the official opening of the UFS by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Frederick Fourie, is an indication of the institution’s endeavour to create an environment in which research can be improved and flourish.  This can only be obtained when researchers are being valued and that is why it is important to honour our young researchers,” said Mrs Annelize Venter, researcher at the UFS Research Development Directorate and coordinator of the programme.
 
The focus on research was also touched on recently by President Thabo Mbeki during the opening of Parliament when he said:  “We will continue to engage the leadership of our tertiary institutions focused on working with them to meet the nation’s expectations with regard to teaching and research. For its part, the government is determined to increase the resource allocation for research and development and innovation, and increase the pool of young researchers."

According to Mrs Venter, research done in 2004 shows that the majority researchers who publish are white males above the age of 50.  “Many students who undertake magister studies choose not to conduct research, but rather to do a thesis and additional subjects.  This means that research is not stimulated.  Students also find it difficult to obtain financial support for postgraduate studies,” she explained.
“Thutuka is a capacity building programme of the NRF that is aimed to 
fund and support the qualifications of women and young black scientists and other researchers who do not have a rating for postgraduate research.  It is based on a funding partnership between the UFS and the NRF,” said Mrs Venter.

Last night Prof Frans Swanepoel, Director: Research Development at the UFS, added to his by saying:  “With the Thuthuka programme we aim to create and sustain a research culture at the UFS, promote international research and train researchers of a high quality and enhance the research capacity at the UFS by focusing on women, black researchers and other promising researchers.”
 
The programme was started by the NRF in 2001.  At that stage only 17 grants were made countrywide.  Last year 370 postgraduate students took part in the programme.

According to Mrs Venter the programme was implemented at the UFS in 2003.  “At that stage we only had 5 grant holders.  This year there are 24 Ph D and magister students on the programme,” she said. 

A couple of young promising researchers, who will be participating in the programme in 2007, also attended last night’s recognition function.

The guest speaker was Prof Jonathan Jansen, Dean:  Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria (UP).  He gave tips to young and promising researchers on how to be an outstanding scholar.

Nine professors were also congratulated with their promotion to senior research professor, namely Proff Louise Cilliers (Department of English and Classical Languages), James du Preez (Department of Microbial,  Biochemical and Food Biotechnology), Johan Grobbelaar (Department of Plant Sciences), Dingie Janse van Rensburg (Centre for Health Systems Research and Development), Dap Louw (Department of Psychology), Philip Nel (Department of Afro-asiatic Studies and Language Practice and Sign Language), Louis Scott (Department of Plant Sciences), Dirk van den Berg (Department of History of Art) and  Andries Raath (Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law).

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
10 February 2006

 

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