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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

“We relied on outsiders to document our histories.” – Zanele Muholi delivers Women’s Day Lecture
2014-08-13

 

Zanele Muholi
Photo: Stephen Collett

“Our society is decaying because of hate crimes against LGBTI groups. You can’t say it does not affect you, because each of us is at least connected to one person [of LGBTI orientation].”

These words by Zanele Muholi, photographer and visual activist of LGBTI rights, who delivered the Women’s Day Lecture. The event commemorated Women’s Day and took place on Thursday 7 August 2014 at the Bloemfontein Campus. The lecture was hosted by the Centre for Africa Studies, as part of their Gender Studies Programme.

Muholi screened photographs featuring lesbian couples and recounted their all-too-real life stories. Her work emphasises the importance of queering the normative gaze by representing black lesbians in ‘straight’ portraits in a collection of works titled ‘Faces and Phases’. By focusing on lesbians in her work, Muholi shows that women in same sex relationships are just women, with the same dreams and aspirations as their heterosexual sisters.

But lesbian women carry an additional, grave fear – that of corrective rape. Muholi speaks on this topic in the video, ‘We live in fear’, which she screened during her talk. The documentary features the lives of lesbian women in Kwa Thema township in Johannesburg. Shockwaves spread through this settlement in 2008 after the brutal killing of a lesbian woman and the ensuing series of hate crimes against the LGBTI community.

Zanele describes her work as “documenting our own stories. For years we relied on outsiders to document our histories. We should do it ourselves.”

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