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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

Active citizenship key to building healthier communities
2014-09-22

Photo: Mamosa Makaya

The Office of Community Engagement in collaboration with Bloem Shelter, hosted a three-day Indaba on active citizenship. The focus of the event was to engage local government leaders, NGOs and social services groups on creating a society that is healthier, safer and more informed.

The over-arching theme of the Indaba centred on the strengthening of family structures, social and health service delivery, spiritual healing and counselling. Amongst the various speakers was Rev Jennifer Samdaan, Minister in the Methodist Church and community activist. During her presentation, ‘Youth, Women and Children at Risk in South Africa', she highlighted the challenges that women and youth in townships and rural areas deal with in their daily lives. One example is physical and sexual violence while commuting to school and work. Rev Samdaan’s organisation has been instrumental in engaging municipal authorities in the region of Kokstad to provide security and lighting on roads where women are most vulnerable to violent attacks as they commute from work.

Community workers discussed their contributions in the fields of marital and family counselling and mental health support services. They discussed the benefits of their collaboration with local judicial bodies and other community leaders to render services to victims of domestic violence.

Rev Billyboy Ramahlele, Director in the Office of Community Engagement, emphasised the role of leadership and the responsibility of political leaders and citizens alike to ensure accountability in the quest to build a healthier society.

Vanessa Booysen, a neonatal consultant for Newborn Care in South Africa, demonstrated the importance of bonding between mothers and their babies. She called attention to the negative effects on the development of babies when separated from their mothers and the future challenges this causes. Modern medicine also leads to fewer women giving birth naturally. Booysen stressed that "it matters how we are born". She encouraged health practitioners to go back to basics in maternal care to lessen the negative effects that pass onto children into adulthood.

The workshop concluded with an exhibition by various groups that showcased the information resources and services offered to communities in the Free State.

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