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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

Emily Matabane transforms perceptions of the deaf community
2014-09-22

 

Emily Matabane

September is International Deaf Awareness Month and Emily Matabane – a lecturer at our Department of Sign Language – let us into the world of the deaf. A world she herself lives in.

Through the aid of Tshisikhawe Dzivhani, an interpreter, Matabane shared her experiences with us in a question and answer (Q & A) session.

Q: Tell us about your career as a lecturer in Sign Language.

A: I started working at the university as a Sign Language lecturer in 2000. I have a lot of deaf and hard of hearing people in my family and I also went to a deaf school. My mother is hard hearing and after graduation I taught her sign language. This made me want to teach other people sign language, who in turn will teach more people as well.

Q: What are common misconceptions about the deaf community?

A: Hearing people will often think you are stupid if you are deaf. But in fact we can still understand people – for instance, if they write down what they want to say when we don’t have an interpreter with us.

People also thought I couldn’t drive or buy a car because I am deaf – while I actually had a valid driver’s license. When I wanted to get a loan at the bank to buy my car, they wanted a doctor’s letter to prove that I’m allowed to drive, even though I have a license. Eventually, I did get the loan and I did buy the car!

Q: How can hearing people support the deaf community?

A: People can learn sign language. That is what I wanted to achieve when coming to university as a Sign Language lecturer. Hearing students who will become psychologists, teachers and social workers will be able to work with deaf people and perhaps teach others sign language too. Deaf people simply need more people to socialise with them.

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