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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

Is Al-Qaeda operating in South Africa?
2014-09-29

 
Our Department of Political Studies and Governance recently hosted a seminar with investigative journalist De Wet Potgieter – author of the book, ‘Black Widow White Widow’.During the seminar, Potgieter reflected on the research he has conducted for the book, revealing the unsettling presence of Al-Qaeda in South Africa.

The ‘White Widow’ in the book’s title refers to Samantha Lewthwaite, a British woman who was found in South Africa with a fraudulent passport. She was later linked to the Westgate shopping mall attack which took place in Nairobi, Kenya on 21 September 2013. In this mass shooting at least 67 people died and over 175 people were wounded. The Islamist group al-Shabaab – which is also linked to Al-Qaeda – claimed responsibility for the incident.

In contrast, the ‘Black Widow’ is the disclosed identity of an Afrikaans-speaking self-styled spy, who after being widowed became a counter-terrorist operative.

Potgieter’s book divulges details of Al-Qaeda paramilitary and urban warfare training on a secluded farm in the Little Karoo and reveals details of the support they receive from various local extremist groups. Potgieter’s investigation spans across two years and suggests possible future attacks from, or on, South African soil.

“South Africa plays a role in the bigger picture for Al-Qaeda Islamic terrorism,” Potgieter said. “For instance, the Navy Seal team who killed Bin Laden found reports pointing to active Al-Qaeda/Islamist presence in South Africa. South Africans need to know we are under siege by a small, well-trained Al Qaeda terrorist cell. Yet, operations – of which I know, but cannot disclose much – are also underway to contain these matters,” Potgieter added.

Potgieter’s sources suggest that Al-Qaeda has been active in South Africa since the 2010 FIFA World Cup already. The South African government seems to turn a blind eye, though, despite CIA and MI6 requests and enquiries on the matter.


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