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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

Emma Sadleir talks about social media etiquette
2016-05-18

Description: Emma Sadlier Tags: Emma Sadlier

Emma Sadleir
Photo: Supplied

“We have all become celebrities, we have become social figures because of our power to publish information. We have all become brands, and we need to protect our brand. Digital content is sometimes dangerous content,” said Sadleir.

On 11 May 2016, the University of the Free State, in collaboration with the Postgraduate School, hosted, Emma Sadleir, a leading social media expert, in the Equitas Auditorium on the Bloemfontein Campus. She is an admitted advocate, specialising in social media law.  Dr Henriette van den Berg, Director of the Postgraduate School, described Sadleir’s presentation as a privilege for all the staff and students who attended.

Sadleir said that there are two important rules that staff and students of an institution should try to follow. The first is not to bring the name of the institution into disrepute; and the second is not to breach the goodwill of the institution or, in other words, not to bite the hand that feeds you.

“The common law, even if there is no policy, is that anything that brings the company into disrepute can lead to disciplinary consequences up to termination,” said Sadleir.

Sadleir focused on hate speech and free speech, stating that free speech is a right that is entrenched in the constitution, but, like every other right, it has limitations. She mentioned Penny Sparrow, Matt Theunissen, Velaphi Khumalo, and Judge Mabel Jansen, all of whom have been lambasted by the public over their racist posts on social media. Sadleir stressed that, even on social media, content has to be within the confines of the law, and people must remember our rights are not absolute. We have a lot of freedoms, but no one cannot disseminate hate speech.

“Would you publish whatever you thinking on a billboard, close to a busy highway with your name, picture and employers details or the institution you studying at? If you have no grounds to justify the comment, do not post it,” warned Sadlier.  

According to the South African Bill of Rights, everyone has the right to privacy, but an expectation of privacy has to be enforced. She said people over-document their lives on social media, decreasing your right to privacy drastically. “It is like CCTV footage of your life. It is simple, the more you take care of your privacy, the more you have,” said Sadleir.

Sadleir said it was important for Facebook users to have privacy settings where they can review posts where they are tagged. According to Sadleir, managing your reputation is not only limited to what you post about yourself but also managing what others post about you.

She cited a 2013 case in the Pretoria High Court in which a new wife wrote a scandalous Facebook post about her husband’s ex-wife, tagging the husband in the post. The courts found both the new wife and the husband guilty of defamation.

“If you have been tagged in something but have not been online and seen the content, you are then an innocent disseminator. The moment you are aware of the post you are liable for the content,” said Sadleir.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently,” Sadleir said, concluding her presentation with the quotation from Warren Buffet.

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