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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

Names are not enough: a molecular-based information system is the answer
2016-06-03

Description: Department of Plant Sciences staff Tags: Department of Plant Sciences staff

Prof Wijnand Swart (left) from the Department of
Plant Sciences at the UFS and Prof Pedro Crous
from the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS),
in the Netherlands.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

South Africa is the second-largest exporter of citrus in the world, producing 60% of all citrus grown in the Southern Hemisphere. It exports more than 70 % of its citrus crop to the European Union and USA. Not being able to manage fungal pathogens effectively can have a serious impact on the global trade in not only citrus but also other food and fibre crops, such as bananas, coffee, and cacao.

The Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted a public lecture by Prof Pedro W. Crous entitled “Fungal Pathogens Impact Trade in Food and Fibre: The Need to Move Beyond Linnaeus” on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Prof Crous is Director of the world’s largest fungal Biological Resource Centre, the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS), in the Netherlands. He is also one of the top mycologists in the world.

Since the topic of his lecture was very pertinent to food security and food safety worldwide, it was co-hosted by the Collaborative Consortium for Broadening the Food Base, a multi-institutional research programme managed by Prof Wijnand Swart in the Department of Plant Sciences.

Reconsider the manner in which pathogens are identified

Prof Crous stressed that, because international trade in products from agricultural crops will expand, the introduction of fungal pathogens to new regions will increase. “There is therefore an urgent need to reconsider the manner in which these pathogens are identified and treated,” he said.

According to Prof Crous, the older Linnaean system for naming living organisms cannot deal with future trade-related challenges involving pests and pathogens. A system, able to identify fungi based on their DNA and genetic coding, will equip scientists with the knowledge to know what they are dealing with, and whether it is a friendly or harmful fungus.

Description: The fungus, Botrytis cinerea Tags: The fungus, Botrytis cinerea

The fungus, Botrytis cinerea, cause of grey mould
disease in many fruit crops.
Photo: Prof Wijnand Swart

Embrace the molecular-based information system

Prof Crous said that, as a consequence, scientists must embrace new technologies, such as the molecular-based information system for fungi, in order to provide the required knowledge.

He presented this very exciting system which will govern the manner in which fungal pathogens linked to world trade are described. This system ensures that people from different countries will know with which pathogen they are dealing. Further, it will assist with the management of pathogens, ensuring that harmful pathogens do not spread from one country to another.

More about Prof Pedro Crous


Prof Crous is an Affiliated Professor at six international universities, including the UFS, where he is associated with the Department of Plant Sciences. He has initiated several major activities to facilitate global research on fungal biodiversity, and has published more than 600 scientific papers, many in high impact journals, and authored or edited more than 20 books.

 

 

Biography Prof Pedro Crous
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B


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