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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

Race, technology, and maritime labour in the 19th century
2016-06-23


Prof John T. Grider

 

“When employers
impose
worker identity,
it creates problems.”

What does identity mean to people today, and how is it formed? Religion, politics, race, ethnicity, and gender make up individual and community identity. However, Prof John Grider (University of Wisconsin – La Crosse) is of the opinion that employment moulds our identity, since we spend so much time on the job.

Prof Grider joined the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ) on the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses to discuss his research on the maritime industry, published in his book, Foreign Voyage - Pacific Maritime Labour Identity: 1840 to 1890. “When employers impose worker identity, it creates problems,” he said. Particularly, this “creates instability in communities, and a vulnerability and insecurity amongst the employees”.

To illustrate his point, Prof Grider expanded on the history of 19th-century Atlantic sailors, a highly-skilled workforce, who failed to adapt to changes in their labour environment. Initially, the sea-faring community was very diverse racially. However, as the Pacific, and particularly Asian, marine community gained precedence, this tide turned to such an extent that, in 1886, the Atlantic sailors formed their own Coastal Seamen’s Union in San Francisco, causing a split between Asian and non-Asian sailors. Atlantic sailors had failed to integrate with the new technology of the day (steam power), nor had they accepted the demographic changes that flooded their community rapidly with cheap labour from Chinese shores. 

Prof Grider highlighted the need to maintain an adaptable mentality in the ever- and rapidly-changing labour world, since division amongst workers could lead only to further exploitation of the workforce.

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