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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

State of our campuses: UFS closes campuses until Friday 28 October 2016 to readjust academic programme
2016-10-13

The senior leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) has carefully analysed all the risks facing the university in the current national crisis in higher education, which includes the possibility of losing the academic year. The university management has been engaged in back-to-back meetings with the student leadership, South African Police Service (SAPS), and other stakeholders over the past two days in an attempt to ensure the safety of all parties, and normalise the academic functioning of the UFS.  Unfortunately, we have been unable to arrive at an agreement about the resumption of the academic year regardless of the timing of the government response to students’ demands. This is further complicated by the fact that the university has received notice of intention of an  interdict to reopen with immediate effect.

Taking all of this into account, the senior leadership of the UFS has decided as follows:

  1. The UFS will not be shutting down for the remainder of 2016. The Bloemfontein and South Campuses will, however, be shutting down from Thursday 13 October 2016 until Friday 28 October 2016. These two weeks will be used for crucial and complex arrangements to be put in place to readjust the academic calendar and ensure that all students can complete their studies.
  2. The academic arrangements are focused on organising alternative modes of delivery of our programmes to support student learning. Academics will be working on readjusting their course materials for this purpose.
  3. The Bloemfontein Campus and the South Campuses will be closed for undergraduate and honours students. Administrative and academic staff will be working, as well as master's and doctoral students.
  4. Students in residence will have to vacate their rooms by 12:00 on Saturday 15 October 2016. Students who need help in this regard must please contact +27 51 401 2001 or send an email to hotline@ufs.ac.za.
  5. Arrangements will be made to accommodate international, master's, and doctoral students.
  6. The specific information about academic programmes will be communicated to students by their respective faculties as it becomes available.

The senior leadership wants to restate its commitment to free education as well as its willingness to stand together with students and other public universities to impress on government the urgency to decide on a time frame for the roll-out of free higher education for the poor and missing middle. During these two weeks the UFS will meet with the leadership of Universities South Africa to coordinate collective action in this regard.

 Consistent with this commitment the UFS leadership will roll out a series of activities to inform and educate students and the general public on different models and experiences of providing free higher education. 

 The UFS is deeply concerned about the possible securitisation of our campus as a way of solving this crisis.

 The UFS condemns in the strongest terms violence as a methodology to achieve ends in the context of a democratic state.We are, as always, committed to providing quality education and a conducive environment for learning.

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