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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

Plant researcher receives prestigious Grain SA award
2016-10-21

Description: Plant researcher receives prestigious Grain SA award Tags: Plant researcher receives prestigious Grain SA award

Prof Zakkie Pretorius from the UFS Department
of Plant Sciences with Andries Theron,
vice-chairman of Grain SA. Theron presented
the award to Prof Pretorius at Grain SA’s a
nnual gala event, which was held in Midrand
this year.
Photo (read more): Supplied
Photo (spotlight): Charl Devenish

A researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof Zakkie Pretorius, received the prestigious Grain Producer of the Year Inspiration Award during the annual gala event of Grain SA. Grain SA provides strategic commodity support and services to South African grain producers to assist in the sustainability of the sector.

This award is presented to individuals or organisations in appreciation of excellent contributions to the grain industry. These individuals have also achieved extraordinary results in their respective fields.

Research in the interest of food security
Prof Pretorius has been involved in research on plant diseases and food crops for the past 38 years. His research focus, rust diseases in crops, is especially important for food security.  

According to Prof Pretorius, who collaborates with an extensive network of specialist colleagues, his research covers a variety of topics including rust race identification, the discovery of new resistance genes, characterisation of resistance expression in plants, and the mapping of genes. His focus is not only on wheat, but he also researches rust diseases in oats, barley, maize, dry beans, lentils, sunflowers, and soybeans.

Breeding of rust-resistant varieties gains scientific basis
Locally, he has been contracted for several years by the Winter Grain Trust to annually evaluate commercial wheat cultivars and elite germplasm. This information is regularly passed on to the relevant seed companies and breeders, and is also included in the production guidelines of the Agricultural Research Council for disease risk assessment. His research places the breeding and selection of rust-resistant varieties on a solid scientific foundation. A living collection of rust fungus cultures and a large germplasm collection are maintained at the UFS under his supervision.

 

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