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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

Chemistry research group receives international recognition
2016-10-28

Description: Chemistry research group  Tags: Chemistry research group

Dr Carla Pretorius mounts microcrystals with
Dumisani Kama while Pennie Mokolokolo
observe the technique.
Photo: Supplied


Crystals and crystallography form an integrated part of our daily lives, from bones and teeth, to medicines and viruses, new catalysts, jewellery, colour pigments, chocolates, analysing rocks on the moon and Mars, electronics, batteries, metal blades in airplane turbines, panels for solar energy and many more.

In spite of this, not many people know much about X-ray crystallography, although it is probably one of the greatest innovations of the 20th century, spanning the sciences. That is why this discipline is actively researched by a number of tertiary institutions around the globe as well as the Inorganic Chemistry Group of the Department of Chemistry at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Research by the Inorganic Chemistry Group includes:
•    clever design of model medicines to better detect cancer and study heart, bone and brain defects;
•    production of new compounds for making new and better automobile fuels and decrease carbon dioxide in the atmosphere;
•    generation and purification of new South African mineral resources for metals widely used in turbines which use wind energy.

A group of UFS students have received acknowledgement for their research at six international venues in the past few months.

Posters in Cameroon
Twelve postgraduate students, together with Prof André Roodt, Head of the Inorganic Chemistry division at the UFS, delivered three oral presentations, nine posters, one plenary and one keynote lecture abroad.

Four UFS students - Nina Morogoa, Pheello Nkoe, Alebel Bilay, and Mohammed Elmakki - who delivered posters at the First Pan African Conference on Crystallography in Dschang, Cameroon, received prizes for their presentations.

School and conference in Croatia

Students Orbett Alexander and Dumisani Kama were selected to attend the intense and demanding Third European Crystallographic School in Bôl, Croatia. Both Kama, Alexander and Prof Roodt gave oral presentations at the 24th Croatian-Slovenian Crystallographic Meeting at Brac Island, Croatia.

Kama, together with Dr Ferdi Groenewald, Dr Carla Pretorius and Pennie Mokolokolo, also attended the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. The ESRF is a centre of excellence for fundamental and innovation-driven research. The storage ring at this laser facility can generate X-rays 100 billion times brighter than typical medical and laboratory X-ray sources.

Research in Switzerland

Kama and Mokolokolo also spent one month on research visits at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Both Kama and Alexander were invited to present their research orally to the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry in Zurich, headed by Prof Roger Alberto.

In Basel, Switzerland, Dr Ferdi Groenewald, Dr Renier Koen, and Dr Truidie Venter all presented their research at the 30th European Crystallographic Meeting.

Prof Roodt said: “It is incredibly important that our postgraduate students get the chance to interact, discuss, and be taught by the best in the world and realise that hard work on basic and applied chemistry processes leads to broader recognition. The delegates to these international venues came from more than 60 countries and took note of our students work. With these young researchers, our future at the UFS and at Inorganic Chemistry is in good hands”.

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