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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

Groundwater management vital for groundwater sustainability
2016-11-09

Description: Dr Yolanda Kotzé Tags: Dr Yolanda Kotzé

Dr Yolanda Kotzé, Affiliated Researcher in the
UFS Institute for Groundwater Studies, is passionate
about the management of groundwater.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

An interest in groundwater resource management ignited the spark for a PhD research thesis by Dr Yolanda Kotzé, Affiliated Researcher in the Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Her PhD research thesis titled, A Framework for Groundwater Use Authorisations as Part of Groundwater Governance in Water Scarce Areas within South Africa, was the result of her interest in groundwater resource management. Dr Kotzé identified the agricultural sector as one of the major water users, and a decision was made to conduct research within this sector.  

Research funded by Institute for Groundwater Studies
Groundwater is water found underground in cracks and spaces in soil, sand, and rocks. It is stored in, and moves slowly through geological formations of soil, sand, and rocks (aquifers). The National Department of Water and Sanitation was indirectly the client for this research. The research project was funded by the IGS. Given the current drought, effective groundwater resource management can be achieved within all sectors through sustainable abstraction and use without over-abstraction.

“Groundwater can be effectively managed
in the agricultural sector by sustainable use,
monitoring the quantity of groundwater use,
and measuring groundwater levels,”
said Dr Kotzé.

Research addresses improvement of groundwater management
Her promotor, mentor, teacher, and friend, the late Prof Gerrit van Tonder, introduced her to the field of Geohydrology, and especially to groundwater resource management. “With my research, I made a significant contribution to the improvement of groundwater governance and groundwater resource management, as well as to the handling of groundwater use authorisations for irrigation purposes in South Africa,” said Dr Kotzé. With this significant contribution, she attempts to address the phenomenon of poor groundwater allocation and groundwater resource management by means of a framework. The development of this framework has shown the value of action research in an attempt to find a solution to a problem. “Groundwater can be effectively managed in the agricultural sector by sustainable use, monitoring the quantity of groundwater use, and measuring groundwater levels,” said Dr Kotzé.

The methodology of the research consisted primarily of action research, which has a five-phase cyclical process. The research was Dr Kotzé’s application for a PhD in Geohydrology at the UFS in 2012. The research was completed in 2015.

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