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07 May 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Noko Masalesa
Noko Masalesa, Director of Protection Services, in conversation with students and stakeholders to plan a safe way forward.

Safety and security are human rights that constitute social justice. At the centre of the agenda at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Social Justice Week held on the Bloemfontein Campus from 17-22 April 2019 were discussions about off-campus safety. Stakeholders agreed on an upgrade to security measures in order to ensure the success and wellbeing of the student population.

A call to students

Prof John Mubangizi, Dean of the Faculty of Law, in his capacity as representative of the UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, expressed his view on institutions of higher learning no longer functioning as ivory towers. “For any initiative to succeed, collaboration is necessary between key roleplayers,” he said.

He aptly pointed out that: “We cannot underscore the importance of safety and security, not only for the university but also for the communities around us. What the university does benefits the community and vice versa. I pledge the university’s commitment to play a leading part to ensure that the collaboration works,” said Prof Mubangizi.

Beefing up security: Who is involved?

In view of the collaborative effort Prof Mubangizi alluded to, the engagement was twofold. First was the roundtable discussion facilitated by Protection Services which then escalated into a public dialogue where students had the opportunity to interact with external delegates.

The South African Police Services, Community Police Forum, Private Security, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Provincial Commissioner, and Deputy Minister of Police were well represented in this critical conversation. Internally, members of Protection Services, Housing and Residence Affairs, Student Affairs, Institute for Social Justice and Reconciliation, Student Representative Council, and the Department of Criminology heard the plight of off-campus safety faced by students.

Changes in the horizon

The discussions culminated with recommendations which will see the future of student safety take a different direction. According to Skhululekile Luwaca, former SRC president, these include “the municipality’s commitment to immediately address issues such as street lights and enforcing by-laws, ensuring an integrated accreditation system, and drafting a policy for off-campus accommodation, running more crime awareness campaigns, and giving police patrols more visibility.”

In addition to resolving to set up a student safety forum with all the stakeholders, the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has invited the UFS to join Reclaim the City – a safety forum where practical solutions to crime are devised and implemented on a weekly basis.


News Archive

OSM Camerata among final six in international online competition
2017-08-28

 Description: OSM Camerata Tags: Odeion School of Music Camerata, International Ictus Music Competition, Stilian Kirov, ensembles, orchestras 

The Odeion School of Music Camerata at the University of
the Free State celebrated its fifth birthday in May 2017.
Photo: Supplied 

One of six – and the only contender from outside the United States of America. This is the extent of the achievement by the Odeion School of Music Camerata (OSMC) – one of six finalists in the 2017 International Ictus Music Competition.
The OSMC at the University of the Free State reached the final round of the competition, of which the winners will be announced on 1 September 2017. The competition is an innovative new online competition for ensembles, orchestras, and band/wind ensembles (middle school, high school, youth ensemble, community ensemble, and college/conservatory/university) that compete through video submission.

Odeion concert recorded as entry
The OSMC celebrated its fifth birthday on 31 May 2017, hosting a concert as part of the first round of the competition in the Odeion on the Bloemfontein Campus. The concert, which also served as a fundraising opportunity, consisted of a carefully curated concert programme which was recorded and submitted to the Ictus panel.

The repertoire for the concert, supported by a Concerts SA grant from the Samro Music Foundation, was commissioned from South African composers. Maestri Xavier Cloete and Gerhard de Jager served as conductors.

Substantial money prizes can be won, and ensembles will receive written feedback from a jury consisting of renowned maestri including Stilian Kirov, who was awarded 1st Prize in the Debut Berlin Competition on 18 May 2017. Top prize-winners will be interviewed and interviews will be broadcasted internationally.


Five years of many highlights

The OSMC was strategically founded in 2012 by Marius Coetzee as the OSM’s flagship chamber ensemble, with the main objective of creating a catalyst for excellence.

Over the past five years, the OSMC has premiered 15 new works by South African composers specially commissioned for them. A highlight remains its participation in the 13th International Conservatory Festival in St Petersburg Russia, where the ensemble received a standing ovation during a gala concert in the Glazunov Concert Hall.

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