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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

Societal perceptions of women in politics in Cameroon must change
2017-08-30

 Description: Prof Atanga readmore Tags: Prof Lilian Atanga, University of Bamenda, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Africa Studies, political participation of women 

Prof Lilian Lem Atanga presented a lecture,
Gender, Discourse and Cognition and Implications on
Political Participation, 
as part of the First Humanities
and Gendered Worlds Lecture 2017.
Photo: Charl Devenish


Women have not internalised the fact that they can participate on an equal footing in politics with men. This is one of the conclusions made by Prof Lilian Lem Atanga in a study of the political participation of women in Cameroon.
“There still is a strong belief that women can’t deliver the goods (in areas such as politics),” Prof Atanga said. According to her, stereotypes were still entrenched in Africa and a lot had to be done to change societal perceptions of the role of women in politics.

Poor representation of women in politics
Prof Atanga, an associate professor at the University of Bamenda in Cameroon, was guest speaker at the First Humanities and Gendered Worlds Lecture 2017. The lecture was hosted by the Faculty of Humanities and the Centre for Africa Studies (CAS) at the University of the Free State (UFS) in the Equitas Auditorium, Bloemfontein Campus, on 3 August 2017. The title of the research fellow’s lecture at the CAS lecture was Gender, Discourse and Cognition and Implications on Political Participation.
She noted that although there had been a marked increase in the political participation of women in Cameroon, it still was insufficient. Of the 24 million people in the country, 52% were women but only 20% of the senators and 31% of parliamentarians were women. 

Gender-segregated roles affect participation 
And there are many reasons for this. “A lot more women still believe in gender-segregated roles and this affects their political participation.” Many men also don’t approve of women’s political participation.
In her study Prof Atanga found that stereotypes were also emphasised in the way the media in Cameroon reported on the roles of women. 

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