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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

Macufe Wordfest and UFS bring literary practitioners together
2017-10-18

Description: Macufe Wordfest  Tags: Macufe Wordfest
The Macufe Wordfest attracted language practitioners from
the Free State and Eastern Cape Province. From the left are:
Dr Elias Malete (UFS: African Languages),
Prof Johannes Malefetsane Lenake (honoured guest),
Nthabiseng Naketsana (Eastern Cape: Head of
Provincial Languages Services), Shoaneng Sefali
(Chairperson: Free State Writers Forum), Mariaan Otto
(Language Practitioner at FS government) and
Dr Mathene Abram Mahanke (Free State: Head of Provincial
Languages Services). Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

The University of the Free State (UFS) has a responsibility to advance good stakeholder relationships with public and government entities by creating opportunities for collaborative projects. According to Dr Elias Malete, Senior Lecturer and Academic Head at the Department of African Languages, this is why it is important for the UFS to be involved in projects such as Macufe Wordfest.

His department and the UFS Library, in collaboration with the Provincial Languages Services, hosted Wordfest on the Bloemfontein Campus as part of the Mangaung Cultural Festival. He says the main focus of the word festival, held from 4-6 October 2017 in the Economic and Management Sciences Auditorium, was to bring together literary practitioners from the Free State and Eastern Cape.

Prof Malefetsane Lenake honoured
“In this festival, budding authors have a platform to read their works to fellow practitioners, seasoned authors use their experience and expertise to assist budding and aspiring authors, and published authors have the opportunity to launch their new books,” says Dr Malete. 

Highlights included the recognition of longstanding, retired academic, Prof Johannes Malefetsane Lenake, for his contribution to the development of Sesotho, and the awarding of trophies to learners who wrote excellent essays in Sesotho, Setswana, isiXhosa and isiZulu about the life of OR Tambo.

First African Languages Writers Day
On 30 August 2017 various Sesotho writers’ organisations gathered at the UFS Sasol Library to celebrate the first African Languages Writers Day. It was hosted by Department of African Languages and the UFS library and mapped a way forward on ways to promote African Languages recognised by the Free State language policy.

The goal was to promote and preserve African languages, unearth writers, share ideas, and help to shape the future. Dr Malete says such events are important to ensure that UFS “is a people-centred institution where the educational and developmental needs of local communities are catered for”.

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