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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

Humour a powerful tool to address serious issues
2017-12-06


 Description: Michelle Malan  Tags: Michelle Malan  

Michelle Malan received a Dean’s medal from the Faculty of Humanities at the mid-year
graduation ceremonies for her Master’s degree.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

People, in most contexts, are more open to engage in serious issues such as politics and economics if it is presented in a humorous way. This makes humour a very powerful tool to address burning issues in our society.

These are some of the findings in the research of Michelle Malan, a part time lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and Language Practice at the University of the Free State (UFS). 

How comedians and cartoonists use humour
The basic premise of her research, titled The Intersemiotic Translation of Humour, was to see how comedians and cartoonists take news stories and translate it into humour. She received the Dean’s medal for the best Master’s degree in the Faculty of the Humanities at the mid-year graduation ceremonies in June 2017.

“More specifically, I explored how the medium constrains potential meaning-making in cases of intersemiotic translation in which humour is constructed,” she says.

Cartoon vs a comic television show
According to her the medium in which a message is given, in this case comedy, definitely influences how one is able to form meaning from it. “For instance, a cartoon (visual medium) would have a different meaning-making potential than a comic television show.”

She also notes that one must understand the workings of humour, which includes the mediums in which it is presented, so that the intended humour does not do more harm than good. 

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