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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

Odeion School of Music prepares for Europe
2012-05-09

 

Travelling to Europe in July will be, from the left: Lebogang Ledwaba (21); Maja van Dyk (19); Kgaugelo Mpyane (22); Neo Phambuka; and Heinrich Lategan (18)
Photo: Hannes Pieterse
9 May 2012

Ten young musicians from the Odeion School of Music (OSM) will travel to Europe later this year after being selected as members of the 2012 Miagi Youth Symphony Orchestra.

These talented musicians will play at venues in Germany and Austria in July 2012. As part of the Miagi Youth Symphony Orchestra, they will share the stage with some of the best youth orchestras from around the world. On the orchestra’s itinerary is a performance at the Young Euro Classic Festival in Germany where they are scheduled to perform at the opening concert. The Young Euro Classic is the world’s premier festival for symphonic youth orchestras. Before their trip to Europe, the Miagi Youth Orchestra will play at a farewell concert at the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg.

The Miagi Youth Orchestra operates under the auspices of a non-profit organisation MIAGI (Music Is A Great Investment). The organisation covers all costs of the European tour.

Ms Ingrid Hedlund, Creative Manager of Miagi, says 88 young musicians have been selected for the 2012 events and tour of Europe. She finds the level of talent of the students studying at the Odeion School of Music very high. That is why so many students from the OSM were selected to play in the orchestra.

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