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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

Africa and her diaspora grace the Africa Century International Writers’ Conference
2012-10-30

30 October 2012

Programme (Pdf format)

The Africa Century International African Writers’ Conference, organised by the wRite associates, in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture, the University of the Free State (UFS) and the SABC, will take place on the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS from 7 to 10 November 2012.This four-day conference will culminate in the 2012 South African Literary Awards ceremony where winners will be honoured.

The conference is dedicated to the memory and contribution of its special advisor and inspiration, Zwelakhe Sisulu, who passed away in October 2012.

The conference has attracted an array of scholars and artists from around the continent. The African diaspora will be one of the main features of the programme. Keynote addresses, the presentation of papers, dance, visual art, comedy, disc jockeying will all feature the Diaspora.
 
“This event will also mark the 21st anniversary of the then-OAU (now-AU) declared International African Writers’ Day (i.e. 7th November). The theme of this is: From Resistance to Creative Mediation: Celebrating a Century of Writing and Literary Intellectuals’ Influence On The Liberation Struggles & Political Impact on Literary Discourse and Development”, said Raks Morakabe Seakhoa, Managing Director of the wRite associates and Project Director of the South African Literary Awards and the Africa Century International African Writers Conference.
 
The patrons of the Africa Century International African Writers’ Conference include; Prof. Kgositsile Keorapetse, Prof. Chinua Achebe, Dr Nadine Gordimer, DrWanguiwaGoro and Dr Hugh Masekela.

“This prospective historical gathering of authors, literary scholars and historians will, as the then-OAU’s Conference of African Ministers of Education and Culture (meeting in Coutonou, Benin, in 1991) resolved, ‘…afford the African people a moment of pause within which to reflect on the contribution of African Writers to the development of the Continent’ ”,Seakhoa added.
 
He said, “We are delighted at the growth of the prestigious South African Literary Awards, as they are now spreading their wings to inaugurate the Africa Century International African Writers’ Conference and opening up to the continent and Diaspora’s writers.”
 
Other highlights of this four-day programme include:

  • An evening with the National Poet Laureate: poetry reading by Prof. Keorapetse Kgositsile and guest poets
  • Nobel Laureate, Nadine Gordimer discusses her latest work, ‘No Time Like The Present’
  • Poetry, comedy and performances
  • Creative writing skills development programme, facilitated by: Prof.KeorapetseKgositsile, Mr Walter Chakela and Dr Oswald Mtshali
  • Tsebo-Lethabo Primary and High Schools programme
  • Books, art & crafts and clothing exhibitions and more 

For more information,visit www.africacenturyconference.org or www.sala.org.za
 

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