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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

Kovsie students’ artworks selected for Absa L’Atelier Awards 2013
2013-03-24

 

Learners from Ferrum High School in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, admiring the artworks at the Centenary gallery.
Photo: Linda Fekisi
24 March 2013

Four artworks by Kovsie students have been selected for the 2013 Absa L’Atelier Awards. The artworks will form part of the national Absa L’Atelier exhibition later this year, which will be held at the Absa Gallery in Johannesburg.

Mandi Bezuidenhout, Louis Kruger and Johannes Botma, all master’s students in Fine Arts, have been selected as finalists for the central region of the prestigious competition.Two artworks of Louis, and one each of Mandi and Johannes, have been selected for the awards. Pauline Gutter, a former Kovsie student, has also been selected as finalist for the central region.

The Absa L’Atelier is South Africa’s most prestigious art competition and is held annually for artists between the ages of 21 and 35. This award not only ensures recognition for South Africa’s emerging artists, but also affords them the opportunity to develop their talents abroad. The winner of last year’s competition, Elrie Joubert, graduated with a master’s in Fine Arts from the UFS in 2010.

Four prizes are available in 2013’s competition. The first prize consists of R125 000 and a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. An Apersand Foundation Residency in New York City and a Sylt Foundation Residency on the Island of Sylt, Germany, will be granted through two merit awards. The most promising artist will receive the Gerard Sekoto Award of R80 000, as well as a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.

The Absa L’Atelier art competition is run in conjunction with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA).

An exhibition of artworks from the central region is currently on display at the Centenary Gallery, upstairs in the Centenary Complex, until 28 March 2013. The gallery will be open on 20, 25, 26, 27, and 28 March from 10:00 to 15:00.


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