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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

Stanford University Talisman group blows Qwaqwa Campus away
2013-03-28

 

'Angelic'. That is how some students described Talisman's rendition of well-known South African hymns and classics.
Photo: Thabo Kessah
28 March 2013


The UFS Qwaqwa Gospel Choir hosted a concert and shared the stage with the Stanford Talisman, a unique group of students from Stanford University in the USA, who sing a wide repertoire of genres, which include indigenous South African songs. According to their website, ‘Talisman was created to explore and perform substantive, cultural music’ and this is some of the music they brought to the Qwaqwa Campus.

“This unique pre-Easter concert brought all of us together through music which knows no boundaries,” said Sipho Mnyakeni, who heads Residence Life on the Qwaqwa Campus.

The Stanford Talisman choir left crowds in awe and disbelief with their rendition of indigenous Sesotho, IsiZulu and IsiXhosa hymns. Some of the songs were well-known classics composed and previously performed by the likes of Hugh Masekela and the late Miriam Makeba. One song that blew the audience away, was the well-known South African struggle song 'Asimbonanga' by Johnny Glegg, which was a tribute to the then incarcerated Nelson Mandela.

The groups were supported by Hlanganani, an IsiZulu traditional music student ensemble, and the poet, Black Butterfly.

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