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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

Autumn Graduation Ceremony a thrilling showcase
2013-04-19

 

Yolanda du Toit from the Department Student Academic Services is the proud mother of three daughters who all received qualifications at the Autumn Graduation. Maryke (left) received her certificate in Certified Financial Planning. She already has degrees in B.Com. Law and LLB. Amandi (centre) received her B.Ed and twin sister received her degree in consumer science.
Photo: Renè-Jean van der Berg
19 April 2013

Gareth Cliff video clip
Vicus and Vincent Visser video clip
Joshua Johnson video clip
Graduation YouTube video clip

Photo Gallery

The university’s Autumn Graduation Ceremony infused the Bloemfontein Campus with exhilaration last week.

Beaming with pride, graduates received 526 diplomas/certificates and 2 796 bachelor’s and honours degrees in total.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, lead each procession of graduates from the Red Square down the path to the Callie Human Centre while the beat of drums filled the air. “To break the cycle of poverty, get an education, get a degree,” Prof Jansen urged graduates during their respective ceremonies. He underscored the fact that, as graduates, they are ten times more likely to get a job, with the odds rising as they continue their postgraduate studies.

Dr Khotso Mohele, Chancellor of the university, advised graduates not to allow life’s obstacles to discourage them. “Take what you have learned over the last three or four years and use that knowledge to reach your goal,” he said. He also emphasised that graduates need to be able to take standpoint against issues.

Graduates’ ceremonies were made even more memorable by various local and international speakers and performers.

American student and tap-dancer, Joshua Johnson, inspired the audience with his story of hope and perseverance. As a student from Penn State University, he travels five hours by bus to New York every weekend where he dances on the subway train to earn money for his tuition fees. Joshua told graduates that, in order to achieve their goals, they have to make the best use of the 24 hours they get to live daily. “Don’t follow in the footsteps of someone else. Take the beat of life, but add your rhythm to it," his wise words resonated with the exhilarated graduates. The audience could not help but clap to the rhythmic beat of his tap-dancing performance.

Vicus Visser, dubbed Bloemfontein’s Justin Bieber was also on the list of performers. Vicus – a South African YouTube singing sensation – performed with his brother, Vincent, to the delight of the crowd.

Radio personality and Idols South Africa judge, Gareth Cliff, was also among the speakers who addressed the graduates during the week. “It’s a good time be alive, a good time to be a South African, a good time to be a qualified South African,” he said. “It’s a time in our country’s development that we require minds such as yours to propel us forward,” was part of his message. Gareth also stressed the freedom of speech in South Africa, especially the freedom of the media.

The Autumn Graduation Ceremony of 2013 was an immense success and filled the hearts of Kovsie graduates, students, staff, parents, family and friends with overwhelming pride.

The Qwaqwa Campus’ graduation ceremony will take place on 8 June 2013. Diplomas / certificates up to and including doctorates will be awarded at this ceremony.

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