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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

‘Celebrating the music of our times’
2013-07-25

 

25 July 2013

The Odeion School of Music’s (OSM) New Music Week, hosted from 17–20 July 2013, offered an experience of profundity.

This was the second week-long festival of its kind to be hosted by the OSM – last year the 90th birthday of the South African composer, Stefans Grové, was celebrated with concerts and a symposium. This year the New Music Week focused on the visit of Ensemble Trans-Z under the artistic leadership of former OSM student, Alfred Vorster, a composer living in Zürich. The Order of the Odeion School of Music was bestowed upon Vorster during the festival. The members of the ensemble are the Belgian pianist Lukas Huisman, Danré Strydom (currently an OSM doctoral student in clarinet, based in Ghent), the Argentinian violinist Juan Braceras and the Swedish cellist Karolina Öhman (both currently living in Basel, Switzerland).

The week included three lectures. Lukas Huisman elucidated his doctoral project, Alfred Vorster offered an analytical perspective on the work of Helmut Lachenmann and Hannes Taljaard (Potchefstroom) delivered a commentary on his own composition practice. In addition to presenting masters’ classes in their individual instruments, Ensemble Trans-Z also hosted two workshops – one for the Mangaung String Project and another for OSM students and staff. These workshops focused on creative improvisation practices within an avant-garde style.

The highlight of the festival was two gala concerts that were held on 19 and 20 July. The first concert was hosted by Ensemble Trans-Z themselves, with a selection of compositions in the avant-garde style. The programme included challenging listening material and was creatively presented with unconventional lighting techniques and visual material.

The concert on 20 July consisted of New Music of a more conventional nature. The Odeion String Quartet offered a varied presentation which consisted of a rich mix of talent. OSM postgraduate students Marianne Cilliers, Karol Legierski and Eljee du Plooy formed part of this spectacular performance. The OSM flute lecturer, Handri Loots and the members of Ensemble Trans-Z supplied additional depth to the concert. The experience was made extra special by the recently-formed New Music Ensemble of the School of Music at the North-West University – led by Augusto Arias. Under conductorship of Jan-Moritz Onken, the OSM Camerata completed this impressive collaboration.

The Camerata’s recital of Hendrik Hofmeyr’s Phantom Waltz, which the composer newly arranged especially for this ensemble, was but one of the artistic highlights of an inspiring presentation.

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