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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

Odeion School of Music Camerata to perform in Russia
2013-07-31

 

31 July 2013

OSM CAMERATA "Die Spokewals" by Hendrik Hofmeyr under the baton of Jan Moritz Onken (YouTube)

After a successful audition, the Odeion School of Music Camerata (OSMC) received an invitation to participate in the 13th International Conservatory Festival which will take place in St Petersburg, Russia, from 1 to 9 November 2013. The festival is a yearly highlight on the concert calendar of the prestigious Rimsky Korsakov Conservatoire.

The artistic panel of the festival, under the leadership of Prof Lydia Volchek, annually selects ten international conservatories to gather in St Petersburg for the festival. Some of the participants include the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire: Moscow, Conservatoire de Paris, Eastman School of Music NY and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki Finland. According to the Rector of the Rimsky Korsakov Conservatoire, Prof Mikhail Gantvarg, it will be the first ever school of music hailing from Africa to participate in the festival.

The OSMC was requested to give two recitals of 40 minutes each during the festival. Maestro Jan Moritz Onken (Chief Conductor of the OSMC for 2013) will lead the ensemble to St Petersburg. OSMC members will have the opportunity to attend all concerts presented by fellow participants as well as masters’ classes presented by the masters of St Petersburg Conservatoire.

The festival is usually opened and closed with a grand concert presented by the St Petersburg Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra (70 plus members). Last year the opening concert was conducted by the celebrated master, Valery Gergiev (artistic director of the Mariinsky Opera and Symphony Orchestra), while the closing ceremony was conducted by Semyon Bychkov – reciting the Leningrad Symphony by Shostakovich. Both Gergiev and Bychkov are alumni of the St Petersburg Conservatoire.

All recitals at the festival will be presented in the Opera and Theatre Hall of the Conservatoire, as well as in the acclaimed Glazunov Concert Hall located within the colossal conservatory building.

The OSMC will recite a programme of mainly South African composers, with two new works commissioned by the OSM New Music Initiative. These were written by the prolific South African composer, Hendrik Hofmeyr: laureate of the Queen Elizabeth International Composition Competition, entitled Spokewals / Phantom Waltz and Notturno Elegiaco. Spokewals / Phantom Waltz is a challenging work where musicians simultaneously play, sing and speak.

A reworked edition for chamber orchestra of the original string quartet for piano and soprano, Liedere op Boesman-verse, by revered South African composer, Stefans Grové, will also be performed. To commemorate the centenary of composer Benjamin Britten this year, Cantus in Memoriam of Benjamin Britten by Arvo Pärt is also included in the programme.

After participating at the festival in St Petersburg, the ensemble will depart for a two-day visit to Moscow where the OSMC will perform an ’All South African’ programme.

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