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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.


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Prof Annie van den Oever envisions the future of film and visual media in her inaugural lecture
2014-02-07

The university formally welcomed Prof Annie van den Oever, an internationally-recognised film and media scholar, within its academic ranks. Her association with the UFS forms part of an exciting new postgraduate programme in film and visual media being created by the Faculty of the Humanities.

Prof Annie van den Oever delivered her inaugural lecture, “Foundational Questions for a Film and Visual Media Programme”, sharing her extensive knowledge in the field. The lecture attracted an international audience with people following the talk via live streaming from places such as Oslo, Berlin and London.

“Annie is quite a connected person through the film and visual media world,” Prof Lucius Botes, Dean of the Faculty of the Humanities, told the audience in the CR Swart Auditorium. He also referred to the fact that, under the auspices of Prof Van den Oever, two staff members from the faculty completed their master’s degrees at the University Groningen where she also teaches. “I am happy to announce that through Annie’s network we can invest in these young people.”

Prof Suzanne Human, Head of the Department History of Art, applauded the senior leadership for its vision to appoint Prof Van den Oever as extraordinary professor. “We have profoundly benefited and will still benefit from Annie’s obvious enjoyment in sharing her considerable experience and expertise in the design of a programme of film and media studies.”

The new postgraduate programme in film and visual media is being developed in partnership with the departments of Art History and Visual Culture Studies, Drama and Theatre Arts, English and the Department of Afrikaans, Dutch, German and French. The university aims to have the first film students enrol in 2015.

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