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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

Understanding the nature of prominence
2014-03-14

 

What did Hendrik Verwoerd and Steve Biko have in common? Or perhaps Johannes Kerkorrel and Brenda Fassie?

“They all possessed a certain natural predisposition to prominence,” says Prof Paul Fouche, reseacher in psychobiography at the University of the Free State’s Department of Psychology.

Prof Fouche and a team of researchers from other South African universities released findings on psychobiographical studies done on personalities that played a great role in our history.

The studies show that notable historical figures were very often prolific readers with a passion for literature since childhood. Generally, they also had a great love for nature and a sense of the sacredness of it, as well as a love for the cosmos.

The study further reveals that many of them were forced to take up leadership roles in the family from a very young age and were driven to succeed in order to take care of their own.

In many of these cases, there was a strong partner who supported the leader while they went about the business of governing their world.

Psychobiography is the systematic and descriptively-rich case study of renowned, enigmatic or even contentious individuals in socio-historical contexts within a psychological frame of reference. Over the past decade, psychobiography has become an established research genre and a methodology used by various academics and scholars in the field of life history research.

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