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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

New conductor of OSM Camerata is one of South Africa’s most successful young people
2014-03-27

 
Mr Xavier Cloete

The OSM Camerata at the University of the Free State boasts with a young renowned conductor to lead them in the next season.

Mr Xavier Cloete, winner of the 2013 National Len van Zyl Conductor’s Competition, will conduct the Camerata during the Odeion School of Music’s opening concert.

He completed his BMus degree at the University of Stellenbosch in 2011 with bassoon and orchestral conducting as main instruments and is currently employed by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO).

As winner of the Len van Zyl Competition, he completed a conducting internship with the famous Philadelphia Orchestra, which gave him the opportunity to work with acclaimed conductors. He also studied at the Bienen School of Music (Northwestern University) in the Advanced Graduate Conducting Class of Prof Victor Yampolski.

Last year Xavier was also invited to attend the first Sasha Mäkilä International Master Classes in Finland.

His love and passion for music started early in his life – and somewhat coincidentally - in church.

“I was learning to play a few hymns on my dad’s Hammond organ at home. One Sunday our church organist didn’t turn up and I nonchalantly moved in behind the organ. It went very well.”

Xavier ascribes his success to lots of hard work and his love for music.
“My passion for music drives me to work hard. Hard work shows that you are dedicated and this is again seen in the successes you achieve. The reward of one’s hard work is the best instrument.”

He will be making his international debut with the St Michel’s City Orchestra (Finland) during April 2014.


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