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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

A tale of many cities – new dictionary of place names reveals our heritage
2015-01-28

 

‘The Dictionary of Southern African Place Names’ provides not only the answers, but also gives insight into how our places and our people were shaped. Penned by three academics from the University of the Free State (UFS), it is the fourth edition of this fascinating book.

Prof Peter Raper from the UFS Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment, together with his colleagues Prof Theodorus du Plessis and Dr Lucie Möller, created more than a reference book. They provide the reader with deeper understanding of events, our heroes, beliefs, values, fears and aspirations.

Jonathan Ball Publishers describes the book as “the most comprehensive glossary of Southern African towns, villages, railway stations, mountains, rivers and beaches. The 9 000 short entries incorporate data from sources dating as far back as 1486, encapsulating the linguistic and cultural heritage of all the peoples of the subcontinent, past and present.”

And what would the origin of the name Bloemfontein be?

This dictionary provides the following answer.

“Capital city of the Free State and judicial capital of South Africa. It was established in 1846 by Major HD Warden at a fountain on the farm Bloemfontein, originally owned by a Griqua, Mauritz Pretorius. It has been claimed to have been named after a person with the surname Bloem, or in honour of the Khoikhoi chief Jan Bloem, or after an ox with this name. Probably, however, it was named after flowers growing at the fountain, from Dutch bloem, ‘flower’, fonteijn, ‘spring’. The name is thought to be a translation from a Bushman name of which Mangaung is the Sotho adaptation; ma- is the Sotho plural prefix or class marker; the component ngau is comparable to the Bushman word //au, ‘flower’, and the final ng is cognate with the locative demonstrative ?, ‘that (one) there’. Bloemfontein attained municipal status in 1880.”




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