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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

White Horse to bring enchantment to Free State Arts Festival
2015-07-09

White Horse Project: Concept, Jess Oliveiri & Parachutes for Ladies; Project Manager, Mandi Bezuidenhout; Video, Louis Kruger; Costume, Lesiba Mabitsela; Performers, Gali Malebo, Chris Kleynhans, Busisiwe Matutu, Johandi du Plessis, Elrie du Toit.

A University of the Free State (UFS) and Free State Arts Festival initiative, the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD/PIKO) has worked together with Australian artist, Jess Olivieri (Parachutes for Ladies), to bring visitors and spectators the fantastical and mythical White Horse. The UFS has served as home for the festival for a number of years, and is pleased to take part in bringing this communal project to the arts community that will gather at the annual festival.

The White Horse project begins Sunday 12 July 2015 at 15:00 at the Tweetoringkerk in Bloemfontein, launching the arts festival, while capturing the interest of many members of the Bloemfontein community as well as that of the UFS. The project itself will consist of about 200 members of the local community coming together for workshops in which they will be “reimagining” the White Horse. Olivieri will lead the workshops, which she also developed, assisted by Gali Malebo.

“The White Horse project sits within the contested nature of the White Horse - it is in this in-between space that new mythologies and narratives will be told. The project addresses, celebrates, reconfigures, and allows space for multiple narratives.  Given the debate on statues and symbols, the White Horse offers an opportunity to re-purpose and re-imagine symbols in Bloemfontein,” said Olivieri.

Photograph by David Goldblatt, Sculpted by Kagiso Pat Mautloa, a memorial to those who died while in the detention of the Security Police in this building formerly known as John Vorster Square, now Johannesburg Central Police Station. 27 February 2012, Silver gelatin print on fibre based paper, 98 x 120cm

The White Horse project is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, Free State Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, SituateART in Festivals, Salamanca Arts Centre, Arts NSW, NAVA, Creative Partnerships Australia and the University of Sydney.

Spectators can also look forward to the work of major artists including David Goldblatt’s photographic exhibition titled Structures of Dominion and Democracy at 20:00 on Monday 13 July 2015 at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery. In this exhibition, he has photographed everyday sites that contain historical narratives.

Work from other artists at the Arts Festival include Blowing in the Wind (19:00 on Monday 13 July 2015 in the Centenary Gallery), curated by Carol Brown, which is an exhibition that delves into issues of environmental and human exploitation. Angela de Jesus, curator of the UFS Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, will be curating, [my] PLEK | PLACE (18:30 on Monday 13 July 2015 in the Scaena foyer), in which the artists explore location, space, site, and/or ownership.

The Free State Arts festival begins on 13 July 2015.

 

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