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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

Panel to discuss: 'Speaking wounds: voices of Marikana widows through art and narrative' on Monday 27 July 2015
2015-07-24

The massacre of 34 mine workers at Marikana on 16 August 2012 had South Africans in uproar. But what remained, after the razor wire was rolled up and the camera crews left, were 34 widows engulfed in silent despair. That was until the Khulumani Support Group introduced them to the transformative power of art and storytelling. In the last installment of the Vice-Chancellor’s Lecture Series for this year, a panel of speakers will discuss these widows’ journey with the theme of ‘Speaking wounds: voices of Marikana widows through art and narrative’.

Panel

The panel will consist of members from the Khulumani Support Group that include Dr Marjorie Jobson (National Director), Nomarussia Bonase (National Organiser), and Judy Seidman (Sociologist and Graphic Artist). Nomfundo Walaza, who is the former CEO of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, will be the respondent.

Details of the event:
Date: Monday 27 July 2015
Time: 12:00
Venue: Chancellor's Room, Centenary Complex, Bloemfontein Campus
RSVP: Nomusa Mthethwa at Nomusam@ufs.ac.za (Members of the public are welcome to attend.)

Body maps
An art exhibition consisting of body maps created by the widows will also be on display. These paintings quietly portray the turmoil of their inner landscapes, their perceptions of the massacre, and the impact these events had on their lives.



Collaboration
The lecture series is hosted by Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Senior Research Professor in Trauma, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS), as part of a five-year research project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This installment of the lecture series is presented in collaboration with the UFS Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice.


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