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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

'Structures of Dominion and Democracy' by David Goldblatt at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery
2015-08-03

Photograph by David Goldblatt, On August 16 2012 South African Police shot striking mineworkers of the Lonmin platinum mines, killing 34 and wounding 78 within a radius of 350 metres of this koppie, where the men used to meet. Seventeen of the men, seeking shelter among boulders from police fire, were shot with seemingly lethal intent, some with their hands up in surrender, none were given medical assistance for their wounds. Beyond is the Lonmin smelter, which stood idle during the strike. Marikana, North-West Province, 11 May 2014.

The University of the Free State, in partnership with the Goodman Gallery, presents the exhibition, 'Structures of Dominion and Democracy', by renowned South African photographer David Goldblatt.  

This exhibition, which runs from 13 July to 7 August 2015 on the Bloemfontein Campus, is dedicated to the series, “Structures”, one of the major bodies of works by Goldblatt.  For over three decades, Goldblatt has travelled South Africa, photographing sites and structures weighted with historical narrative: monuments, private, religious and secular, which reveal something about the people who built them.  These sites allow us a glimpse into the everyday. Each place is a repository, a landscape containing an epic story that has involved whole communities: the experience sometimes told through the memorialising of remarkable individuals.

The exhibition, Structures of Dominion and Democracy, traverses two distinct eras in South Africa history. As Goldblatt explains: "Over the years, I have photographed South African structures, which I found eloquent, of the dominion which Whites gradually came to exert over all of South Africa and its peoples.  That time of domination began in 1660 when Jan van Riebeeck ordered a cordon to be erected of blockhouses and barriers that would exclude the indigenous population from access to the first European settlement in South Africa and its herds, lands, water, and grazing.  The time of domination ended on the 2nd of February 1990, when, on behalf of the government and the Whites of South Africa, President FW de Klerk effectively abdicated from power.  Beginning in 1999 and continuing to the present, I have photographed some structures that are eloquent of our still nascent democracy.  In the belief that, in what we build we express much about what we value, I have looked at South African structures as declarations of our value systems, our ethos.”

Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, UFS Sasol Library
University of the Free State
206 Nelson Mandela Ave
Bloemfontein

Gallery hours:  
Monday to Friday 08:30 – 16:30

Entrance: Free
Enquiries: 051 401 2706, dejesusav@ufs.ac.za

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