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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

UFS hosts a successful New Music Indaba
2015-08-18

  

Held at the University of the Free State’s Odeion School of Music (OSM), the NewMusicSA’s New Music Indaba 2015 featured works which Clare Loveday described as “breathtaking, discreet, and perfectly balanced.”

Loveday, one of South Africa’s acclaimed music critics and was Composer-in-Residence for the annual Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, attended the Indaba from 21-26 July 2015. In a review of Saturday’s gala concert, she referred to recitals of this nature as an “essential part of the South African musical landscape, providing musicians and composers a space in which to express their world.”

Staff and students of the OSM were extensively involved in facilitating the festivities as a symbol of commitment to South Africa and international contemporary art music. The OSM Camerata under the baton of Xavier Cloete performed two works by South African composer Hendrik Hofmeyr well as a work by young Argentinian composer Diego Soifer entitled Mille Regretz .The festival featured music theory lectures, a variety of workshops, roundtable discussions ,concerts as well as an outreach programme.

Loveday described the highlight of her Indaba experience as “A delicate construction of sounds and silences that drew the listener into a focused and intense sound world,” a highlight created by the visiting German composer, Charlotte Seither’s “Far From Distance” for piano, clarinet, and cello. The concert evening culminated with Diale Mabitsela's "Friday Nights at Six," adding to the spectacular nature of the festival.

Throughout the week, classical chamber works featuring South African New Music Ensemble (SANME), the Choir of Christ Church Arcadia, and the Odeion Vocal Consort were performed and well-received. Bringing the five-day event to a conclusion was a choral mass at the Bloemfontein Anglican Cathedral, featuring an “Agnus Dei” written by George T. King.
 
Douglas Scott, Curator of the 2015 Indaba, reflected on it as a great success, saying that, “most of the participants agreed the event was a wonderful opportunity simply to hear different voices from the composition community juxtaposed with one another.”

From Scott’s perspective, the principal goal was to foster communication between artists with different visions, and to reach out to the local community.

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