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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

Medical student stars in local movie
2015-10-15


Sung-Hoon as the on-screen character Operator 2

Sung-Hoon Kim’s dream of starring in a movie became a reality with the release of Reconnect on 16 October 2015 in Nu Metro cinemas across the country.

The second-year medical student at the University of the Free State transitioned into a professional actor in December 2013, when he made the leap from his high school drama stage to shooting for the big screen.

“I did plays in high school where I had roles like Simba in The Lion King,” said the first-time movie star. 

The film is a purely South African creation. It is set in Potchefstroom and Klerksdorp, Sung-Hoon’s former and current hometowns. Sung-Hoon plays two major roles: XJ-1- a robot, and the on-screen role of artificial intelligence Operator 2 at SKY CORP - an international intelligence company that protects top secret information from around the world.

Reconnect was directed by the late Marius Swanepoel, who Sung-Hoon described as “a great blessing to all those privileged enough to have known him.” The movie explores the relationship between human beings and artificial intelligence.

Eric Scott discovers XJ-1 at an abandoned warehouse, and transfers him to SKY CORP where he becomes destructive. Eric and his friend, Jason, are then faced with the challenge of containing the situation, and saving the company which XJ-1 has infected with a dangerous virus. As the science-fiction action unfolds, viewers catch a glimpse into the life of XJ-1.

Shooting the movie was an exciting experience for Sung-Hoon. “It was quite fun because I like imitating voices,” he said.

 

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