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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

Vermeulen’s work on display at Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery
2015-10-26

 

Dot Vermeulen, Anthropology (2014),
Oil on plywood, 300 x 200cm.
Photo: Supplied

“I am primarily fascinated in the travelling or movement of images in different spaces and media. By moving images from one medium into another, or posting and reposting them in different urban and virtual spaces, I ask questions about media presence and space.”

According to the late artist Dot Vermeulen, this is what the work for her Master’s degree was about. She was still completing it at the Department of Fine Arts at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Her work, called Posting Presence, is currently on display at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery on the Bloemfontein Campus. The exhibition is running from 1-30 October 2015.

Vermeulen was a junior lecturer at the Department of Fine Arts before she passed away in a car accident in April 2015.

According to Angela de Jesus, curator of the UFS Art Galery, the exhibition would have been part of Vermeulen’s final evaluation for her Master’s degree. She was one of South Africa’s most promising young artists, and won the prestigious Sasol New Signatures art competition in 2013.

In the work she had done in Posting Presence, Vermeulen said the spaces represented were derived from areas under bridges in an urban space where the visual messages left, speak of an accumulation of movement.

Exhibition event

An exhibition event was held on Friday 16 October 2015 at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery to celebrate Vermeulen’s work.

Janine Allen-Spies
and Prof Suzanne Human, the supervisors of her Master’s degree,spoke about the work to those attending.

Catalogue


De Jesus said a catalogue of Vermeulen’s research for Posting Presence had also been compiled, and would be available at the UFS Sasol Library in order for others to “use her work for further research”.

•    Vermeulen’s work can be seen from 08:30-16:30 daily until 30 October at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery on the Bloemfontein Campus.

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