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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

Pauline Gutter’s metaphorical representations of South Africa
2016-04-07

Description: Thamsanqa Malgas  Tags: Thamsanqa Malgas

Art student, Thamsanqa Malgas views the Purgatorium exhibition at the Stegmann Gallery on the Bloemfontein Campus (UFS).
Photo: Rethabile Isaacs

Purgatory is a temporary condition of torment or suffering. This is the central thread of the renowned artist’s exhibition, Purgatorium, at the University of the Free State (UFS). Pauline Gutter’s exhibition was opened by Harry Siertsema on 9 March 2016 at the Stegmann Gallery on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The artist, who grew up on a farm in the Free State, is influenced by animals and farm life. “My work is on many levels a metaphorical representation of the violence of current South Africa. Some people want to move away from stigma, others adopt hysteria. The impressive yet vulnerable bulk of the bulls depicted in uncomfortable positions manifests the voiceless and powerless generation of food producers in their daily struggles for survival,” she wrote in the catalogue of the exhibition.

Prof Dirk van den Berg of the UFS Department of History of Art and Image Studies wrote an essay about the exhibition, in which he captures the lived endurance of stress and suffering which Pauline Gutter depicts vividly in Purgatorium.

“The paintings, drawings, and prints in this exhibition have, in various ways, the effect of disseminating the basic tenor of the weaning metaphor of struggle for survival into the farming domains of the land, its creatures, and its people,” said Prof van den Berg.

Art student, Thamsanqa Malgas, was very impressed with the exhibition, saying that it was a fascinating collection, and a must-see for art lovers. The exhibition closed on 1 April 2016.

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