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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.


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Motho ke motho ka batho. A person is a person through others.
2016-04-26

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Student Bursary Fund Campaign booklet (pdf)
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Student Bursary Fund Campaign launched: #FundAFuture and make a difference

 

“I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to study further. For that to happen, the heavens had to forge a way.” Mixed feelings dapple Jean-Pierré van der Walt's face as he recounts the miracles - and hardships - of his journey.

Motho ke motho ka batho. A person is a person through others.

Jean-Pierré is one of ambassadors of the Student Bursary Fund Campaign, launched by the University of the Free State (UFS). The project aims to raise R100 m to fund talented, deserving students who do not have the financial means to obtain a university degree. This financial support will change the future irrevocably for many young people in our country, young people who are similar to Jean-Pierré.

Description: Jean-Pierré van der Walt Tags: Jean-Pierré van der Walt

Jean-Pierré van der Walt
Photo: Sonia Small

“When I was in matric, going to university was never an option.” Surmounting his financial circumstances seemed impossible. “It made me feel despondent, and I thought to myself: after school, what would my life be like, where am I going?” It was at this juncture in his life that a funding opportunity enabled him to pursue his dream of making a difference in the world through education. He embarked on a BEd degree in Senior and FET (Further Education and Training) Teaching, which he completed in 2015.

“Varsity taught me to stand up for myself, to make my voice heard,” Jean-Pierré says. “If I did not have the opportunity to attend university, I would have missed my calling in life: to show the world that, despite your physical restrictions, you can still make a difference.” Jean-Pierré is differently-abled as a result of cerebral palsy.

Looking to be placed as an English and Sesotho teacher, Jean-Pierré is eager to teach children that anything is possible, regardless of heritage, family life, or circumstances. “Motho ke motho ka batho. A person is a person through others,” he says is the philosophy he lives by. “One cannot survive in solitude; one needs others to go further in life.”

In the same way, the UFS needs your support and generosity. Each contribution will bring us closer to our goal of R100 m, and to changing the landscape of our youth’s future.

Visit our Giving page for ways to donate.

 

For enquiries or further information:
T: +27(0)51 401 3966 | E: FundAFuture@ufs.ac.za | www.ufs.ac.za

 

 


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