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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

Award-winning artist Mohau Modisakeng exhibits at UFS
2017-03-02

Description: Mohau Modisakeng exhibition 2 Tags: Mohau Modisakeng exhibition 2

One of the artworks from Modisakeng’s Lefa La Ntate
collection.
Photo: Supplied

Standard Bank Young Artist, Mohau Modisakeng is a multidisciplinary artist who uses memory as a portal linking the past and present to explore themes within the post-apartheid context.

The University of the Free State (UFS) is hosting the Visual Arts 2016 artist’s exhibition, entitled Lefa La Ntate. The exhibition is on at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery in the Sasol Library on the Bloemfontein Campus and will run until 31 March 2017.

Artist uses his body to explore influences
Lefa La Ntate represents an emotional moment of grieving and is a critical response to the historical legacy of exploitation and the current lived experience of many black South Africans.  

Modisakeng, who was born in Soweto in 1986, uses his body to explore the influence of South Africa’s violent history on how we understand our cultural, political, and social roles as human beings. “My work responds to the history of the black body within the (South) African context, which is intertwined with the violence of the apartheid era and the early 1990s.”

Acknowledging upcoming young artists
The Young Artist Awards were established to acknowledge emerging young South African artists who have displayed outstanding talent in their artistic endeavours.

The exhibition premiered at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2016 and has travelled to Port Elizabeth, Pietermaritzburg, and Cape Town.

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