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21 May 2019 | Story Igno van Niekerk | Photo Stephen Collett
Digital storytelling
Collaborating for the common good are from left: Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, and Dr Johan van Zyl.

Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences quoted the Cat Stevens song I can’t keep it in, to capture the excitement surrounding the opening of a Digital Storytelling Lab on the Bloemfontein Campus on 10 May 2019.

After months of hard work by Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, as well as the staff of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Centre for Development Support, the Common Good First lab was completed just in time for the launch attended by about 50 delegates from other South African universities, as well as private and public institutions.

Stories meet technology

In a message, from Prof Puleng LenkaBula, Vice-Rector: Institutional Change, Student Affairs, and Community Engagement, informed the audience that the launch heralded the joining of the old world of stories with the new world of digital technology. Julie Adair, Director of Digital Collaboration at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, welcomed the UFS as a partner to this international social innovation collaborative project in a video message. 

Dr Van Rooyen, the project manager for the UFS, explained how she got involved in the Common Good First project, what the benefits of digital storytelling are, as well as what opportunities the lab creates for cooperation between role players involved in social innovation projects. 

Why the Common Good First lab?

The purpose of the lab is to create a digital network to identify, showcase and connect social innovation projects in South Africa to one another and to universities around the world for research, student engagement and learning and teaching. The lab has been fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for recording and digitising the stories that result from social innovation projects.

In a live Skype session with Dr Il-Haam Petersen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and some of the recent successes of the digital stories in Philippi in the Western Cape were shared.

Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, UFS Director Community Engagement did the final honours by cutting the ribbon, declaring the lab open, and sharing the dream that the work done in this lab will contribute to positive relationships and cooperation between the university and the community, in making not only the university, but the country and the world a better place.


News Archive

Reitz colleagues start their own company
2014-07-01

The University of the Free State (UFS) and the five colleagues implicated in the Reitz incident of 2008 reached the final chapter in the reparation process in restoring the dignity of these colleagues on Thursday 19 June 2014.

Mr Mothibedi Molete and Mss Mankoe Naomi Phororo, Emmah Koko, Nkgapeng Adams and Sebuasengwe Mittah Ntlatseng, former cleaning staff at the UFS, are now the directors of their own cleaning company, Mamello Trading.

Furthering on its promise to assist the new-found company, the UFS has also appointed Mamello Trading as a service provider responsible for services at its South Campus.

It has been six years since the Reitz incident at the UFS and Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations, described the journey of the past six years as a learning experience for all the stakeholders.

“This journey continues as there is still work to be done, but every milestone achieved, deserves a celebration like today’s,” Dr Makhetha said.

In 2010 the UFS signed a deed of settlement with the colleagues which committed the UFS to help them establish a cleaning company. This was followed by a reconciliation ceremony in 2011.

In 2012 the UFS assisted with the registration of the company Mamello Trading.

Dr Makhetha explained that in 2013 the UFS assisted in training the new directors and mentoring them for 12 months. 

Earlier this year, Mamello Trading signed a cleaning contract of four years with the UFS. Three of the directors’ daughters also received bursaries and are currently studying at the UFS.

Advocate Mohamed Ameermia, Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission, congratulated the management of the UFS on the reparation and reconciliation process they followed in restoring the dignity of the five colleagues.

The directors of Mamello Trading each had a special message of their journey and thanks. Their messages were as follows:

Rebecca Adams – After the video was exposed, I was hurt and was psychologically affected. By offering their apologies to us, the four students indicated that what they had done was a mistake. As a parent, when a child apologises you must accept that apology.
Emma Koko – I was shocked after the video was shown in public. I had a mother-child-like relationship with one of the students and that video tarnished my image as a human being. During the time of reconciliation these students showed remorse for what they had done.
David Molete – I was devastated, hurt and fearful to meet people. I ended up at a psychiatric hospital and attended counseling services which helped me to heal. The students apologised and I accepted because they were sincere.
Mittah Ntlaseng – The video impacted negatively on my dignity. The UFS assisted us with visits to psychologists. Now I feel I am a business owner and it is an opportunity for me to rebuild my self-esteem. 

Naomi Phororo – Mamello Trading is a business venture which is going to bring changes to our lives and families. The training I have received has enabled me to know how to manage the business.

 

Issued by: Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27(0)51 401 2584
Fax: +27(0)51 444 6393
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

  

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