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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

Students have a responsibility in SA, says Ntuli
2016-02-19

Description: 2016 SRC presidents Tags: 2016 SRC presidents

Lindokuhle Ntuli (left), President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS), and Paseka Sikhosana, president of the SRC on the Qwaqwa Campus, are in agreement about their vision for the UFS in 2016.
Photo: Johan Roux

You and I have a role to play in building the new South Africa built upon the Constitution of 1996.

These are the words of Lindokuhle Ntuli, President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). They echo his and the SRC’s message of a “campus for all students, locally and internationally, irrespective of colour.”

Ntuli and Paseka Sikhosana, president of the SRC on the Qwaqwa Campus, were in agreement about their vision for the UFS in 2016.

According to Sikhosana, a well-known slogan accentuates a feeling of uniqueness at the university. “United in diversity. No wonder we say only a Kovsie knows a feeling,” he says.

“As the SRC, we believe that complete transformation on campus is through promoting a non-sexist, non-racial, but democratic student society that acknowledges diversity and change. That further promotes and embraces one student’s difference in terms of culture, tradition, religion, and sexual orientation.”

A new South Africa

Ntuli means students have a responsibility. He referred to a quotation from Frantz Fanon’s book, The Wretched of the Earth, to illustrate this. Fanon was a revolutionary and writer whose works are influential in post-colonial studies. “Every generation has a mission. It is the responsibility of every generation to discover its mission. Once you have discovered it, you have to fulfil it or betray it into relative obscurity,” Ntuli quoted.

According to him, the South African Constitution holds pious promises of a better life for all, and each citizen needs to help to achieve that.

SRC has open door policy 

Ntuli says the UFS remains committed to human embrace, diversity, integration, and human togetherness. He added that the SRC has an open door policy, and will avail itself in helping students.

According to Sikhosana, it is the objective of the SRC to represent the student community in all interactions within the university and externally.

“There is nothing for us, about us, without us students,” he says.

• The above excerpts have been taken from Ntuli and Sikhosana’s respective welcoming speeches to first-year students on the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses.

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