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12 September 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Arbor tree plant
To celebrate National Arbor Week the University of the Free State has embarked on a drive to plant 150 trees during the month of September

If you’ve wondered whether Arbor Month was important, you only have to look at the destruction and long-term damage that deforestation causes to the environment and the world’s inhabitants. To observe National Arbor Month, the University of the Free State’s has (UFS) kick-started a drive to plant 150 trees during the month of September.

To launch this initiative, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, alongside members of the rectorate, assisted the University Estates team in planting the first 10 of 100 trees at the Bloemfontein Campus on Wednesday 4 September 2019. A total of 50 trees will be planted on the Qwaqwa Campus.

Towards a sustainable future

“We have gone through periods of drought in the Free State that have severely impacted not only the plants but the trees on our campuses. The idea is to emphasise sustainability, and as a university, we believe that sustainability is important. As an education institution, we have to look at the generations that are still to come to our campuses,” said Prof Petersen.

He urged the Kovsie community to ensure that all practices across the campuses are linked to global standards of sustainability. “As we develop over the next couple of months and years, we will get much closer alignment between what we are doing as a university and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Drought-resistant man-made forests

Clusters of mini forests across the campuses will be created with a variety of trees including the karee, white karee, white stinkwood, and wild olive. These indigenous trees can adapt well to different soils including those that are poorly drained.

Celebrating Arbor Week

This year’s campaign was held under the theme Forests and Sustainable Cities. As part of the celebration, University Estates made a commitment to the environment by embarking on the green initiative which includes other project such as the upgrade of Red Square on the Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Kovsie trailblazing track runner sets South African 200 m record
2015-07-16

Photo: IAAF

Wayde van Niekerk became the only South African, and the fourth athlete in the world, to clock sub-20-seconds in a 200 m race on Tuesday 14 July 2015. With this winning time, he became the fourth member of the prestigious quartet, consisting of Michael Johnson, LaShawn Merritt, Isaac Makwala and himself.

The Kovsie gold medallist’s ground-breaking performance saw him beat world-class 200 m specialist and last year's Diamond League race winner, Alonso Edward of Panama.  Van Niekerk crossed the finish line half a metre ahead of Edward, who was followed by Fujmitsu Kenji of Japan in the third place.

Van Niekerk's 19.94-time at the Diamond League meeting in Lucerne (Switzerland) set a national record, and improved on his personal best. In 2010, he claimed the World Junior Championship title in Moncton, Canada, by covering 200 m in 21.02 seconds.

Recently, he made history by defeating the London 2012 Olympic Games champion, Kirani James, of Grenada in the Caribbean.

On 4 July 2015, he surged 0.79 seconds ahead of Kirani in his number five lane, becoming the first African to cover 400m in less than 44 seconds. The Kovsie student won the race at 43.96, occupying 10th place on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League all-time list.

Kovsies were still celebrating the gold medalist’s South African record-setting time of 44.24 on 13 June 2015 when he dominated the Diamond League meeting. At the previous race in New York, Van Niekerk improved on his own national record of 44.38. With an impressive dash to the finish line at that particular event, he surpassed Christopher Brown’s 400 m record.

In addition to the country’s record, Van Niekerk made his name as one of the continent’s record-breakers. On 7 June 2015, he broke the 1986 African 300 m record. Van Niekerk replaced Ivorian Gabriel Tiacoh’s best time of 31.74 with a 31.63 championship win at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting.  Simultaneously, he bettered Morné Nagel’s 2006 South African national record.

Following his outstanding performance, he was positioned in 10th place on the world list in the men’s 300 m.

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