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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

Conversations of the untold tales of apartheid
2016-08-30

Description: Conversations of the untold tales of apartheid Tags: Conversations of the untold tales of apartheid

Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela leading a dialogue
held at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery with
guest speakers, Candice Mama, Siyah Mgoduka,
and Sue Williamson.

Photo: Johan Roux

The Vice-Chancellor’s Lecture Series on Trauma, Memory and Representations of the Past in  the Unit for Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted a dialogue between students and guest speakers, Sue Williamson, Candice Mama, and Siyah Mgoduka at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery on the Bloemfontein campus.

The conversation, led by Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Senior Research Professor in Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies at the UFS, touched on students’ direct historical trauma and memory experiences, allowing them to share their contribution to transformation.

Mama and Mgoduka shared their personal experience of how the negative impact apartheid’s fatal events consumed their everyday life. Both their fathers were killed by the apartheid assassin, Eugene de Kock, whom they have met and with whom they have since been reconciled.  Reflecting on this historical memory, both of them agree that meeting their fathers’ killer has changed their lives.

“Forgiveness is a personal journey one
takes in order to let go of bitterness and hate.” 

“Before meeting De Kock, I was bitter, angry, and full of hatred towards him. After that meeting, I became a better person and more engaged, and stopped stereotyping white people,” says Mama.

Mgoduka says, “Forgiveness alone will not work. There needs to be an interest in each other as black and white.”

The dialogue followed the launch of Williamson’s art exhibition, No More Fairytales, held at the Johannes Stegmann Gallery on 18 August 2016. Through a series of interactive pieces, the artwork captures events that led to the role of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

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