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24 November 2023 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo SUPPLIED
UFS KovsieCare GBV Social Media
The UFS is joining forces with the international community during the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

As the world will soon commemorate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) campaign, the University of the Free State (UFS) joins the fight against this pervasive issue. Dedicated to eradicating GBV and fostering a safe environment, the institution has pledged an unwavering commitment to a zero-tolerance stance against all forms of GBV.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual global initiative that starts on 25 November 2023 – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – and concludes on 10 December 2023 – Human Rights Day. The theme for this year, ‘Accelerating actions to end gender-based violence and femicide: leaving no one behind’, emphasises the need for a comprehensive, inclusive effort to combat GBV. 

Legislation addressing GBV

Gender-based violence, rooted in the systemic imbalance of power and authority, manifests in multifaceted forms that encompass emotional, physical, financial, and sexual abuse, among others. Recognising the gravity of this issue, parliament has enacted laws, including the Domestic Violence Act of 1998 and the Children's Act of 2005, striving to safeguard individuals from such atrocities and championing fundamental human rights.

The UFS, aligned with parliament's vision and encapsulating its own Vision 130 within the 2023-2028 Strategic Plan, remains steadfast in its dedication to fostering a culture of accountability, care, and social justice within its staff and student community. 

The significance of activism

Dr Lentsu Nchabeleng, Deputy Director in the Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination Office (GEADO), emphasised the pivotal role of the 16 Days of Activism in societal progress. “Advocacy plays an important role in prevention by promoting education and awareness. Advocacy challenges harmful societal norms and stereotypes that contribute to gender-based violence and can help foster a culture of equality and respect," she stated.

Useful resources

The UFS has provided resources for the staff and student community, including frequently asked questions (FAQs) about GBV and sexual offences, aiming to clarify these important matters. Help and reporting avenues for GBV and sexual misconduct are available on the Bloemfontein and South campuses, with similar support available on the Qwaqwa Campus, underscoring the university's dedication to a safe and supportive environment for all. 

Click to download the resource documents:

Important contacts 

The university has also implemented support systems, including dedicated 24-hour toll-free helplines for reporting GBV and sexual offenses, underscoring its commitment to addressing this epidemic.

  • GEADO toll-free: 0800 204 682
  • UFS Student Careline toll-free: 0800 00 6363


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