University of the Free State: UFS collaborated and brought about change this past Mandela Month

‘Do what you can with what you have and where you are’ – this was the theme of Mandela Day according to the United Nations. Every year on 18 July, South Africans and the world at large commemorate the late Nelson Mandela by celebrating Nelson Mandela International Day. This annual international day of humanitarian action commemorates the life and impact of Nelson Mandela. It is also a catalyst for encouraging everyone to alter the world by volunteering in several activities.
In this spirit, the University of the Free State Bloemfontein, South, and Qwaqwa Campuses participated in a variety of activities to ensure that they played their part in bringing about change in people’s lives. These are some of the events that took place:

The Faculty of Theology and Religion took it upon itself to go on a knowledge gaining and partnership seeking journey on 22 July. The target was three organisations – the Martie du Plessis School, Aurora Rehabilitation Centre, and they concluded their journey at Towers of Hope Ministries. These organisations are not unfamiliar to the university, because Theology students do their pastoral work there, while Education students go to Martie du Plessis for their practical work.

The team, led by Dr Pali (Senior Lecturer: Practical And Missional Theology), learnt about the challenges that the organisations face, as well as how the faculty aims to address these challenges through the knowledge and expertise that they have as academics. “It feels like we have one common goal, but we are pulling in different directions. How do we then find common ground and ensure that the solution is sustainable?” Dr Pali said when addressing church leaders at Towers of Hope Ministries.

As part of their in-service training, fourth- and first-year Social Work students spent two hours at the ENGO Our Child and Youth Care Centre (Ons Kinderhuis). They painted the wall and played soccer with the kids. Concluding the month, Mariëtte Joubert, Placement Officer within the department, indicated that the first-year students were part of the Free State Care in Action (FCIA) Provincial Office launch for their Bottle filled with Care initiative on 29 July. The students distributed the bottles in the Brandwag neighbourhood, which is home to many UFS students.

The Faculty of the Humanities commemorated Mandela Day at Kamohelo Children’s Centre in Mangaung. Rosaline Direko manages the centre, which is home to 13 young children – all under the age of 18 – from a variety of underprivileged families. Non-perishable goods, seeds, and clothing were donated to the centre. Alina Ntsiapane, an Agriculture student, demonstrated to the children how and when to plant onion and spinach seeds. The children were also informed about the significance of eating nutritious foods, as well as the advantages of the various vegetable seeds that were donated.