The University of the Free State (UFS) Department of Student Affairs, in collaboration with the UFS Office for International Affairs (OIA), have joined hands to drive a fundraising and student-accessibility initiative dubbed, ‘The Walk to Uhuru’, which is aimed at raising funds and advocating for the educational rights of the less privileged.
The initiative came about because of the UFS ISRC mandate, #StudentsMustGraduate.
The Walk to Uhuru aims to raise funds of R2 million or more and to solicit academic and financial support from the public, stakeholders affiliated with the UFS, UFS lecturers, and even Kovsies themselves, to afford their fellow students the opportunity to register and continue with their studies across all three UFS campuses.
The fundraising and student-accessibility initiative stemmed from the notion that students must graduate, as stated by the current ISRC as their mandate, as well as sentiments shared by students across the institution’s campuses. The success of these shared sentiments lies in academic and financial support for students – as also raised by the Fees Must Fall/ Free Education movement – which we wish to address by introducing this initiative in two tiers.
‘The Long Walk to Graduation’ (LWG) is an initiative that seeks to address the financial struggle of students to register in the year 2019, while at the same time influencing the extension of the set registration deadline. It entails a six-person walk to the Qwaqwa Campus, covering about 350 km in six days; it is also open for the general public/community to take part in. Throughout the walk, participants will be able to engage with local communities. The walk will also symbolise the unity between the three campuses under integrated, inclusive student leadership, and student life promoting social cohesion. This initiative does not only seek to raise funds but to also be a driver of transformation and change, starting at home.
The ‘Mt Kilimanjaro Million Rand Climb 2020’ is an initiative aimed at raising R1 million or more for students of the University of the Free State to register and continue their studies in the year 2020. The journey will continue by road through four countries (approximately 5 411 km) to reach its destination. Participants will get the opportunity to explore and learn about the different cultural experiences of fellow African countries, embodying the ‘UHURU’ theme of freedom. This initiative will seek to promote and advocate educational rights for the less privileged. Funding is raised for that purpose – the right to education through taking an extreme risk.
Mount Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, ‘Kibo’, ‘Mawenzi’, and ‘Shira’, is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa, about 4 900 metres (16 100 ft.) from its base, and 5 895 metres (19 341 ft.) above sea level. It is a six- to nine-day climb to reach its peak, UHURU. A challenging task for a worthwhile cause; daring for the human body, mind, and spirit but an adventure worth taking on and risky moments to cherish for life.
The cornerstones of the initiatives speak to the university’s widening and accelerated scope with regard to the Strategic Plan 2018–2022, the Integrated Transformation Plan, the Internationalisation vision of the OIA, and the Student Affairs Strategic Plan 2017–2022.