From the Nominator
The University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, boasts a diverse student and staff population of more than 42,000 students and staff in 122 departments across three campuses, and 51 satellite campuses throughout the country. South Africa is often referred to as the Rainbow Nation due to our multi-cultural character—we have 11 official languages. We may have different cultures, beliefs, and languages, but share a common purpose: To live, work, study, and engage with one another in an environment where everyone can aspire to excellence. We feel that we belong, and that we as individuals, with our unique heritage, culture, and language, are valued and can contribute fully. Hence, we launched the annual Kovsies Multilingual Mokete in September 2019 to promote multilingualism. During this festival, productions in different languages are performed and enjoyed by staff and students. Multilingualism promotes a sense of belonging and acceptance among people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds on the UFS campuses, and we believe this could serve to trigger an interest among non-native speakers to explore other languages.
From the Judges
This is one of the most exciting entries we have seen in our many years of judging. With the theme of "I have a voice," they celebrated the multiple languages spoken on their campus. The planning and emphasis on inclusivity was extraordinary. They engaged their entire community in the process and the celebration. As they said in their nomination form, "We did not want this to be just another festival that happens 'on' campus, but rather a festival that happens 'for' campus." They succeeded beautifully.