07 February 2020 | Story Eugene Seegers | Photo Charl Devenish
Dr Madiope UFS South Campus Welcoming 2020
Dr Madiope welcomes students to the UFS South Campus.


“Now that you have joined the university, you have an obligation to yourself and your parents to get your degree. To the public, you have an obligation to change society.” The new South Campus Principal, Dr Marinkie Madiope, directed these words to students and their family members during the first-year welcoming ceremony in Bloemfontein, held in the campus’s Madiba Arena on Friday 31 January 2020. Dr Madiope assumed her duties on the South Campus at the beginning of January this year.

Dr Madiope concluded: “Your journey to realise your wildest dream has indeed commenced. Welcome, and hold on; the future is bright, and the time is now to unlock your future!”

The right choice

In his welcoming address, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, thanked the students for choosing the University of the Free State. He said that although the three campuses of the UFS make up one university with the same values and inclusivity, each campus contributes something unique and ‘distinctly different’ to the institution. In the case of the South Campus, he said that the student leadership under the auspices of the campus SRC, as well as the campus management under the guidance of Dr Madiope, provided a welcoming atmosphere for new students coming to the UFS from all parts of the country, allowing them to ‘feel that they belong’ at our university.

Prof Petersen further reassured parents and guardians that they had made the right choice in coming to our university. “Our staff are excellent, and they care about your child. They will be the ones who will support and guide your child, so you don’t have to worry about that.” He further advised students to become involved with co-curricular activities to build their experience, while managing their time well and making good choices.

“Ngwana a thotseng
o shwella thabeng ...

Remember to speak up
so that you can be helped.”

—Phehellang Ralejoe,
South Campus SRC President

Student leadership support

Adding to points made by both Dr Madiope and Prof Petersen regarding student safety, the SRC President for the South Campus, Phehellang Ralejoe, told the gathered audience, “The South Campus prides itself on prioritising the safety of its students, and we can say that you are leaving them in safe, capable hands.”

She also told students to rely on the support systems available on campus, such as Academic Advising, the Office for Gender and Sexual Equity, Student Representative Council, and Student Counselling, and warned against taking mental-health issues lightly. Ms Ralejoe closed with a Sesotho proverb: “Ngwana a thotseng o shwella thabeng, which translates to ‘a quiet child dies on the mountain’. Remember to speak up so that you can be helped. Make this a great, memorable year!”

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