01 November 2022 | Story Lunga Luthuli | Photo Stephen Collett
Prof Francis Petersen
Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, delivering a recognition and celebratory message to 44 University of the Free State employees who have completed 20 years and more at the institution.

Speaking at the 2022 Long Service Recognition Awards, celebrating ‘the best’, University of the Free State (UFS) Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, said: “The event is a reminder that the people – the staff – are the university. You are the stars tonight.”

The annual awards ceremony, held in the Centenary Complex on the Bloemfontein Campus on 21 October 2022, is a flagship event for the UFS to recognise and celebrate staff members who have worked at the institution for 20 to 40 years and longer.

Thanking staff, including those who will be retiring at the end of this year, Prof Petersen said: “Thank you for the contribution you have made to the university. As staff, we are the custodians of the university, and while you are here – if you can – add one more brick to build a better institution that you can be proud of.”

Joining the event was Shadrack Shamane, Human Resources Business Partner in the Division of Human Resources, who has worked for the UFS for 40 years. 

He started as a Labourer in the then Department of Provisioning, and in 1992 he was promoted to Supervisor and Driver. 

Shamane said: “Staying at the UFS so long was for a good cause because of the opportunities offered for growth. Over the years, I managed to complete a Certificate in Labour Law in 2004, Advanced Certificate in 2006, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Labour Law in 2008.”

He is also serving as a full-time National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union shop steward.

Also recognised at this year’s awards was Ilse de Beer, Officer in the Project Management Unit of ICT Services. Ilse joined the UFS in 1987 as a Computer Mainframe Operator responsible for monitoring the mainframe, backups, and printing.

De Beer said: “I started working at Computer Services with the Sperry mainframe in 1987 till the last IBM mainframe, growing with changes in ICT Service, and today we work with data centres.”

De Beer was born on the Bloemfontein Campus in 1967 in what used to be her home – the Vishuis Bond behind the Vishuis hostel. 

She said: “I grew up on campus; it was my playground and I had loads of fun times through the years. In 1975, we moved into our own house, which is now the Cairnhall Private Hospital.”

Closing the event, Prof Petersen said: “I also want to thank your partners and line managers who have stood by you, there has been a lot of input coming from them, providing the necessary support.”

He urged staff who will be retiring at the end of the year to look out for the launch of Vision 130 – ‘an elaboration of the strategic intent of the university to reposition itself for 2034, when it will commemorate its 130th anniversary.’

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