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03 October 2018 | Story UFS | Photo Varsity Sports
First ever netball final in Bloemfontein
The Kovsies will be aiming to lift the Varsity Netball trophy in front of their home supporters on Monday when they face Tuks in the final in the Callie Human Centre.

The netball team of the University of the Free State, once again after five years, earned themselves the right to stage a final in the Varsity Netball competition. The two-time champion, the Dream Team, qualified for the final after topping the log and then wiping the floor with the Maties on Monday (1 October 2018) in the semi-final. The score was 56-45. 

They will come up against Tuks in the Callie Human Centre on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus for the final tonight. The match will get underway at 18:45.

The team won the very first two years of the competition in 2013 and 2014. On both occasions, they had to play away from home – in 2013 against the Pukke in Potchefstroom and in 2014 against Tuks in Pretoria. 

It will be the fourth meeting between the Kovsies and Tuks within three months. The Free State students won the group fixture in August by 68-43, but Tuks had to do without a number of their star players. At the University Sport South Africa tournament in Bloemfontein during July, Tuks triumphed twice, winning the final by 48-30.

Apart from the winners’ medals, an award will be handed to the tournament’s top player. Centre Khanyisa Chawane is one of three finalists. The winner gets chosen through public votes.

Dream Team players have won the prize four of the five times. Ané Botha was crowned in 2013, Karla Pretorius in 2014 and 2015, and last year it was the turn of current Kovsie player, Khomotso Mamburu.

To vote for Chawane, click here hover your mouse over the like button and choose the heart emoticon. Voting is closing on 5 October and the winner will be announced after the final.

News Archive

Small things matter
2017-01-17

 Description: Prof Felicity Burt  Tags: Prof Felicity Burt

Prof Felicity Burt (right) and Dr Dominique Goedhals
from the Department of Medical Microbiology and
Virology at the University of the Free State.
Photo: Anja Aucamp



The newly established virology section at the University of the Free State (UFS) boasts world class expertise. Not only are they one of just five laboratories in the country tasked with specialised HIV testing, but current research generates publications and subsidised funding.

The driving force behind this initiative is passionate and dedicated people who invest long hours into vital research. One such person is Prof Felicity Burt, who eloquently guides her students while making impressive progress within her own field of interest: vector-borne and zoonotic diseases. Prof Burt was recently awarded a research chair (2016-2020) to, among other areas, investigate medically significant vector-borne and zoonotic viruses currently circulating.

That means that her research focus is mainly on viruses transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks, and viruses transmitted from animals to humans. “Yes,” she laughs, “I catch mosquitoes and check them for viruses.”

Becoming familiar with different viruses
As if big screen moments like Outbreak and Contagion did not create enough virus paranoia, the world was recently bombarded by real world Ebola and Zika outbreaks. But awareness, Prof Burt says, is not a bad thing. “Years ago, when people heard that I did Ebola research, they got that distant look in their eyes, and changed the subject. One outbreak later, backed by many media reports, and Ebola is almost a household name. The same goes for the recent Zika virus outbreak in South America.”

The more familiar people become with these types of viruses, the better, Prof Burt feels. However, getting the right message across is not always that easy. The Zika virus outbreak, for example, was a very large outbreak and therefore presented large numbers of affected people. Generally, not everyone infected with an arbovirus will necessarily present with symptoms. But because vector-borne viruses can spread to new areas, surveillance and awareness is important. Here in Bloemfontein, Prof Burt and her team are establishing surveillance programmes.

Gaining knowledge and preventative measures
So, next time you get all wound up about a “biological disaster”, rest assured that competent people like Prof Burt and her colleagues continuously scan the environment to gain knowledge and develop preventive measures should any risks be looming. For example, developing next-generation vaccines that are very effective, but without risk – since they are not built on the virus itself, but only on the part of the virus that will induce an immune response.

Currently, Prof Burt is also looking into the relationship between the Sindbis virus and arthritis. It is clear that we can expect many exciting findings from the UFS’s new virology unit.

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