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26 February 2019 | Story Eugene Seegers | Photo Eugene Seegers
Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Daniella Coetzee, South Campus Principal, Tshegofatso Setilo, Director Access, Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector Operations
Prof Francis Petersen, Prof Daniella Coetzee (Principal: South Campus), Tshegofatso Setilo (Head: Access Programmes), and Prof Prakash Naidoo (Vice-Rector: Operations) on the South Campus for the welcoming of first-years.

“Welcome to the South Campus of the University of the Free State!” Addressing a packed Madiba Arena, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said he was happy to see not only first-year students, but also parents and guardians, student leadership, and support staff from both the Bloemfontein and South Campuses.

 “I would like to congratulate each of our first-year students for making the decision to come to Kovsies to further your studies here. But I would also like to thank you for making this choice,” he continued.

Prof Petersen further emphasised that the students’ experience and success as individuals are important to the UFS as an institution; therefore, academic and support staff are on hand to guide them through their journey to becoming well-rounded individuals. “We will surely take care of you,” said Prof Petersen. He also reassured parents and guardians that their loved ones would be well looked after.

The Rector also focused attention on the role of student-leadership structures, such as the newly-formed Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) and South Campus SRC, members of which were present in the audience. He thanked them for playing a key role in the student constituency, highlighting their support and guidance to help first-years cultivate a sense of belonging at the UFS.

Turning back to first-year students, Prof Petersen stated that they have the unique opportunity to study on a campus specifically focused on developing their full potential, a campus where they can realise their dreams. “Your arrival on the campus marks a new chapter in your life. This chapter is slightly different, as you are the author thereof. The previous chapters in your life were largely written by others—your parents, guardians, families, teachers, and others. You will now be the main author in the next chapter of your unique story.”

“At Kovsies, we believe in developing students in their totality as human beings, not just the academic side. May your time with us equip you to make a success of your life after university!”

Prof Petersen’s Message to First-year Students
  1. Take responsibility for your academic programme.
    • Keep your focus. Study and study hard. You will reap the rewards and see the advantages of making success in your studies a top priority.
    • Make sure that you have enough time for your studies; balance your social life and your time set aside to study.
  2. Realise and remember that you are not alone.
    • If you find things difficult, seek help.
    • Our Department of Student Counselling and Development has trained staff and tailor-made programmes that can assist you.
    • Look after your mental health—and look after each other’s mental health.
  3. Make the most of your time at Kovsies.
    • Join one or more of the student organisations; why not try something new?
  4. Embrace difference and diversity.
    • Get to know students who are different from you.
    • You will lose valuable opportunities to grow if you only associate with your own all the time. It is important to get to know students who are different from you. It could be someone from a different part of the country, or from another country, a different ethnicity, a different religion, someone who has different views from yours, or who has different interests and perspectives.

News Archive

Dr Makutoane to present research on world stage in US

“If the SBL has acknowledged you,
it means the research you are doing
is solid. There are people out there
who want to listen to my paper.”

To present a research paper at an international conference of about 10 000 people and where 100 sessions are taking place at the same time is what dreams are made of for an academic. This is no longer a dream for the humble Dr Tshokolo Makutoane who will share his knowledge at the annual meeting of the prestigious Society of Biblical Literature (SBL).

Dr Makutoane, a senior lecturer at the Department of Hebrew at the University of the Free State (UFS), will be a speaker at the conference in Boston, in the US, from 19-21 November 2017. This after receiving a remarkable travel grant from the SBL to present his paper, titled The Contribution of Linguistic Typology for the Study of Biblical Hebrew in Africa: The Case of Sesotho Pronouns.

Description: Dr Makutoane to present research on world stage in US Tags: Dr Makutoane to present research on world stage in US

Dr Makutoane, senior lecturer at the Department of
Hebrew at the University of the Free State, was
speechless when he heard he will be presenting a
paper at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical
Literature in Boston in the US.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

Scholars from around the world participate
His paper is part of a thematic session on “Theoretical Approaches to Anaphora and Pronouns in Biblical Hebrew” in which scholars from Canada, the US, Australia, Europe and Israel will participate.

The research Dr Makutoane will be showcasing in Boston is about teaching Biblical Hebrew in Africa, and more specifically, pronouns, to Sesotho-speaking students.

“SBL is one of the largest organisations in the world and if you get the opportunity to present a paper there, it is one of the highest honours in our context you can have,” Dr Makutoane said.

“If the SBL has acknowledged you, it means the research you are doing is solid. There are people out there who want to listen to my paper.”

According to the SBL website ( more than 1 200 academic sessions and workshops will take place at the conference, co-hosted by the SBL and the American Academy of Religion.

Highlight of researcher’s entire career
Receiving the grant and attending the conference for the first time is the highlight of Dr Makutoane’s career. “I feel very grateful, honoured and humbled. I was speechless when I heard about it. I couldn’t help myself and actually cried,” he said.

The grant, given to only four SBL members – the other three are from Samoa, Nigeria and India – is intended to support under-represented and under-resourced scholars who demonstrate a financial need.

Dr Makutoane thanked his mentors, Prof Jacobus Naudé and Prof Cynthia Miller-Naudé, who assisted him with the application. Naudé is a senior professor at the Department of Hebrew and Miller-Naudé a senior professor and head of the department.

Dr Makutoane, who studied Theology at the UFS and is a minister at the NGKA Rehauhetswe church near Bloemfontein, is also grateful to his church that gave him the opportunity to study at the UFS and be able to work at the university.

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