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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

Max du Preez on South Africa’s leadership vacuum
2011-08-29

 

Present at the CR Swart Memorial Lecture was, from the left: Prof. Hussein Solomon, senior Professor in our Department of Political Science; Prof. Theo Neethling, Head of our Department of Political Science; Max du Preez and Prof. Lucius Botes,Dean of our Faculty of Humanities.
Photo: Stephen Collett

“Much has been going wrong in South Africa in the last few years and it’s all due to a lack of strong, visionary leadership. South Africans deserve better and should demand more integrity, courage and vision from the present political leadership,” veteran journalist and author Max du Preez told the audience at a packed Wynand Mouton Theatre at our university, on 25 August 2011.

Delivering this year’s CR Swart Memorial Lecture on the topic “Of Jacob, Julius, Jimmy and the Dancing Monkey”, Du Preez told the audience to look with much more critical eyes at the political leadership and decide who is doing the obvious, following his or her basest instincts or simply trying to play to the gallery. “Why look at a man like Julius Malema and let him upset us, why listen to Floyd Shivambu with his crude manners and let them define us?” Du Preez asked the more than 300 people attending the memorial lecture. The CR Swart Memorial Lecture, the 41st hosted by the UFS, attracted one of the largest crowds ever for a public lecture, with some people sitting on the steps inside the auditorium of the Wynand theatre.
 
Telling the story of African philospher Morena Mohlomi, who acted as a teacher to Basuto king Moshoeshoe, Du Preez told the audience that the country needs counter-intuitive leadership like the two leaders had demonstrated. Calling Mohlomi southern Africa’s first Pan Africanist, Du Preez said the extroadinary thing about Morena Mohlomi and his student was their gift of counter-intuitive leadership, leadership that was daring and visionary, leadership that did not simply do the obvious. Pointing out other visionary leaders like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Beyers Naude and Van Zyl Slabbert, Du Preez urged the audience to question “the quality of leadership of Cosatu, the Democratic Teachers Union that is messing up our education, the Communist Party, the Democratic Alliance, the Freedom Front Plus and Solidarity. If they don’t live up to our expectations, why do we still tolerate them?” Du Preez asked.
 
Du Preez also commended Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, for his counter-intuitive leadership regarding the Reitz Residence incident and said Prof. Jansen’s solution, as controversial as it was, brought a much better outcome.
 
Please find attached the full speech of Max Du Preez.

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