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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

Address by the first Inaugural President of the Central SRC
2005-08-03


 

The UFS Central SRC

Address by the first Inaugural President of the Central SRC of the University of the Free State, Mr Tello Motloung on Wednesday 3 August 2003

The Chairperson of the UFS Council, Judge Faan Hancke,
The Vice-chancellor and Rector of the UFS, Prof Frederick Fourie
The Vice-Rector Student Affairs of the UFS, Dr Ezekiel Moraka
The Presidents of the main campus SRC and the Vista campus SRC
Colleagues in the Central SRC, campus SRCs, students and fellow South Africans

Please receive my heartfelt revolutionary greetings

Vice-chancellor and rector what I bring here with me assisted by facts, is just the work of my imagination. Like a love letter addressed to a sweetheart miles away, even though you do not know how she feels, what she wants to hear, and do not even know what she looks like.

I value speech as just an honest intimation, that’s why I got into a habit of establishing a dialogue with people, looking at each other’s face, and persuading one another of what we are saying.

Vice-chancellor, today marks an important milestone in the history of the existence of the UFS. Today reflects the confidence and trust that students of the UFS have placed in us. They are confident that the Central SRC has both the will and the capacity to take our university forward as we confront the challenge of transformation.

Students are confident that they are correct to trust the Central SRC as the principal agent of change in our university that is genuinely committed to the objective of building a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic university. We need to frankly ask ourselves, as CSRC members, whether are we up to all these challenges?

All Central SRC members have to understand this fully, internalize it, and ensure that everything we do, does not betray the confidence and trust of students, or disappoint their expectations. I say this knowing that all Central SRC members have committed themselves to serve the students of the UFS, black and white, and no one among us (CSRC) needs any special lectures about this central commitment.

The UFS should be an omnibus, welcoming everybody on board. But we should be a bus with a clear direction. We will certainly lose our way if we, as an institution, don’t have a clear road map spelling out where we are heading to.

There should be clear guidelines on the role of students in the transformation process. Students should also be viewed as role players in transformation along with the University management, and not just opposing forces. There is no right time, other than this one, to move away from the politics of opposition to politics of transformation.

However, we need the support of management to do so. The University should value the role and contribution of student leaders, hear our legitimate claims and consider them as part of political and policy decision making.
     
Vice-chancellor and Rector, it remains our task to ensure that the UFS is transformed into an institution that is seen to be playing a vigilant role in developing students academically, intellectually, socially, culturally, politically and otherwise. The process of transformation is not ending tonight, it is just beginning tonight.

Judge Hancke, Prof Fourie, Dr Moraka, fellow students and fellow South Africans, I lead students at this university with a sense of pride and duty, and I know very well that I lead men and women, students who are all determined that we reach our destination safely and on time.

A navy divided within its ranks will be destroyed and vanquished by the enemy, but the navy united in purpose and action, loyalty and commitment will not sink but sail on to victory.

It is befitting to mention that every drop of my blood is telling me that the UFS is my home. I firstly became a student here, I became the SRC treasurer in my first year here, I became the deputy president here, and I became the first president of the Central SRC of the UFS.

Therefore you should never doubt my commitment towards the transformation of this university. To paraphrase what was said by students at another institution, “If there is no UFS in heaven, then I am not going.”

Let me conclude by thanking my ancestors for teaching me that even if I wined and dined with kings and queens, I am not a king myself, so I should not turn my back on people who made me what I am today.

Most importantly, I would like to thank the Almighty God and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ for giving me time and power to lead this university.

It will be theoretically irresponsible if I ended my speech without indicating that “Only a Kovsie knows the feeling”.

I thank you.

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