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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

New generation must take South Africa into the Promised Land
2012-07-23

 

Prof. Somadoda Fikeni talks about Reconciliation and Social Justice on Nelson Mandela Day.
Photo: Johan Roux
18 July 2012

 

Former President Nelson Mandela was part of the Moses generation that took people out of bondage. What the country now needs is the Joshua generation that will take it into the promise land.

This is according to political analyst and public commentator, Prof. Somadoda Fikeni. He was speaking to staff and students participating in the Global Leadership Summit, which took place on the Bloemfontein Campus from 8-20 July 2012. Prof. Fikeni took part in a panel discussion on Justice and Reconciliation. He and other panellists observed that there were still many challenges facing reconciliation in South Africa.

Referring to controversial statements made by Helen Zille, Julius Malema and Pieter Mulder, Prof. Fikeni said public discourse had become toxic and that the country was faced by a leadership crisis.

Ms Yasmin Sooka, a former Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights South Africa, asked if reconciliation had not come at the expense of redress. She said that to date there had been no restitution.

Ms Lihlumelo Toyana, a post-graduate student at the university, was also part of the panel. She told the audience that 18 years into democracy, there are still people waiting for justice. Toyana said young people hoped to see change and wondered if South Africans would ever sit down and have dialogue about the past. “We need closure; we need to take the country forward.”

The other panelists were lawyer, politician and former Human Rights Commissioner Prof. Leon Wessels; a professor from the University of Cape Town’s Law Faculty, Prof. Jaco Barnard-Naude; and psychologist, Prof. Alain Tschudin.
 

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