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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

Johann Naudé talks at first Beyers Naudé lecture for 2012
2012-08-02

At the event were, from the left: Ms Bontle Senne, Managing Director for the PUKU Children’s Literature Foundation, Mr Sipho Hlongwane, writer and columnist for the Daily Maverick, Prof. Nicky Morgan, Vice-Rector: Operations at the UFS, Mr Themba Mola, Chief Operations Officer at Kagiso Trust, Mr Johann Naudé, son of Dr Beyers Naudé, and Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations.
Photo: Stephen Collett
2 August 2012

The University of the Free State (UFS) together withKagiso Trust, presented the first Beyers Naudé lecture for 2012 on its South Campus in Bloemfontein last week. Speakers like Dr Wilmot James, Member of Parliament, Mr Johann Naudé, son of Dr Beyers Naudé, Mr Sipho Hlongwane, writer and columnist for the Daily Maverick and Ms Bontle Senne, Managing Director for the PUKU Children’s Literature Foundation, all gave a lecture around this year’s theme: Collaborative partnerships for social cohesion: Building a nation with ethics.

Dr Beyers Naudé played a major role in the formation of Kagiso Trust. His contribution to the trust and the fight against oppression in South Africa, as well as his challenging of the establishment from which he came, makes him one of South Africa’s courageous heroes. Kagiso Trust thus saw it fit to celebrate the life of this clerical activist through a Memorial Lecture The Beyers Naudé Memorial Lecture is an effort by the Trust to engage South Africans into a dialogue about issues affecting our nation.

Mr Johann Naudé talked about the lessons they as children learnt from their parents as well as his father’s decision to respond to the needs of the people in South Africa. Even before the Sharpeville Massacre, Dr Naudé began a self-transformation that led to his rejection of apartheid. “Apartheid had no theological or scriptural grounds and my father decided to resign from the church. After that, he started to talk openly against apartheid and he also paid the price for that. For seven years he was under house arrest and we as his children also felt the effect of his decision. At the University of Pretoria in a residence where I stayed as a student I was called in and told that I would be treated as an outcast. Loans and jobs were also closed for us as children and as a result, we all started our own businesses,” Mr Naudé said.

“Furthermore, our parents taught us to believe in ourselves. He also said we have rights and we can only demand those rights if we take the responsibility that goes with it. My father also taught us to honour and to respect our fellow men, elderly people and the culture of people different from us. We were also taught to apologise for the wrongs to our fellow men and to acknowledge earnestly that we were wrong.”

Dr Wilmot James said that there were two things consistent in the life of Dr Beyers Naudé, namely justice and fairness. “There are many Nelson Mandelas and Beyers Naudés out there. It is the responsibility of political parties and institutions to motivate such leadership. We must ask ourselves: Are my actions and decisions ethical and will they have fair consequences?” Dr James said.

Mr Hlongwane focused his presentation on the ethics part of the theme. He said: “We in South Africa fall very short of ethics. We can start by respecting each other and taking care of one another. The Constitution will not mean a thing if we fail to respect and trust one another. We will have no cohesive society if we continue to treat those different from us like dirt. It is also our ethical duty to build up the disadvantaged.

In her discussion, Ms Senne emphasised the role of the youth in South Africa. “Our youth is failing our state because our state is failing our youth. Their role is to bring cohesion and acts of courageousness to the table. For them to contribute in a practical and sustainable manner, they need to start making the changes they want to see in society. They are young people and they can make it work because they do have access to the necessary means (social networks) to get things done. They must get involved,” she said.

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