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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

Charlotte Maxeke Memorial Lecture launches national Women’s Month Celebrations
2012-08-17

Free State Premier Ace Magashule with President Jacob Zuma during the Charlotte Maxeke Memorial Lecture held on the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Stephen Collett
6 August 2012

 

“Mother of African Freedom, heroine, teacher, unifier and true revolutionary.”

That is how dignitaries such as President Jacob Zuma, African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and others described Charlotte Maxeke, the woman they came to celebrate at the University of the Free State on 4 August 2012.

President Zuma honoured the life of the ANC Women’s League stalwart in delivering the fifth annual Charlotte Maxeke Memorial Lecture. The event officially kicked off the national Women’s Month celebrations and thousands of people made their way to the Bloemfontein Campus to listen to the President’s address.

President Zuma told the audience in the Callie Human Centre that women activism had not started with the 1956 march to the Union Buildings – it began much earlier. He spoke about Charlotte Maxeke’s leading role in the landmark 1913 march against pass laws in Bloemfontein and said this had inspired bravery and enthusiasm in the hearts of many in the struggle.

“As a collective, we must emulate the contribution of Mama Maxeke. In her honour, we must continue to open new paths for women, enable them to break new ground in leadership." President Zuma said Charlotte Maxeke, who believed a woman’s place was everywhere, had to be smiling with regard to Dr Dlamini Zuma’s appointment as Chairperson of the AU Commission.

In her speech, Dr Dlamini Zuma encouraged women to embrace the African Decade of Women, saying it was their responsibility to define and implement the changes they want to see. “We should define for ourselves what this decade means, define that we want to do, the role we want to play and achieve during this decade.”

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