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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 violinist for Odeion String Quartet
2013-02-06

Samson Diamond
06 February 2013



The Odeion String Quartet has a new member, a young accomplished violinist with a string of awards to his name. Samson Diamond, who won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music in 2010, has joined the quartet. He is the first male member the quartet has had for about five years. The Soweto-born violinist replaced Denise Sutton, former leader and first violinist. He will lead the quartet, a flagship of the university and the only resident string quartet at a South African university. The other three members are Sharon de Kock (violin), Jeanne-Louise Moolman (viola) and Anmari van der Westhuizen (cello).

Twenty-eight year old Diamond, a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK, says he is looking forward to working with students from the Odeion School of Music. “I am sure there are many talented students here.”

The musician, who obtained both his Bachelor of Music Honours degree and his Masters of Music Performance degree with distinction, will be based in Bloemfontein on a full time basis. As a member of the quartet, he will be giving concerts, coaching chamber music for the various chamber ensembles and will also give individual lessons to some of the violin students at the School.

Diamond, who started playing the violin at age ten, boast a long list of achievements. At age 12, he was leader of the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble, one of the country's prominent youth projects. He was a founding member of the jazz classical band Quattro Fusion and former leader of the Diamond quartet. He has performed before many distinguished guests, including Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

Diamond says being the first male member in years will not bring about a change in the quartet He says it is about the standard of playing and the calibre of music.

“Music is music whether you work with men or women.”

Diamond’s first performance as member of the quartet will be on 21 February 2013. Details about the performance will be communicated later.

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