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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

Help to rural women to become entrepreneurs
2006-10-24

Some of the guests who attended the ceremony were, from the left: Mr Donray Malabie (Head of the Alexander Forbes Community Trust), Ms Jemina Mokgosi (one of the ladies from Tabane Village who is participating in the Women in Agriculture project), Dr Limakatso Moorosi (Head: Veterinary Services, Free State Department of Agriculture), Prof Johan Greyling (Head: UFS Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences) and Ms Khoboso Lehloenya (coordinator of the project from UFS Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences). Photo: Leonie Bolleurs\

Alexander Forbes and UFS help rural women to become entrepreneurs
 
Today, the Alexander Forbes Community Trust and the University of the Free State (UFS) joined forces to create an enabling environment for rural women to become players in the private sector.

Three years ago the UFS set up a unique small-scale household egg production project called Women in Agriculture in Thaba ‘Nchu as a pilot project. The project was officially launched today by Mr Donray Malabie, Head of the Alexander Forbes Community Trust.

The aim of the Women in Agriculture Project is to create jobs, provide food security and to help develop rural women into entrepreneurs. A total of 25 women based in Tabane Village in Thaba ‘Nchu are the beneficiaries of the project.

“This is the first project in the Free State the Alexander Forbes Community Trust is involved with.  The project would help rural women acquire the skills they need to run their own egg-production business from their homes,” said Mr Malabie. 

“The ongoing debate on the shortage of skills ignores the fact that people with little or no education at all also need training. This project is special to the Trust as it provides for the creation of sustainable jobs, food security and the transfer of much needed skills all at once, particularly at this level,” he said.

Every woman in the group started with two small mobile cages that housed 12 hens each. The units are low in cost, and made of commercially available welded mesh and a metal frame. Now, each woman has four cages with 48 hens. The group manages to collectively produce 750 eggs daily.

The eggs are currently sold to local businesses, including spaza shops and the women are using the income generated to look after their families and to further develop their business.

The Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences at the UFS identified the project and did the initial research into the feasibility of setting up such a project.

“A demonstration and training unit has been established at the Lengau Agricultural Development Centre and the women attended a short practical training course. Subsidies are provided for feeding, together with all the material and the lay hens necessary for the start of the business,” said Ms Khoboso Lehloenya, coordinator of the project from the Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences at the UFS. 

“The advantage in using lay hens is that they are resistant to diseases and the women will not need electric heating systems for the egg production,” said Ms Lehloenya. 

According to Ms Lehloenya, the women are already benefiting from their egg production businesses.  “Some of them have used the profit to buy school uniforms and tracksuits for their children and others are now able to make a monthly contribution to their household expenses,” said Ms Lehloenya. 
“In South Africa, possibly due to cultural reasons and circumstances, most black people prefer to eat older and tougher chickens, compared to younger soft commercially available broiler chickens. This preference creates a further advantage for the women. At the end of their production cycle, old hens can be sold for a higher price than point-of-lay or young hens. This brings in further money to pay for more hens,” said Ms Lehloenya.

The Alexander Forbes Trust contributed R191 000 towards the project aimed at expanding it to benefit 15 more women.

“We are in the process of recruiting an additional 15 women in Thaba ‘Nchu who will be trained by the Lengau Agricultural Development Centre in order to replicate the model and extend its reach”, said Ms Lehloenya.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl@mail.uovs.ac.za
20 October 2006

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