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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

Martie Miranda one of only 10 SATI accredited sign language interpreters in South Africa
2015-04-23

Martie Miranda
Photo: Stefan Lotter

The University of the Free State is privileged to have one of the top South African Sign Language (SASL) Interpreters as a staff member at the Unit for Students with Disabilities (USD).

Martie Miranda recently passed the accreditation exam of the South African Translators Institute (SATI), joining Dr Philemon Akach, previous HOD of the South African Sign Language Department of the UFS, in becoming one of only 10 SASL interpreters to be SATI accredited.

SATI is a professional association for language practice professionals in South Africa. Voluntary accreditation is offered at a professional level, ensuring a high standard of language practice. The system has become widely recognised, and is used as a recommendation or prerequisite for job applications by a number of institutions, including the South African government, particularly after the infamous ‘Jantjies incident’ with the funeral service of the late President Nelson Mandela.

Martie, a proud Child of Deaf Adults (CODA), has 18 years’ experience in SASL interpreting, lip speaking interpreting, and community interpreting as well as 15 years’ experience of conference and seminar interpreting. She boasts a Level 2 Advanced Interpreting qualification, and she has been mentoring Level 1 SASL interpreters for the past six years. Her extensive interpreting experience on a national and international level also includes Deafblind interpreting as well as Court and Legislature interpreting. She has interpreted three theatre productions, and has been coordinating the SASL services at the UFS since January 2009. She is responsible for the student management of all the hearing-impaired students at the USD.

Martie completed her BML degree (cum laude) at the UFS Business School in 2013, and received the award for top achiever in the programme during her final year. She will enrol for her MBA at the UFS Business School in July 2015.

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