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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

Thinking stone artist on his way to Italy
2015-04-29

Willem Boshoff

Professor extraordinary at the UFS Department of Fine Art, Willem Boshoff, together with other South African artists, will represent the country next month at the Venice Biennale.

The 56th Biennale takes place between 9 May and 22 November 2015. It is regarded as the world’s most important art event, with 53 countries taking part. This year the artists will take part in the exhibition entitled What remains is Tomorrow, which will take place in the Arsenal complex in the Italian city of Venice, where it will be on view.

Boshoff was responsible for one of the sculptures known as the Thinking Stone, that may be seen in the middle of the Bloemfontein Campus, in front of the Main Building and next to Red Square.

This work consists of a 32-ton black granite block excavated from the Boschpoort stone quarry in Belfast, Mpumalanga. The block has engravings that are copies of the prehistoric rock paintings (also known as petroglyphs) from Driekopseiland (a prehistoric rock art area near Kimberley). Together with the engravings, on the front of the block, there are sand-blasted inscriptions in six languages of verses and well-known quotations that refer to the word “rock”. These inspire further thought and contemplation. Boshoff has created similar works, including Children of the stars, situated at the Cradle of Mankind.

Boshoff is also known for very innovative and conceptual works, and has created various public artworks, both nationally and internationally. His work includes commissions from the University of Johannesburg, The Constitutional Court, the Mpumalanga Legislature in Nelspruit, and South Africa House in London’s Trafalgar Square.

His work focuses regularly on relationships and social interaction. Generally, they are also the subject of subsequent discussions.       

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