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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

Rag teamwork leads to Armentum, Emily's float
2016-02-04

Description: Rag video screenshot Tags: Rag video screenshot
Rag video clip

Perhaps the residences Armentum and Emily Hobhouse were thrown into the deep end, but they still wanted to prove a point.

This is according to Hanko Minnaar, Residence Committee member for Rag at Armentum, shortly after the residences were announced as overall float winners of the University of the Free State (UFS).

According to Minnaar, Emily Hobhouse and Armentum overcame the challenge of building a float as a two-residence team, while most of the other hostels were in teams of three.

On 30 January 2016, after about two weeks of hard work and sweat, the residence twosome was named the winner at the Bloemfontein Campus.

“I am very proud. We couldn't have asked for more,” Minnaar said, after the residences Armentum and Emily Hobhouse celebrated their victory with house songs. “Anything is possible through teamwork.”

Tom and Jerry, Olaf and a Steri Stumpie

 The theme for this year was “Cartoons, Animation, and Children's Snacks”. Among other items, Armentum and Emily Hobhouse had Tom and Jerry, Olaf from Frozen, a Steri Stumpie, and a box of Astros on their float.

Description: Rag procession photo Tags: Rag procession photo

Photo: Charl Devenish

“We thought hard about what we wanted,” Minnaar said.

“We also asked some children, and they said that Tom and Jerry is a favourite, and Olaf has always been a winner as well. And Steri Stumpies, of course. Who doesn't like Steri Stumpies?” The residences Marjolein, Veritas, and Akasia were second overall, with Karee, Vergeet-My-Nie, and Sonnedou third.

Colourful processions

The events of the day started off with a morning procession from the Pelonomi Hospital to the Twin City Mall in Heidedal, where students and the community celebrated together, and meals were distributed.

The evening procession, from the Tempe robot in Nelson Mandela Drive to the Old Grey Sports Grounds, was greeted by hordes of spectators along the way.

Artists and Co captivate audience

In the evening, music lovers were entertained at Old Grey Sports Grounds by the legendary artists Vusi Mahlasela, the talented Karen Zoid, and an energetic Francois van Coke.

Local bands, Rise in Red and Simple Stories, added to the excitement. To top it all off, a special laser show made for a colourful visual bonus, coupled with great sound.

2016 Float results
Rag photo gallery

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