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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

Strydom helps establish SA in international clarinet arena
2016-06-07

Description: Danré Strydom Tags: Danré Strydom

Danré Strydom, clarinet lecturer in
the Odeion School of Music at the
University of the Free State, was
named national chairperson to
represent South Africa in the
International Clarinet Association.
Photo: Odeion School of Music.

Her appointment holds international benefits not only for the University of the Free State (UFS), but also for the rest of South Africa’s clarinet community.

This is the view of Danré Strydom, clarinet lecturer in the Odeion School of Music (OSM) at the UFS, on her appointment as South African chairperson of the International Clarinet Association in Columbus (Ohio), America.

It is no coincidence, therefore, that the OSM, with Strydom at the helm as Buffet artist, will present an international clarinet festival on the Bloemfontein Campus from 4 to 8 October 2016. During the International Clarinet Extravaganza, a first for South Africa, world-renowned clarinet players like Eddy Vanoosthuyse of Belgium, Marco Mazinni of Peru, and Sun Zhen of China, will perform.

More contact with overseas representatives
“South Africa’s clarinet community is fairly distanced from the rest of the world,” says Strydom. “In places like Europe and the USA, it is easy to attend a variety of masterclasses, research opportunities, and clarinet festivals.” Her appointment means that she will have more contact with representatives from other countries. “It is also important for composers from South Africa to have their work performed beyond our borders.”

The purpose of the International Clarinet Association is to support projects that benefit clarinet players. She also writes for the association’s journal.

Strydom, who is completing her PhD this year, was honoured some seven months ago with the elite international accomplishment of Buffet artist. She is the first South African to represent Buffet-Crampon.

Clarinet festival offers additional opportunities
Strydom says the clarinet festival hosted by the UFS is “a wonderful opportunity to put the UFS, OSM, and South Africa on the map for clarinet performance, education, and research.”

The purpose of the festival is to expose South African clarinettists and educators to international trends, and to learn from the best in the world. “The festival will prove that the current education, compositional techniques, standard of players, and the quality at academic institutions can compete with the rest of the world. I also believe it will provide opportunities for students to connect with international players and, in that way, open doors for possible postgraduate studies or concert opportunities overseas.”

Watch videos of Strydom:
Video 1
Video 2

Click here to watch other videos of the OSM.


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