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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

Trauma, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation Studies attracts global attention
2016-06-27

Description: Lerato Machetela  Tags: Lerato Machetela

Lerato Machetela is on her way to
Ghent University in Belgium where
she will spend 10 months working
alongside experts in the field of
historical trauma.
Photo: Eugene Seegers

Research excellence is one of the major driving forces at the core of the University of the Free State (UFS). This striving for academic distinction has found embodiment within Trauma, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation (TFR) Studies. Headed by Research Fellow and Senior Research Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, the research unit is raking in achievements consistently.

Cornell University Distinguished African Scholar Award
Leading by example, Prof Gobodo-Madikizela received the prestigious 2016 Distinguished African Scholar Award from Cornell University recently. Being honoured with this award affirms an unusual depth of knowledge and experience in a field related to the recipient’s own work. Through this award, Prof Gobodo-Madikizela is now also affiliated with the Institute for African Development and the Psychology Department at Cornell University.

Ghent University fellowship in historical trauma
Another member of TFR has caught international attention. Lerato Machetela – a PhD student at the research unit – received an invitation from scholars at Ghent University in Belgium. Machetela will leave in September, where she will spend ten months in Ghent with experts in the field of historical trauma. She will be affiliated to their university’s Cultural Memory Studies Initiative and the Psychology Department. When Machetela submitted her PhD proposal on transgenerational transmisison of trauma among the youth in Jagersfontein to the UFS Psychology Department panel, “it was hailed as a unique project, and a first for the department,” Prof Gobodo-Madikizela says.

Description: Naleli Morojele Tags: Naleli Morojele

Naleli Morojele conducting the research
in Rwanda that has formed the basis of
her new book, Women Political Leaders
in Rwanda and South Africa: Narratives
of Triumph and Loss.

Book explores triumph and loss of female political leaders
TFR cultivates thriving authors actively, the latest being Naleli Morojele, who is pursuing a PhD in the field of Political Studies. Soon, Morojele will be launching her book, Women Political Leaders in Rwanda and South Africa: Narratives of Triumph and Loss. Through the stories of significant female Rwandan and South African leaders, the reader gains insight into these women’s early-life experiences, struggles, and successes. Perhaps even more pertinently, Morojele’s book also exposes the ways in which gender inequality still works to smother their roles as citizens and politicians.

 

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