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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

First CAS Winter School brings researchers together
2016-08-01

Description: CAS Winter School  Tags: CAS Winter School

International and University of the Free State delegates
during the three day Centre for Africa Studies
winter school.
Photo: Supplied

The first biennial doctoral Winter School by the Centre for Africa Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS) brought together UFS PhD researchers as well as current and new Africa Studies students specialising in the Conflict and Peace subfield.

According to Prof Heidi Hudson, Director of the Centre for Africa Studies, this was the aim of the Winter School, hosted in collaboration with the John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS) in the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford  in the United Kingdom. The Winter School took place from 18-22 July 2016 on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

Doctoral students gain deeper insight during school

Prof Hudson said the Winter School was presented to share insights, and develop further understanding of the complex terrain of interdisciplinary studies.
“The School also provided an opportunity for the Centre’s newly-recruited doctoral students specialising in peace and conflict to gain deeper insight into Peace Studies methodologies,” said Prof Hudson.

Why male ex-combatants resort to violent behaviour?

To conclude the Winter School, Prof Donna Pankhurst from the University of Bradford presented a seminar. Her research paper, What is wrong with men? Revisiting violence against women in conflict and peacebuilding, tries to explain why men resort to violent behaviour after the end of combat duty. Prof Pankhurst described her research title as “a wacky title to grab people’s attention”. “This paper is part of a larger study which is exploring the extent to which post-traumatic stress disorder may impact on male ex-combatants' tendency to commit violence against women,” said Prof Pankhurst.

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