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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

Louzanne Coetzee heading for Paralympic Games in Rio
2016-08-02

Description: Louzanne Coetzee  Tags: Louzanne Coetzee

Louzanne Coetzee (left) from the University of the
Free State and her guide Khothatso Mokone, a former Kovsie,
will compete in the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil, from 7 to 18 September 2016.
Photo: Rufus Botha

Her perseverance and faith. Faith in herself and her coaches, as well as her Christian faith. Rufus Botha says this is what makes the Paralympic athlete Louzanne Coetzee special. According to her coach, the 23-year-old star from the University of the Free State (UFS) is easy to work with. “Her work ethic is incredible. As coach, I actually have to stop her,” he jokes. “She does not like to rest.”

On 19 July 2016, Coetzee was included in South Africa’s Paralympic team for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She and her guide Khothatso Mokone, also a former Kovsie, were included in the team that will participate in Rio from 7 to 18 September 2016.

Sights still set on 2020 Olympics

In Brazil, Coetzee will compete in the T11 category in the 1 500 m. The blind athlete is also outstanding in the 800 m and 5 000 m, of which she is the world record holder, but these items do not feature at the Olympics.

Botha says Coetzee has her sights still set on the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. “Anything she achieves in Rio will actually be a bonus.” He says it was an achievement on its own to be included in the SA team among established athletes such as Arnu Fourie and Ilse (Hayes) Carstens.

CUADS super proud of record-breaker

“Anything she achieves in Rio
will actually be a bonus.”


“Louzanne is an absolute star and an example to so many Kovsie students,” says Martie Miranda, Head of the Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) at the UFS. “We are super proud of her.”

On 17 July 2016, Coetzee set a new Africa record (5:00:25) in the 1 500 m in Berlin. She will leave for Rio on 30 August 2016, with her heat taking place on 15 September 2016 and the finals on 17 September 2016.

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