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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

Dr Cawood awarded prestigious British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship
2016-08-02

Description: British Academy logo Tags: British Academy logo
Description: Newton fund logo Tags: Newton fund logo

“I am absolutely thrilled to be associated with such esteemed organisations as the Newton Fund and the British Academy.” This is what Dr Stephanie Cawood, from the Centre for Africa Studies (CAS) at the University of the Free State (UFS), had to say on being awarded a prestigious British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship. It is part of the United Kingdom’s (UK) Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Grant will assist research on the meaning of museums, monuments, spaces, and discourse

She received a grant of £62,904 (R 1,177,949.35), that will enable her to conduct research that will compare how liberation struggles have been memorialised in South Africa and Uganda. The focus will be on museums, monuments, spaces, and discourse.

The idea is to analyse the relationship between memory, space, and power, said Dr Cawood. The project will run over three years, and will involve comparative fieldwork between liberation movements in South Africa and Uganda.  Dr Johnathan Fisher from the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham will be Dr Cawood’s research partner. “Building a research network between the institutions involved is an important aspect of this research,” said Dr Cawood.

Fellowship will enhance international footprint and collaboration

“I believe it will contribute significantly to my intellectual engagement, career advancement, and international footprint”.

“I believe it will contribute significantly to my
intellectual engagement, career advancement,
and international footprint”

The award also has the potential to further relations at a broader level between the UFS and the University of Birmingham. It will also strengthen a collaborative relationship between the CAS and International Development Department.

The British Academy is the UK’s national body for championing the humanities and social sciences, and counts many world-leading scholars and researchers among its ranks.

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