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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

English, Afrikaans, Sotho, and Zulu part of first Literature Festival
2016-08-11

Description: Literature Festival  Tags: Literature Festival

The first Literature Festival was a huge success, attracting
young and old during this year’s Vrystaat Arts Festival held
at the University of the Free State.
Photo: Leopold Frechow

It may have been the inaugural year of the Vrystaat Literature Festival, but, with the success of this year’s event, there are bound to be many more.

Main purpose of the festival

Acting Director of Student Affairs at the University of the Free State (UFS), Cornelia Faasen says: “The main purpose of the festival is to celebrate the South African literary scene as a multi-lingual, multi-cultural landscape, and to bring prominent writers to the UFS in order to open dialogues and discussions with them.”

Because of the students’ role in the arts and culture in general, the Department of Student Affairs wanted them to be involved in the festival too.

Contribution from African writers

Both local and international guests were involved. This year’s theme, “Our Africa”, attracted many African writers too.

Some of these writers include Chika Unigwe, originally from Nigeria, who rose to fame in Belgium, and the Iranian author, Kader Abdolah, a political refugee who escaped from Iran to the Netherlands in the 1980s. Wilfried N’Sondé, originally from the Republic of the Congo, and now living in France, was also a festival guest.

Festival offers something for everyone

Several authors celebrated literature in English. In addition to this, Afrikaans books and writers were featured alongside other indigenous languages, such as Sotho and Zulu.

Faasen says that she hopes that this festival will be the first of many. “We are hoping that this event will find its own legs with more students and academic staff from the UFS involved.”

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