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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

Human Trafficking in Africa presented at Cambridge Counter Trafficking Summer School
2016-08-22

Description: Beatri Kruger Tags: Beatri Kruger

Prof Beatri Kruger

The Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking (CCARHT) presented the Counter Trafficking Summer School programme from 31 July to 6 August 2016 in Cambridge, England. The Summer School was based on the 2020MDS vision for graduates and young professionals in law, finance, public policy and development.

 During the week-long programme, Prof Beatri Kruger, Adjunct Professor in Public Law at the University of the Free State and renowned researcher in human trafficking in South Africa, presented via Skype, some of the burning issues of human trafficking and developments in the Africa region. Her perspectives come at a crucial time in the development of research in the field, especially concerning practices that are unique to Africa and Southern Africa in particular.

Her presentation titled: Celebrations and challenges en route to #2020HTvision: Southern Africa perspective explores the significant progress made by African countries in implementing the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) legislations with some convictions and action plans to combat this heinous crime. In her lecture, Prof Kruger shared some of the controls used by traffickers over their victims.   She explained that these controls range from violence to financial and psychological measures. A strong psychological control method is the use of traditional rituals, termed “Juju” or witchcraft, by Nigerian traffickers, where fear is instilled in the victim to pledge loyalty to their captors.  Traffickers are generally known to also use drugs and alcohol to control victims.

Prof Kruger indicated that there is a significant number of human trafficking cases recorded in South Africa. However her particular focus is on the regional tradition of Ukuthwala. This tradition was  seen as a romantic game to expedite marriage negotiations, but recently the tradition is often abused to traffic young girls into forced marriages. 

She mentioned that some countries in Africa such as Zambia have made significant progress with enforcing laws that criminalise the use of traditions violating human rights. Prof Kruger presented her research to various other researchers and students from regions across the globe, including Asia, the Middle East, America and Europe.  This research will be published in the South African Review of Sociology in the coming months and in an international handbook on human trafficking in 2017.

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