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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

‘Captivating, powerful’ exhibition debuts at UFS
2016-08-29

Description: Sue Williamson exibition Tags: Sue Williamson exibition

Sue Williamson, What is this thing called freedom?, 2016 (two-channel video, 19min 25s)

A new exhibition by internationally-recognised artist, Sue Williamson, entitled No More Fairytales, was launched in the Johannes Stegmann Gallery on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) on 18 August 2016. The exhibition takes the audience on an exploration into the long-term effects of South Africa’s violent past.

No More Fairytales features two new video works. In It’s a pleasure to meet you, Candice Mama and Siyah Mgoduka—whose fathers were killed by Eugene de Kock—talk about living with loss, holding, on, and letting go. The other video, What is this thing called freedom?, draws the audience into a conversation between three generations of women in the Siwani family, who talk about the humiliations of apartheid, student unrest in the 1980s, and the recent #FeesMustFall protests.

“It’s all about opening up conversations.”

Both of these works have already been invited to participate in international exhibitions, the first of which, Un Autre Continent, opens in Le Havre, France, in September 2016. The videos will appear in 2017 in Without Drums and Trumpets—100 Years of War, also in France. The exhibition will run until 16 September 2016 at the UFS.

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Sue Williamson, It's a pleasure to meet you, 2016 (two-channel video, 25min)

“There is such an energy to this large piece of work; there is something captivating, something powerful about its vibrancy,” said Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Senior Research Professor in Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies at the UFS. The series was commissioned by Prof Gobodo-Madikizela as part of the project, ‘Trauma, Memory and Representations of the Past: Transforming Scholarship in the Humanities and the Arts’. The five-year research project is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through a grant of R10 million.

The launch of the exhibition was followed the next morning by an insightful dialogue session between Prof Gobodo-Madikizela, Mama, Mgoduka, Williamson, and the audience. “It’s all about opening up conversations and trying to bring out things that have been so painful and so hurtful in this country,” Williamson said.

 

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