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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

UFS Professor on his new book on Boko Haram
2017-02-01

Description: Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor  Tags: Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor

Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor
in the Department of Political Studies and
Governance at the UFS and co-editor of the
book titled Understanding Boko Haram:
Terrorism and Insurgency in Africa
.
Photo: Charl Devenish

Understanding the nature of the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria is exactly what Prof Hussein Solomon from the Department of Political Studies and Governance at the University of the Free State (UFS) has set out to do.

Understanding the emergence of Boko Haram
Prof Solomon says tens of thousands of people have been killed in northeast Nigeria and neighbouring states as a result of the violence unleashed by the terrorist group. With the help of his co-editor, Prof Jim Hentz, who is an army colonel and lecturer at the Virginia Military Institute in the US, they set out to “understand the emergence of Boko Haram in a historical, sociological, economic and political context”.

In his book, titled Understanding Boko Haram: Terrorism and Insurgency in Africa, Prof Solomon “seeks to understand the emergence of Boko Haram in a historical, sociological, economic and political context”.

Book launch to take place in Chicago in the US
In his previous book, Islamic State and the Coming Global Confrontation, he analyses the origins and organisational structure of the Islamic State. Although an entirely new topic, but within the broad theme of political Islam, this book focuses more on how Boko Haram has become part of the Islamic State’s franchise in West Africa.

The book, which took more than a year to write, is based on secondary research, followed by primary documents and interviews done on the ground in Nigeria. It will be of much interest to students of terrorism and political violence, insurgencies, African politics, war and conflict studies, and international relations in general.

The official launch will take place at the African Studies Association’s annual meeting and takes place from 16-18 November 2017, in Chicago in the US.

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