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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

Kovsie singing sensation releases debut album
2017-02-16

Description:Hailey Clark, Deurmekaar Tags: Hailey Clark, Deurmekaar longdesc=

Hailey Clark, musician and
third-year BA Drama and
Theatre Arts student at the
University of the Free State.
Photo: Sonelle van Wyk.

Music was always something this singing sensation wanted to do from a very early age.

Sonet du Plessis, more famously known by her stage name, Hailey Clark, is a third-year BA Drama and Theatre Arts student at the University of the Free State (UFS). Her electronic pop debut album, titled Deurmekaar, was finally launched after a year of hard work and sacrifice.

Success in English and Afrikaans

Hailey, whose album features Afrikaans and English songs, says her music is influenced and inspired by a variety of local sounds and artists. “Dirk van der Westhuizen and Refentse – a new and upcoming artist – are two of the locals I look up to,” she says.

Reaching success at such a young age is the result of setting goals and achieving them. “Success is when you grow as a person and an artist in your music. You need to enjoy every moment of what you do and share it with other people,” Hailey says.

Future music producer and actress

With a bright future ahead of her, Hailey wants to become a full-time musician, but also wants to focus on acting, especially in films. “I want to perform as much as possible and hopefully become a music producer. I also have plans to do some acting as well.”

For all those who dream of becoming a musician, it’s hard work, Hailey says. “You have to know it is something you want to do and you have to commit to it. If it is what you want, keep focused and surround yourself with positive and encouraging people.”

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