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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

#Women’sMonth: Men should help change narrative on violence against women – Prof Solomon
2017-08-23

 Description: Issues affecting women Tags: Prof Hussein Solomon, Department of Political Studies, violence against women, Gender and Sexual Equity Office, Women’s Month, Embrace a Sister, Boko Haram 

The panellists at a discussion on Issues
Affecting Women
at the UFS Sasol library were
Zane Thela, Head of the Gender and Sexual
Equity Office Programme, Pumla Mgobhozi, founding
member of Embrace a Sister, and
Prof Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in the
Department of Political Studies.
From the left, are: Thela, Mgobhozi, Prof Solomon,
and Betsy Eister, Director: Library and
Information Services.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

The fight to eradicate violence against women is one which men should be involved in. According to Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in the Department of Political Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS), men have to help change the narrative of physical abuse and sexual violence which they perpetrate against women and children.
“Let them (men who might be offended by the #men are trash) reject violent masculinities, and in the process let them redefine what being a man is about. Let fathers teach their sons that no means no.”

Panel discussion on Issues Affecting Women
Prof Solomon was part of a panel discussion on Issues Affecting Women, organised by the UFS library, in collaboration with the Gender and Sexual Equity Office and Embrace a Sister, as part of Women’s Month in the UFS Sasol library on 3 August 2017.
The other panellists were Zane Thela, Head of the Gender and Sexual Equity Office Programme at the UFS, and Pumla Mgobhozi, founding member of Embrace a Sister. Prof Solomon’s book Understanding Boko Haram, focusing on the kidnapping of 200 young women in Nigeria was also launched.

Don’t accept things as they are
Prof Solomon says that responses by the SA government have no credibility and a lot more could be done. “What is clear is that outrage alone will not end this violence.”
Even at SA universities there are many examples of how women are mistreated. “We need to ask: What more can we do as a university to assist these (female) students.”

According to Thela, it is sad that these issues are only talked about seasonally (like during Women’s Month).
Thela says people should raise their children differently in order to change the narrative. “Then men won’t think they have to prove themselves to women.”
And we shouldn’t accept things as they are: “The most dangerous statement in society is to say: ‘It has always been done this way."

Role of women in their fate
Mgobhozi emphasised that women have a hand in the way they are being seen and treated in society. She therefore asked: “What is the role of women in making sure that we dismantle patriarchy”.
According to her women, especially black women, should dismantle the status quo. She added that cultures and parents often influence the way women are seen.
“Women should fight these social problems together,” Mgobhozi says.

 

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