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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

IRSJ Research fellow embarks on historic ‘voyage’
2017-12-11

Description: Grider read more Tags: Prof John Grider, Foreign Voyage, Pacific Labour Identity, IRSJ, Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice, Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ),   

Prof John T Grider, making the maritime past alive again in the minds
of a new generation.
Photo: Eugene Seegers


 

Prof John Grider, Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the USA and a Research Fellow in the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ) at the University of the Free State (UFS), has launched a book based on more than a decade of research into the Pacific maritime labour identity. His monograph, entitled A Foreign Voyage—Pacific Labour Identity, 1840-1890, delves into the history of the maritime industry, not only as a vehicle for expanding the processes of capitalism, colonialism, industrialisation, and globalisation, but is also exploring the impact of this industry on the shifts in gender, race, class, and technology.

As a student in Colorado, a homesick Grider tried to connect with his coastal roots via research. “Before I started to explore the maritime history, I thought of the ocean as a type of boundary that you sometimes need to cross. The truth is that globalisation happens on ships.” Prof Grider’s passion for Pacific maritime labour identity generates colourful discussions on the topic. Masculine sailors confronted by technological de-skilling that corroded away their identity, come to life as he talks and writes. “I try to show students that history is more than a story about the powerful few, and that everyday people, who may seem powerless, play a major role in shaping the past and the future.”

This monograph is based on first-hand, previously unpublished accounts of daily life at sea, often from ships’ logs and the diaries kept by the men who sailed them. The culmination of much painstaking research and supporting evidence, this book investigates the complex interplay between gender, class, and race sourced from the narratives of men who found themselves working in the transforming Pacific maritime industry during the mid-nineteenth century. A powerful lesson to be learnt from this fascinating segment of maritime labour history, is adaptability, “especially in today’s rapidly changing labour world”, Prof Grider says. 

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