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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

Africa still yearns for democracy says academic
2009-05-26

Leading academic Prof Achille Mbembe (pictured), says that in spite of substantial changes the African continent is still yearning for democracy.

Prof Mbembe was delivering a lecture commemorating Africa Day at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein.

He said many Africans feel that democracy and the law, including the paramount law – the constitution itself - have betrayed them.

“Many have a feeling that they have not yet lived fully or fulfilled their lives, that they might not or might never fulfill their lives.”

Prof Mbembe, who originates from Cameroon and has been living in South Africa for nine years , said that what struck him about this country in this democratic era was that many people are still yearning for a return to the past.

He said many black South Africans know that the advent of democracy has not provided them with the kind of life they hoped for.

“If anything, democracy has rendered life even more complex than before,” he said.

“South Africa is still a nation where too many black people possess almost nothing.

“Real freedom means freedom from race,” he said. “The kind of freedom that South Africa is likely to enjoy because this nation will have built a society, a culture and a civilization in which the colour of one’s skin will be superfluous in the overall calculus of dignity, opportunity, rights and obligations,” Prof Mbembe said.

“This freedom will originate, purely and simply, from our being human.”

Prof Mbembe is currently a Research Professor in History and Politics at the University of the Witwatersrand in the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research. He has written extensively on African history and politics.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
26 May 2009
 

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