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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

2010 World Cup: An opportunity for nation-building
2010-05-11

Pictured from the left, front are: Prof. Labuschagne and Prof. Cornelissen. Back: Prof. Kersting, Prof. Teuns Verschoor (Acting Senior Vice-Rector: UFS) and Dr Ralf Hermann (DAAD).
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

“The 2010 FIFA World Cup creates a window of opportunity for nation-building in South Africa that could even surpass the opportunity created by the 1995 Rugby World Cup.”

This was according to Prof. Pieter Labuschagne from the University of South Africa, who was one of the three speakers during the lecture series on soccer that were recently presented by the Faculty of the Humanities at the University of the Free State (UFS), in conjunction with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), under the theme: Soccer and Nation Building.

Prof. Labuschagne delivered a paper on the topic, The 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa: Nation Building or White Apathy?, highlighting the critical issue of how sport in South Africa was still largely supported along racial lines.

“We are still enforcing the separateness of rugby as a sport for whites and soccer as a sport for blacks,” he said.

He said a high degree of animosity against soccer existed among whites because they felt rugby and cricket were being singled out by parliament as far as transformation was concerned. He said that could be the reason why a large number of South African whites still supported soccer teams from foreign countries instead of local Premier Soccer League teams.

“Bridging social context between different racial groups is still a major problem, even though patriotism is comparatively high in South Africa,” added Prof. Norbert Kersting from the University of Stellenbosch, who also presented a paper on World Cup 2010 and nation building from Germany to South Africa, drawing critical comparisons on issues of national pride and identity between the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the 2010 World Cup.

“Strong leadership is needed to utilize the opportunity provided by the 2010 World Cup to build national unity as former President Nelson Mandela did with the Rugby World Cup in 1995,” said Prof. Labuschagne.

Although acknowledging the power of sport as a unifying force, Prof. Scarlett Cornelissen, also from the University of Stellenbosch, said that, since 1995, the captivating power of sport had been used to achieve political aims and that the 2010 World Cup was no different.

Amongst the reasons she advanced for her argument were that the 2010 World Cup was meant to show the world that South Africa was a capable country; that the World Cup was meant to solidify South Africa’s “African Agenda” – the African Renaissance - and also to extend the idea of the Rainbow Nation; consolidate democracy; contribute to socio-economic development and legitimize the state.

“We should not place too much emphasis on the 2010 World Cup as a nation-building instrument,” she concluded.

She presented a paper on the topic Transforming the Nation? The political legacies of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The aim of the lecture series was to inspire public debate on the social and cultural dimensions of soccer.

DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst) is one of the world’s largest and most respected intermediary organisations in the field of international academic cooperation.
Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
11 May 2010
 

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