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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

Reconciliation ceremony brings a closure to the Reitz incident
2011-02-08

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the University of the Free State (UFS)
are pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the Equality Court complaint against the four
former UFS students for their recording and dissemination of a video which demeaned and
humiliated five university workers in 2007.

The closure of the complaint culminated tonight in a moving reconciliation ceremony held on the
Main Campus of the UFS in Bloemfontein. The key event of the evening included the reading of
messages of apology from Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Vice-Rector, on behalf of the institution, and Mr
Danie Grobler, on behalf of the former students; and a message of acceptance of the apologies
from Ms Emmah Koko on behalf of the workers.

Deputy Chairperson of the SAHRC Commissioner, Pregs Govender, said of this historic event:
“The courage and compassion shown by the workers together with the students’ willingness to
embrace the spirit of change have enabled a process of justice, transformation and reconciliation
that is an inspiring example for South Africa. The process, led by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-
Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, whose term began just after this incident, has laid a significant
foundation for the future. It is significant, not just for this university, but for all educational
institutions, including schools.”

“The ceremony of apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation represents a historic event – not only for
our campus, but also for the country. It lays the groundwork for building a new university culture and
climate. “Reitz” hurt all of us, and we can finally close the book on the past and rebuild our
institution to be a truly non-racial university where we respect each other, first and foremost, for our
common humanity,” said Prof. Jansen.

Messages from among others former President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond
Tutu, and the Presidency, were also read.

The day started off with a seminar on reconciliation, hosted by the SAHRC, UFS and the Mangaung
Local Municipality. Former Chief Justice Pius Langa was the keynote speaker at this event. Other
participants in the seminar included Mr Lawrence Mushwana, Chairperson of the SAHRC; Mr Wally
Serote from the Freedom Park; and Mr John Samuel, Director of the International Institute for
Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice at the UFS.


Media Release
25 February 2011
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

 

 

 

 

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