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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

Lunch-time lecture on the subject of contested memories
2011-08-23

 

Guests at the lecture from the left: Dr. Sheila Aronstam, a former UFS Council member; Dr. Eva Hoffman and Henya Bryer a survivor of the Holocaust
Photo: Amanda Tongha

Acclaimed Polish author and academic Dr Eva Hoffman visited the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Bloemfontein Campus on 16 Augustus 2010 to deliver a lunch-time lecture on the subject of contested memories.

Speaking about the after-effects of unjust violence on second-generation Holocaust survivors, Dr Hoffman drew some parallels between the history of Eastern Europe and that of South Africa, stating that with some categories of conflict and prejudice the context in this region of the world might not be too remote. Dr Hoffman, born to Jewish parents who survived the Holocaust, told the audience that in most instances the past was still alive in the present.
 
Talking about traumatic memories, Dr Hoffman revisited her family’s suffering during the Holocaust and stated that the second generation lives with the paradoxes of indirect knowledge. According to her there has to be acknowledgment of the injustice to put the conflict and tension inherited from a repressed history truly to rest. Referring to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), she said wrongs could not be forgiven until they were admitted. 
 
Dr Hoffman, who is the author of books such as Lost in Translation: life in a new language and Stetl: the life and death of a small town and the world of Polish Jews, praised the university for being on the forefront of social issues in democratic South Africa.

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