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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

Max du Preez on South Africa’s leadership vacuum
2011-08-29

 

Present at the CR Swart Memorial Lecture was, from the left: Prof. Hussein Solomon, senior Professor in our Department of Political Science; Prof. Theo Neethling, Head of our Department of Political Science; Max du Preez and Prof. Lucius Botes,Dean of our Faculty of Humanities.
Photo: Stephen Collett

“Much has been going wrong in South Africa in the last few years and it’s all due to a lack of strong, visionary leadership. South Africans deserve better and should demand more integrity, courage and vision from the present political leadership,” veteran journalist and author Max du Preez told the audience at a packed Wynand Mouton Theatre at our university, on 25 August 2011.

Delivering this year’s CR Swart Memorial Lecture on the topic “Of Jacob, Julius, Jimmy and the Dancing Monkey”, Du Preez told the audience to look with much more critical eyes at the political leadership and decide who is doing the obvious, following his or her basest instincts or simply trying to play to the gallery. “Why look at a man like Julius Malema and let him upset us, why listen to Floyd Shivambu with his crude manners and let them define us?” Du Preez asked the more than 300 people attending the memorial lecture. The CR Swart Memorial Lecture, the 41st hosted by the UFS, attracted one of the largest crowds ever for a public lecture, with some people sitting on the steps inside the auditorium of the Wynand theatre.
 
Telling the story of African philospher Morena Mohlomi, who acted as a teacher to Basuto king Moshoeshoe, Du Preez told the audience that the country needs counter-intuitive leadership like the two leaders had demonstrated. Calling Mohlomi southern Africa’s first Pan Africanist, Du Preez said the extroadinary thing about Morena Mohlomi and his student was their gift of counter-intuitive leadership, leadership that was daring and visionary, leadership that did not simply do the obvious. Pointing out other visionary leaders like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Beyers Naude and Van Zyl Slabbert, Du Preez urged the audience to question “the quality of leadership of Cosatu, the Democratic Teachers Union that is messing up our education, the Communist Party, the Democratic Alliance, the Freedom Front Plus and Solidarity. If they don’t live up to our expectations, why do we still tolerate them?” Du Preez asked.
 
Du Preez also commended Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, for his counter-intuitive leadership regarding the Reitz Residence incident and said Prof. Jansen’s solution, as controversial as it was, brought a much better outcome.
 
Please find attached the full speech of Max Du Preez.

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