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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

Moeletsi Mbeki discusses South Africa’s political economy
2012-08-17

At the guest lecture was, from the left: Johann Rossouw, lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Mr. Moeletsi Mbeki, and Prof. Pieter Duvenage, Head of the Department of Philosophy.
Photo: Johan Roux
17 August 2012

South Africa’s ongoing problems do not have their origin in the apartheid dispensation but in the British colonial period. This is according to the well known businessman and political analyst, Mr Moeletsi Mbeki, who was speaking during a guest lecture at the University of the Free State.

Mr Mbeki said the high unemployment rate among Blacks arose from the destruction of the Black small farming class in the last third of the 19th century to provide cheap labour to the developing mining sector. He said the notorious Land Act of 1913 was not the root of Black people’s loss of land but merely the legal formalisation thereof. Mr Mbeki emphasised that as long as it was argued that South Africa’s problems arose during the apartheid dispensation, problems would remain unsolved.

Regarding South Africa’s future, Mr Mbeki argued that three issues in particular were important – South Africa’s industrialisation, which ground to a halt in the 1970s, should be revived; the large scale training of industrialists with special emphasis on mathematics, science and the broader education system; and post-nationalist politics, of which parties such as Zimbabwe’s MDC, Zambia’s MMF and Mauritius’s MMM were outstanding examples.

The guest lecture was presented by the Department of Philosophy. More than 200 people attended the lecture and participated enthusiastically in the question and answer session. Afterwards, Mr Mbeki said he was impressed with the high level of the questions asked by students, which he said gave him hope for South Africa’s future.

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