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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

UFS mourns the death of a great linguist and educationalist
2012-08-29

He was one of the founders of the National Liberation Front. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit sabotage in 1964 and was sent to Robben Island for 10 years. During his incarceration, he taught history to fellow prisoners.

According to SA History Online, Alexander wrote of his time in prison: "The 'University of Robben Island' was one of the best universities in the country. It also showed me that you don't need professors.”

He also devoted most of his professional life to defend and preserve multilingualism in the post-apartheid South Africa and has become one of the major advocates of linguistic diversity.

During a recent visit to the UFS where he took part in a Critical Conversation at the Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice, Dr Alexander said that a multilingual state and culture could lead to more tolerance in South Africa.

In a tribute to Dr Alexander, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector, said Dr Alexander was an incorruptible, a revolutionary who remained true to his core values despite the materialistic excesses of former struggle heroes.

“He taught me many things, one of which was that Afrikaans is and can be a language of liberation and a vehicle for reconciliation. He took his methodology for language learning into the townships, and altered countless lives in the process. South Africa has lost a great scholar, a principled activist, a generous humanitarian and a formidable intellect; the last of the true revolutionaries.”

 

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