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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

Living proof of transformation
2012-07-18

Prof. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela (middle) facilitated a dialogue with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Prof. Mark Solms on the Transformation in the Solms-Delta Wine Estate.
Photo: Johan Roux

18 July 2012

 “We have the capacity to make a success of South Africa. We have incredible people who refuse to leave the country and want to make a difference.” This is according to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who was speaking at the University of the Free State (UFS) today.

Dr Tutu took part in a dialogue with Prof. Mark Solms, owner of the Solms-Delta wine estate in Franschhoek.Prof. Solms is also an A-rated scholar and the Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town.The theme of the dialogue was “Living Reconciliation: Winds of Change in Franschhoek and Transformation at Solms-Delta Wine Estate”.

Prof. Solms led an initiative to transform the lives of farm workers on the estate through the Wijn-de Caab Trust. This initiative was extended to empower the wider community of farm dwellers when Prof. Solms co-founded the Delta Trust and the Franschhoek Valley Transformation Charter.

The dialogue was the second in the Dialogue between Science and Society series and was facilitated by Prof. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Senior research professor on Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation at the UFS. The Dialogue series aims to inspire new ways of thinking about responsible citizenship. It also highlights the unique and important ways of engaging with the critical issues of social equality, social justice, social transformation and reconciliation in South Africa.This morning Dr Tutu said the work done in the Franschhoek community is proof that people cannot prosper alone if others are also not prospering. “We belong together. Why did it take us so long to realise it? South Africans have the capacity to make South Africa a better place. It is unacceptable that people go hungry and go to school under trees. It is unacceptable that they still have no books in the third term, and that the pass rate is 30%.

“Is this why we struggled, why people died? We want to go to our graves smiling… we will not be allowed peace and stability if we do not attend to the problems.”

Prof. Solms said the miracle of the political transformation did not trickle down to the people. A lot has been done, but much more needs to be done. “It can only be done by us. It is not the government’s responsibility. The way we live as a result of apartheid is that we are a deeply divided society. We must recognise this and do something to change it.”

He encouraged people to think “small”. An individual cannot change the whole country, but the changes in his community are there to see.

Dr Tutu also congratulated the UFS on becoming a truly South African university, recognising the transformation of the past few years.

The dialogue was presented at the Global Leadership Summit that 250 students and academic leaders from 21 international universities are participating in. The summit runs until Friday 20 July 2012.
 

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