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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

Multitudes celebrate dr Beyers Naude's selfless life
2013-09-14

26 September 2013

The lecture was held in partnership with the diverse churches, the youth, the house of traditional leadership. The theme was Love for Humanity.

In his special message to the gathered religious leaders, students and staff, Apostle Saki Thapong, challenged all in attendance to “look for your own miracles within yourself.”

“We need a generation of miracles and not a generation of people running after miracles”, said Apostle Thapong.

“Allow your miracle to manifest itself within you and never look at your own miracle through your own time, but through God's time and purpose”, Pastor Thapong said.

In focusing on the choice of the theme, Vice-Rector: External Affairs, Dr Choice Makhetha, said that the theme was very important to all stakeholders who needed to pledge their commitment to building a community of people who care deeply about the safety of its children and senior citizens.

“As stakeholders in the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality, we need to collectively build a society courageous enough to dirty its hands to shape the socio-economic development of this area, for the benefit of the local people, the country and the world. We must build a community of people who work tirelessly to ensure that the dignity of every human being is restored and protected, especially women,” said Dr Makhetha.

Previous speakers in the series include, Dr Allan Boesak, Prof Kwandiwe Kondlo, Dr Frank Chikane, Mr Johann Naude (Dr Naude's son) and Prof Jonathan Jansen.

Dr Beyers Naude was an ordained minister in the Dutch Reformed Church who stood against apartheid despite his advantaged Afrikaner background. In the aftermath of the Sharpeville Massacre of March 1960, 'Oom Bey' started questioning the morality of the government's policies. At the time of his passing away in September 2004, he was described as a “true humanitarian and true son of Africa” by Nelson Mandela.

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