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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

New Research in Hebrew Language and Culture
2014-01-17

The newly formed Department of Hebrew at the university is hosting an international conference from 27 to 29 January 2014. The conference has speakers from Israel, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, as well as South Africa, Zambia, Congo and Nigeria. The goal of the conference is to highlight recent research in Hebrew language and culture by bringing international scholarship to the university and by highlighting the importance of the African context as a conceptual space for research on Hebrew. The rich cultural heritage of Hebrew finds particular resonance in Africa through the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).

Some highlights from the conference include new research on the use of the ancient Hebrew script by Jews in the Persian and Roman periods as a means to maintain their religious and ethnic identity in times of distress, linguistic research on metaphors in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Jews and non-Jews in the Hebrew and Yiddish writings of the South African author Morris Hoffman, the development of a rabbinic prayer for rain in the land of Israel and in South Africa, pedagogical advances in teaching Hebrew in Africa, and translation of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) as a means of reshaping VaTsonga cultural identity. 

The study of ancient and modern Hebrew language and culture provides important insights into the complex cultural situation in modern Africa, generally, and South Africa, in particular. The use of language by minority religious and ethnic groups can provide a powerful force for identity in turbulent political realities. Religious texts can be re-contextualised to provide guidance in new cultural contexts or translated to enhance and empower local societies. 

Venue: CR Swart Auditorium 

For more information, contact Prof Cynthia Miller-Naudé, Head of the Department of Hebrew at millercl@ufs.ac.za
 
 

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