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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

Art on Disasters to heal communities
2014-05-27

 
Fadzai Nyamusamba showing interest in the work: "Working on fire". This artwork was painted and donated by Mariette Pretorius, a professional artist from Bloemfontein. This art piece will be displayed at the South African National Disaster Management Centre in Pretoria.
Photo: Supplied
The Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa (DiMTEC) at our university, recently launched its Art on Disasters initiative at the Gallery on Leviseur in Bloemfontein. 

Disasters have a devastating effect on societies and are accompanied by fear, uncertainties and often post-traumatic stress disorders. The creative arts have the ability to comfort survivors and those affected by tragedy. Amid disaster, art serves as a memorial, aids in the healing process and helps these communities to interpret their emotions. 

This is precisely the main focus of the Art on Disasters project. It aims to develop paintings, sculptures, dramas, theatre productions, poetry and music in collaboration with artists. These productions will then be presented to communities at risk of, or affected by, disasters, to create awareness and foster healing. 

Furthermore, the initiative will conduct research on art as a form of therapy and co-ordinate rehabilitation experts to assist the relevant communities. The artworks collected by the project, will be sold or auctioned to help raise funds. The proceeds will then be donated to a worthy cause as part of DiMTEC’s commitment to community service. 

The project will help console and heal communities and aspire to generate greater resilience to trauma. It will also give humanitarian workers the opportunity to advocate for disaster risk reduction and offer them an opportunity for psychological debriefing after attending to affected communities. 

“We will collect different categories of art related to all forms of disasters. These include paintings, photography, sculptures, poetry, music, theatre productions and short stories,” said Dr Andries Jordaan, Director of DiMTEC. “Stephanie Peters, Thomas Hart Benton, Tania Kovats and Medhi Naimi are just a few of the many artists that paint on man-made and natural disasters. They are artists that believe in art therapy as a form of self-expression, well-being and recovery,” he added. 

For more information about this initiative, or to possibly contribute as an artist, please contact Olivia Kunguma from DiMTEC on +27(0)51 401 9699 or kungumao@ufs.ac.za .

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