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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

“We have to be ashamed as South Africans in these xenophobic attacks” – Dr Khotso Mokhele
2015-04-17

In a show of solidarity, the staff, students, and graduates at the University of the Free State hosted various events to remember those victims of recent Xenophobia attacks in the country.

During the Autumn Graduation this week on the Bloemfontein Campus, a moment of silence was observed at the different ceremonies.

At the ceremonies, UFS Chancellor, Dr Khotso Mokhele, said these graduations are not only about the graduates’ success but also about keeping in mind those who are being killed in our own country because their countries could not uphold them.

“All of us as South Africans should show a displeasure at the xenophobic attacks that have taken place in the country. These acts are inhumane, and we have to be ashamed as South Africans.”

South Africa has been rocked these recent weeks by various flares of attacks on foreign nationals living in South Africa. Five people or more have died in these attacks.

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the UFS also started hosting conversations to create awareness and understanding among the Kovsie community about xenophobia and the subsequent hate crimes.

In spite of diverging opinions, different approaches, and the complexities at the heart of the issue, everyone at these discussions agreed that xenophobia needs to be addressed urgently, not only by government, but also by every South African citizen.

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