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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

Now is the right time to talk, says Njabulo
2015-04-20


Njabulo Mabaso

Studying at a multicultural campus adds a lot of colour and spice towards every student’s experience, and it also offers some necessary challenges.

This belief is held by the Qwaqwa Campus SRC member responsible for RAG, Community Service & Dialogue, Njabulo Mabaso.

“Our multi-culturalism should be our uniting force, especially at this time in our country. What started as a one-person protest against the Cecil Rhodes statue at UCT should be used to broaden our view in relation to challenges that we are still facing as students and as a country. We need to talk more”, said Mabaso, a final-year BEd FET Languages student.

“Now is the right time for us to really talk about issues affecting us as young adults. Matters of collective interest like pregnancy rates, alcohol and substance abuse, sexism, crime, xenophobia, etc. need to be tackled”, added Mabaso, a weightlifting fanatic.

“As the student leadership, we intend working closely with community structures as we come from the very same communities. We must not wait for Mandela Day to do good.”

“My portfolio, together with Arts and Culture and Sports Affairs portfolios, can create that necessary social cohesion that we as students and our communities need so much.”

Mabaso said that all perceived taboos should be dealt with.

“Our programme this year encourages open dialogue. Nothing should still be treated as a ‘no-go area’ if we are to survive the scourge of HIV. We must talk openly, despite the cultural challenges that might restrict us. We must talk about homophobia. We must talk about rape. In fact, how many students – male and female – really understand what rape is? Does culture even recognise the ‘no’ factor associated with rape? It is important that we should not leave it until it is too late. We must not wait until it is his word against hers. We must deal with these matters now. The right time to engage is now”, he added.

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