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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

Ivory Coast too dependent on UN to combat violence against women
2015-10-08

During the seminar presented by the Centre for
African Studies (CAS) at the University of the Free State
were, from the left: Thesipo Machabaphala, student in
Gender Studies; Prof Heidi Hudson, Head of CAS;
Dr Peace Medie from the University of Ghana,
guest speaker; and Sesi Mahlobogoane, student in
Gender Studies.

The Ivory Coast is still too dependent on the work of the United Nations (UN) to combat violence against women in the country. There is much talk about ways to address the problem, but the government is still not acting quickly and effectively enough to make a difference in the long term.

These were some of the findings by Dr Peace Medie from the University of Ghana, guest speaker during a seminar series held by the Centre for Africa Studies (CAS) on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State on 1 October 2015.

Dr Medie presented a seminar for students in the Gender Studies programme entitled Women, Security, and Justice: a Study of the Ivorian State’s Response to Violence against Women. Prof Heidi Hudson, Head of CAS in the Faculty of the Humanities at the UFS, facilitated the seminar.

For the sake of internationalisation, the CAS often presents guest speakers from outside South Africa to address its students. In addition , Dr Medie is from Africa.

According to Dr Medie, who conducted some 150 interviews during her research over two years, there was a shortage of resources in the Ivory Coast. This is also the case in several other African countries previously involved in war.

She believes the Ivory Coast should do more to combat violence against women successfully.

She said the UN had a great influence on the way people, especially the police, were thinking about the problem - which included sexual violence against women.

“The UN will not be there forever,” Dr Medie said.

“If response depended only on the influence of an international organisation, what would happen when the UN leaves?”

According to Dr Medie, a shortage of active women’s organisations also had a role to play. She was of the opinion that these organisations should put more pressure on the government to ensure better treatment for women.

“Local organisations are needed because it is not sustainable to depend only on the work of the UN.”


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