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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

Lecturer’s debut novel wins ATKV Prize for Fiction
2015-10-14

Dr Francois Smith
Photo: Johan Roux

Kamphoer made its debut on the literary scene just over a year ago, and on 11 September 2015, it was declared the best novel by the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV). This is not the first time Kamphoer has been recognised as literary gem. Earlier this year, the novel was shortlisted for the W A Hofmeyr Prize as well as the Huisgenoot Tempo Award.

Dr Francois Smith, the author, joined the University of the Free State (UFS) as a lecturer in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the beginning of this year. Prior to entering the academic sphere, he dedicated about 11 years of his life to editing for a publishing house. Certainly, helping other people write and produce books thoroughly prepared him for authorship.

For three months, Smith spent eight hours a day creating his award-winning masterpiece. The secret of success lies in the ABC formula. “The ABC for writing is Apply Back to Chair. You have to go and sit down and start typing,” he says.

That is when passion meets imagination, albeit at times, one might also need inspiration. Smith applied this winning formula meticulously, and it has resulted in over 30 000 copies of Kamphoer being sold since July 2014.

He was taken aback by the novel’s warm reception. “I wrote a book, finished it, and knew that it wasn’t bad but I never for one moment imagined that it would be such a big commercial success,” he said.

About Kamphoer

The book which Smith describes as a good but not an easy read about a disturbing subject is the true story of a woman who was brutally raped during the South African War and left for dead.  After the traumatic experience, she dedicates her life to helping others deal with similar ordeals, re-encountering her rapists in the process.

About the award

Kamphoer emerged as an exceptional contribution amongst two other finalists. Kerneels Breytenbach’s Ester as well as Harry Kalmer’s ’n Duisend stories oor Johannesburg were also competing for the prestigious award.


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