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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

I-DENT-I-TIES tackles identity in an unusual story-telling style
2016-07-26

Description: I-DENT-I-TIES Tags: I-DENT-I-TIES

One of the leading performers, Baanetse Mokhotla.
Photo: Thabo Kessah

The I-DENT-I-TIES project has been an enormous experience for the Qwaqwa Campus students who were part of this large-scale interdisciplinary performance project. This is according to Baanetse Mokhotla, one of the leading performers.

“I have personally learnt a lot about performing arts and also grew as an individual,” Baanetse said about the production that was part of this year’s Vrystaat Arts Festival in Bloemfontein.

This massive interactive production of the 54-member student cast utilises music, song and dance in an unusual method of story-telling. It uses live video camera feeds on two big screens as well as recorded video clips of the cast itself and members of the community, some of whom were part of the audience during the two shows staged on the Qwaqwa Campus. The cast intermittently mingles with the audience, thus allowing the latter to be part of the narrative as well.

The main story line explores issues around identity while using the famous Basotho story of ‘Moshanyana Sankatana’ as a catalyst.

Two of the capturing features are the live interviews and the narration of the animated ‘Moshanyana Sankatana’ story, creating stories within a story.

Commenting about the project, SRC President Paseka Sikhosana said that he was happy to have led the student community during this proud moment.

“I loved how this show has exposed our enormously talented performers to the world. It was magical and we need more of such to ensure there will never be a dull moment on our campus,” he said.

Sociology lecturer Sivuyisiwe Magayana said: “I-DENT-I-TIES production was fresh fun. It exhibited the fact that we should be appreciative of other's differences. It also emphasised that we should move away from subscribing to an 'in-group' and 'out-group' mentality when it comes to issues of race, sexuality and identity.”

The international creative team behind this project included a New York-based Dutch director, Erwin Maas; Vienna-based Dutch theatre designer, Nico de Rooij; Djana Covic, a Serbian performance-craft-artist based in Vienna; and South African film and stage legend Jerry Mofokeng.

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