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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

English, Afrikaans, Sotho, and Zulu part of first Literature Festival
2016-08-11

Description: Literature Festival  Tags: Literature Festival

The first Literature Festival was a huge success, attracting
young and old during this year’s Vrystaat Arts Festival held
at the University of the Free State.
Photo: Leopold Frechow

It may have been the inaugural year of the Vrystaat Literature Festival, but, with the success of this year’s event, there are bound to be many more.

Main purpose of the festival

Acting Director of Student Affairs at the University of the Free State (UFS), Cornelia Faasen says: “The main purpose of the festival is to celebrate the South African literary scene as a multi-lingual, multi-cultural landscape, and to bring prominent writers to the UFS in order to open dialogues and discussions with them.”

Because of the students’ role in the arts and culture in general, the Department of Student Affairs wanted them to be involved in the festival too.

Contribution from African writers

Both local and international guests were involved. This year’s theme, “Our Africa”, attracted many African writers too.

Some of these writers include Chika Unigwe, originally from Nigeria, who rose to fame in Belgium, and the Iranian author, Kader Abdolah, a political refugee who escaped from Iran to the Netherlands in the 1980s. Wilfried N’Sondé, originally from the Republic of the Congo, and now living in France, was also a festival guest.

Festival offers something for everyone

Several authors celebrated literature in English. In addition to this, Afrikaans books and writers were featured alongside other indigenous languages, such as Sotho and Zulu.

Faasen says that she hopes that this festival will be the first of many. “We are hoping that this event will find its own legs with more students and academic staff from the UFS involved.”

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