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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

New Dean of Student Affairs appointed
2016-08-23

Description: Pura Mgolombane Tags: Pura Mgolombane

Pura Mgolombane, newly-appointed
Dean of Student Affairs at the
University of the Free State.
Photo: Charl Devenish

“Students must always remember that people are human beings before any other identity they may embody.”

This is the message to the students of the UFS campuses from Pura Mgolombane, newly-appointed Dean of Student Affairs at the University of the Free State (UFS) in August 2016. He has replaced Cornelia Faasen, who acted as Dean from December 2014 to July 2016.   

Being part of the Kovsie community
Previously, he was part of the Kovsie family as Assistant Dean of Student Life and Leadership (2011-2013). Before that, he was the Diversity, Ethics, and Social Justice Manager at the University of the Witwatersrand from August 2013 to July 2016. Mgolombane said he is most excited to “observe and experience an inclusive culture” at the university.

“I am looking forward to being part of a team that creates sufficient conditions for every member of the Kovsie community to feel that they belong here; from Qwaqwa campus, to South campus, to Bloemfontein campus.”

Making sure humanity comes first
His primary focus will be “to create Humanising Student Lived Experiences”. I want to create conditions where students feel that their humanity matters, because it is in such conditions that students are likely to excel academically,” he said.

These conditions will be created through the introduction of programmes and activities known as pedagogies, namely the humanising pedagogy and the pedagogy of discomfort. “All of these pedagogies and frameworks will be contained and further clarified in the Dean of Student Affairs Strategy which will be finalised no later than December 2016.”

Overcoming challenges faced by students
Regarding the challenges facing UFS students, Mgolombane said that “it is only when all out humanity is affirmed that we are likely to find lasting peace.

“Those who are in power or privileged positions have a responsibility to be in solidarity with the marginalised groups in pursuit of Social Justice.”

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