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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

African historian honoured at UFS Library book launch
2016-08-23

Description: Library book launch Tags: Library book launch

The UFS Library, in collaboration with the Department of Political Studies and Governance, launched This Present Darkness, a book by the late Stephen Ellis on 23 August 2016 at the Sasol Library on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Stephen Ellis was a Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, and a senior researcher at the African Studies Centre, Leiden. He wrote ground-breaking books on the ANC, the Liberian Civil War, religion and politics in Africa, and the history of Madagascar.  He died in 2015.

The book explores how Nigerian criminal syndicates acquired a reputation for involvement in drug-trafficking, fraud, cyber-crime, and other types of criminal activity. Successful Nigerian criminal networks have a global reach, interacting with their Italian, Latin American, and Russian counterparts. Yet in 1944, a British colonial official wrote that “the number of persistent and professional criminals is not great in Nigeria” and that “crime as a career has so far made little appeal to the young Nigerian.”

Ellis, a celebrated Africanist, traces the origins of Nigerian organised crime to the last years of colonial rule, when nationalist politicians acquired power at regional level. In need of funds for campaigning, they offered government contracts to foreign businesses in return for kickbacks, a pattern that recurs to this day. Political corruption encouraged a wider disrespect for the law that spread throughout Nigerian society. When the country’s oil boom came to an end in the early 1980s, young Nigerian college graduates headed abroad, eager to make money by any means. Nigerian crime went global, and new criminal markets are emerging all over the world at present.

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