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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

Minister praises MUCPP initiative
2004-10-04

The Minister of Labour, Mr MMS Mdladlana, singled out the Mangaung University of the Free State Community Partnership Programme (MUCPP) for high praise during a conference at the MUCPP complex on 30 September 2004 .

“I am very pleased with what the partnership of different stakeholders can do and I thank all stakeholders for contributing to this initiative. This is the kind of energy that our country needs,” the minister told delegates to the conference.

He said the MUCPP was a very unusual and important partnership that is related directly to the mandate of government and supports two strategic objectives of government, namely halving poverty and halving unemployment.

The MUCPP was launched in 1991 as a partnership between the University of the Free State , the local community of Mangaung, local and provincial government and the private sector, in an effort to develop skills and contribute to fighting poverty.

Some of the existing projects of the MUCPP include:

  • Health centre (including a 24-hour maternity ward)
  • Dairy producing yoghurt and amasi
  • Sewing and knitting project
  • Indigenous food production (Tsa se tso)
  • Bakery
  • Bed and Breakfast accommodation
  • Etsa phapang (a hydroponic facility growing various vegetables)
  • Welding project
  • Low cost housing project
  • Sport and recreation facilities and programmes

According to the Minister, hundreds of young people, adult learners and people with disabilities have benefited from training and skills development and have become involved in carpentry, welding, painting, cleaning services, gardening and HIV / AIDS awareness programmes.

Minister Mdladlana said he was pleased that through partnerships with several Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) which fall under the Department of Labour, the MUCPP could access hundreds of thousands of rands for such training and development.

“I can just salute those that have made it possible, and to encourage you to keep up the good work,” the minister said.

The MUCPP also provides a means for students of the UFS to render community service. The UFS was one of the first universities in South Africa to adopt a comprehensive community service policy in 2002. In terms of the policy, community service is integrated into curricula through service learning modules.

It is therefore of great importance that the UFS should support community sites such as the MUCPP where a holistic and integrated approach to mutual and reciprocal development of all partners is followed.

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