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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

Care centre goes high-tech to help sexual abuse victims
2016-11-25

Description: Colposcope Tags: Colposcope

The colposcope, donated by the Discovery Fund,
will be used during gynaecological examinations
to detect any irregularities.
Photo: Supplied

Rape is one of South Africa’s most pressing social problems. Rape levels in the country are often discussed and reported on, but it does not deter perpetrators from this behaviour. According to Africa Check, of the more than 42 000 rape cases reported in 2015, 15 790 were child rape cases.

In an effort to assist victims of sexual assault and rape, the University of the Free State (UFS) Department of Family Medicine adopted the Tshepong Thuthuzela Care Centre, under the leadership of UFS lecturer Dr Mariaan Kotze.

The Discovery Fund donated a colposcope to Tshepong Thuthuzela Care Centre, an instrument that works with the help of a bright light and which is used to examine victims of abuse. It has also become a standard of good practice in the assessment of child abuse worldwide. According to Dr Kotze, the new instrument will also be used for training health practitioners by rendering clinical forensic services to abuse victims.

Managing complex issues

The care centre works with between 80 and 120 victims of rape each month, a third of whom are children under 14 years of age. According to Dr Kotze, the management of child sexual abuse victims is more complex than with adults; as there is a higher chance of missing or over-diagnosing abnormalities. Also, she says, the examination process is often observed by a group of healthcare practitioners, an experience which is often intrusive and intimidating for the child. With the colposcope, the timeframe of the examination is shortened, and can be captured and viewed in real time, without the victim being present.

Best care for victims

The colposcope is a magnifier and light source used during gynaecological examinations. It is instrumental in providing the best care to victims of sexual abuse, and helps diagnose and assist in the treatment of cases of abuse. Its ability to capture and review images at the time of examination allows for retrospective research, and improves the ability of expert witnesses in court cases.

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