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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

UFS focuses on human rights and anti-racism
2017-03-20

Description: "Bongani Majola Tags: Bongani Majola
Prof Bongani Majola and Prof Leon Wessels at
the launch of the FSHRC.
Photo: Supplied

Human rights are part of the dominant moral and political language of our time, and demand a multi-layered scholarly engagement. These discussions influence national and international relations, and set standards for political and democratic practice.

New Centre for Human Rights launched

Since the academic space is a microcosm of society at large, it is crucial that the University of the Free State (UFS) takes part in such scholarly discussions, drawing lessons and crafting solutions from these dialogues.

To this end, the new Free State Centre for Human Rights (FSCHR) was officially launched on 14 March 2017 at the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS. Professor Bongani Majola, the newly elected chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), was the guest speaker at the event. The FSCHR began operating on 1 January 2016, under the leadership of Prof Leon Wessels, founding member of the SAHRC, as the acting director of the centre. 

A priority on the centre’s agenda will be to uphold the February 2011 post-Reitz agreement between the SAHRC and UFS, which was subsequently made an order of the Equality Court. This order compelled the UFS to establish such a centre. The centre presents new opportunities for cooperation between the UFS and SAHRC and other stakeholders to benefit the UFS and the broader community.

Anti-Racism Week marked by IRSJ

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ), in conjunction with the newly-launched FSCHR, the Anti-Racism Network of South Africa (ARNSA), and the Arts and Culture office of Student Affairs presented an event on Friday 17 March 2017 to mark Anti-Racism Week (14-21 March) and Human Rights Day (21 March).

This second annual Anti-Racism Week sees seven days observed for all institutions, organisations, and individuals to fight racism, with each day having an assigned theme, such as ‘Be Aware’ (14 March) and ‘BeCome’ (21 March).

“Battling racism
is a life-long
commitment”
—JC van der Merwe,
Acting Director, IRSJ

JC van der Merwe, Acting Director of the IRSJ, said, “Battling racism is a life-long commitment. It is time for us to tackle the problem head-on. Anti-Racism Week gives us the platform to communicate within the university, within our communities, but also at grassroots level. The idea this year is that we all BeCome champions against racism, not just during this week, but that it will become part of everyday life on our campuses.”



Talented UFS students perform a flash mob dance prior to a collaborative event to mark Anti-Racism Week and Human Rights Day.
Video: UFS Instagram

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