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20 September 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin | Photo Charl Devenish
Kovsies Multilingual Mokete
The Multilingual Mokete embodies the ideals of the university to become inclusive, while promoting a multicultural environment.

The first Kovsies Multilingual Mokete was a celebration of language and culture; it is a commitment by the University of the Free State (UFS) to nurture an attitude of inclusiveness and acceptance on all three of its campuses. Hosted on the Bloemfontein Campus on Wednesday 18 September 2019, the mokete was a hype of activity with drama, poetry, music, dance, and scrumptious cultural cuisine.

“This initiative was coordinated to promote and celebrate all our regional languages, but also important – our regional cultures.” This was the words of Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, on opening the first Kovsies Multilingual Mokete.

The Mokete stage came alive with the impeccable voices of our students and staff as they personified multilingualism through the spoken word in the form of poems, the drama production, Dogg’s Hamlet in the Scaena, praise songs, and dance. A mural featuring individual artworks was also on display during the mokete, as well as a screening of the movie, The Visitor.

The Mokete was concluded by Simple Stories, a band of former Kovsie students, with Early B as the main act.  The People’s Choice Award winner of the day was Soetbravado, winners of the UFS SingOff competition.

“I think the inaugural Multilanguage festival is full of potential. Tolerance and understanding of different cultures are what I see here. I think it’s amazing and I would recommend the UFS to continue with it,” says Jon-Dylon Petersen, former SRC member and final-year Quantity Surveying and Construction Management student. 

Kovsies First Multilingual Mokete
The traditional outfits made for a colourful Mokete. Photo:Charl Devenish

Mokete part of UFS project to foster sense of belonging


The mokete is furthermore presented in support of the Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP) work streams on Teaching and Learning, Student and Staff Experience, and the Multi-Campus Model. “As a university, we are proud of the many languages and cultures which form part of this university. It creates a level of diversity and it is through diversity that we can build strength within the university,” says Prof Petersen. 

This initiative of multilingualism is part of the university’s language policy, which promotes a sense of belonging and acceptance among people. “We want to create opportunities and platforms and campuses where everyone should feel welcome, and to create the ability for each culture and language group to also learn from one another.”

The ultimate goal is to use the multilingual initiatives to prepare our students for the multilingual and multicultural world, but also to stay connected to our own heritage and background. 

Dogg's Hamlet
The play Dogg's Hamlet was showcased in the Scaena Theatre during the Mokete. Photo: Charl Devenish

Mokete should become an annual event 


The reaction to the mokete was overwhelmingly positive and it was well received in the Kovsie community. “It’s a beautiful experience to see how academics can come to a university and showcase not only different languages, but different cultures; it’s something which should continue in the spirit of ubuntu and diversity, and can maybe become a national festival,” says Almondreaux Williams, third-year LLB student.

Not only was the mokete a celebration of multilingualism at the UFS; it was also a platform to express different cultures in the form of traditional attire.

''It’s getting people together. All of us, all the cultural groups are here together. The performances were awesome,” says Sibongile Witbooi, a third-year Geology student and Residence Committee member for Culture at Akasia residence. 

Multilingual Mokete
Authentic South African cuisine was on the menu for the day. Moketers could enjoy array of flavours from bobotie and rice to
chesanyama and pap. Photo: Charl Devenish


News Archive

Meet our Council: Marius Swart – a Councillor with deep roots in the UFS
2017-07-12

Description: Meet our Council: Marius Swart – a Councillor with deep roots in the UFS Tags: Marius Swart, University Council, Mediclinic, cardiothoracic surgeon, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery  

Marius Swart, Alumni election on the UFS Council.
Photo: Stephen Collett

Marius Swart, a Kovsie alumnus, is an Alumni election on the University Council. Not only is he a Kovsie alumnus, but all four of his siblings and their spouses are Kovsie alumni, as well as all three his children.   

Interest in future decisions at the UFS
He is currently practicing as cardiothoracic surgeon at Mediclinic in Bloemfontein, but has always been involved with the Faculty of Health Sciences at the university.  He spent eight years as consultant in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and recently became a registered student again when he enrolled for an interdisciplinary PhD.  He is currently also supervisor for the research projects of undergraduate medical students.

Thus, Marius no doubt has a substantial interest in the issues and future decisions at the UFS.

Guard against retroformation
"Higher education is a challenging environment and expectations about excellence and human development are being tested.  Transformation is on everybody’s lips, but we have to guard against what I would call retroformation – moving back to old regimes and new forms of exclusion," he says.

Marius is excited to begin his term with a new Rector and Vice-Chancellor.  He realises that many challenges awaits him as councillor on the way forward, but he is ready to pull his weight in Council.

"My own daughter is involved in the challenges students are experiencing on a daily basis, and my wife is supporting a first-generation rural student.  The university should be sensitive to these students.  Empowering them can bring change to communities."

His interests are varied and it is clear that he has a vision for a better world.

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