University of the Free State
|University of the Free State|
|Universiteit van die Vrystaat
Yunivesithi ya Freistata
|Motto||In Veritate Sapientiae Lux (In Truth is the Light of Wisdom)|
|Location||Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa|
The long-held dream of an institution of higher education in the Free State became a reality in 1904 when the Grey College first accepted matriculants for a full B.A. course. In 1906 the tertiary part of Grey College became known as the Grey University College (GUC), but shortly thereafter the school and college parted ways. In 1910, the Parliament of the Orange River Colony passed legislation declaring the GUC an official educational institution in the fields of the Arts and Sciences.
Initially, the medium of instruction was English, but later this changed to be bilingual and included Afrikaans. The name was changed to the University College of the Orange Free State—the Afrikaans version of this name change is the source of the word used to this day to refer to students of the University ("Kovsies"). In the late 1940s, the medium of instruction was changed to Afrikaans. The University was declared a full-fledged, independent university in 1950, and the name was again changed to the University of the Orange Free State.
In 1993, it adopted a system of parallel-medium tuition. Today, all classes are offered in Afrikaans and English. Subsequent to the adoption in 1999 of a new university statute, the UFS entered a significant growth period. Today, the University of the Free State boasts more students than ever in its history.
In February 2001, the University's name changed to the University of the Free State, which was adopted to reflect the real character of the institution and its environment. In 2004, the University celebrated its centenary.
The University sports facilities cater for more than 20 sports, medical facilities and cultural activities, ranging from the political arena to outdoor life and the creative arts. It has a student centre, a student newspaper and a campus radio station. In addition, students have access to a library, a career and guidance centre, a student theatre and a computer centre.
- Economic and Management Sciences
- Health Sciences
- Natural and Agricultural Sciences
- University of the Free State Business School
- Bram Fischer (1908-1975): Grandson of Abraham Fischer, lawyer, and notable anti-apartheid activist, including legal defense of anti-apartheid figures, such as Nelson Mandela.
- P.W. Botha (1916-2006): Prime Minister of South Africa from 1978 to 1984 and the first executive state president from 1984 to 1989.
- Hansie Cronje (1969-2002): Controversial South African cricketer and captain of the South African national cricket team in the 1990s.
- Leon Schuster (1951-): Well known South African filmmaker, comedian, actor, presenter and singer.
- Colin Ingram (1985-): Cricketer of the current South African national cricket team.
- Susan Vosloo : South Africa's first female cardio-thoracic surgeon.
Racial integration, re-segregation, and controversy
After having previously been open only to whites, UFS admitted its first black students in the early 1990s, as apartheid in South Africa began to end. Large majorities of students of all races supported racial integration of the housing facilities, and for several years UFS was seen as a model integration project. However, in the mid- to late-1990s, blacks began to form a larger percentage of the student body (they are 85% of the population of the Free State province) and began to be less enthusiastic about continuing traditions from the white-only history of UFS. After a 1996 riot, the UFS student residences became de facto re-segregated. Furthermore, as classes became offered in English as well as Afrikaans, classes also became segregated as whites favored Afrikaans-language classes and blacks favored English-language classes.
The university faced controversy in late February 2008 following a video made by four white students of the Reitz residence which was referred to as being a protest against racial integration on the campus. The real motive behind the making of the video is still debatable. The video depicted five black workers being subjected to various mock activities, including being forced to consume food which appeared to have been urinated on. The video received coverage from both South African and international media and condemnation from most major political parties in South Africa, and led to riots and racial strife among students at the university. In riots that followed the video, threats were made against white students by protesting black students.
The then-new Vice-Chancellor, Jonathan Jansen - a strong proponent of intellectual freedom and the first black president of UFS - was appointed and he has subsequently initiated a process for campus-wide racial integration among students which included inviting the four students to continue with their studies at the university. In 2010 The university was awarded the World Universities Forum Award for Best Practice in Higher Education which praised amongst other the racial integration and harmonisation of the student community. On receiving her honorary doctorate from the university, Oprah Winfrey called the transformation of the university as “nothing short of a miracle” when referring to the incident and subsequent racial integration.
- http://www.ufs.ac.za/content.aspx?cid=19 About the UFS Retrieved 17 January 2010
- History of the University
- "Top Africa". Ranking Web of World Universities. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
- Eve Fairbanks, A House Divided, Slate.com, Published 24 June 2013, Accessed 2 July 2013.
- http://www.sa-people.com/2011/06/25/oprah-winfrey-becomes-doctorate-at-university-of-the-free-state/ Oprah Winfrey is now a Kovsie! Retrieved 29 December 2011
- Outcry in SA over racist video
- Education to probe racism News24
- The (Self-Imposed) Crisis of the Black Intellectual: Jonathan Jansen's Wolpe lecture, Text of a public lecture by Jonathan Jansen
- http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/archive.aspx?news=1941&cat=1 UFS receives an award from the World Universities Forum Retrieved 29 December 2011
- http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/education/sa_university_receives_international_award_2.html SA university receives international award Retrieved 29 December 2011
- http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/free-state/oprah-hails-sa-miracle-1.1088585 Oprah hails SA ‘miracle’ Retrieved 29 December 2011
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