Jerzy Koch delivers first lecture of the academic year in Poland

Prof Jerzy Koch, research fellow at the University of the Free State, was invited to deliver the first lecture of the academic year  at the University of Wroclaw, Poland.  The title of his lecture was:  “On the pedagogy of fear, la gaya scienza, poetry and the limits of knowledge - a few words to the young people at the beginning of the academic year”.  Read more about it here (in Afrikaans).

Leon van Nierop’s film and review writing lecture


The Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted Leon van Nierop, one of South Africa’s best-known film and book critics and screenwriters, during the fourth lecture in this year’s popular lecture series.

Van Nierop, who is also a novelist, radio writer, freelance journalist, and winner of several awards and prizes, delivered the lecture on Friday 11 August as part of the department’s public lecture series.  

The writer of, among others, Wolwedans in die Skemer – the Afrikaans radio drama that later became a film – and the television series Ballade vir ’n Enkeling, which was also adapted into a film, shared insights and experiences with an audience of approximately 30 attendees consisting of members of the public, staff, and senior students on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. 

“As a freelancer, you must be able to do about eight different things well – with conviction, and with love,” said Van Nierop, speaking about his illustrious career.

The impact of everyday experiences 

He shared anecdotes about everyday experiences that often served as inspiration for the columns he wrote and for other work during his 48 years in the industry.

One of his greatest inspirations was an old lady in a township who started crying after a presentation on film analysis. When asked why she was crying, she stated, “I’m crying about everything I didn't know, which you taught me.” “From that feedback, I wrote three books,” he said.

“Always be wide awake, because stories are all around us. I get most of the stories from what happens to me daily.”

“The old farmer on the plane who asked me to pray when the plane couldn't land due to bad turbulence gave life to a character in a novel that will be released in a few weeks' time. And contributing to a column I wrote, was the one farmer saying to the other farmer, ‘It's so cold today, I'm even wearing two pairs of shorts.’”

“All the things that have happened to me have an outcome in my work,” said Van Nierop. 

Write for everyone 

He also believes when reviewing films, one must be open to writing for different audiences on various platforms. “There will always be people who will like a movie or book that you, as a critic, do not enjoy. You must write for them as well.” 

“Moreover, it is important to understand your audience and to find new angles, especially if you are writing the 18th review about the same film. And, as Katinka Heyns, South African actress, filmmaker, and director told me, don't fall in love with the scenery and forget about the people in the story.”

Using the film process of Ballade vir ’n Enkeling as an example, Van Nierop illustrated his belief that there are various tools at one's disposal to tell a story effectively. This includes aspects such as camerawork, casting the right person in the role, and incorporating relevant objects in the design of the set.


Symposium on foreign language acquisition


Department Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French, in conjunction with other language departments at the UFS, hosted (on 8 and 9 June)  a national symposium focussing on foreign language acquisition practice.
For more information, click here.


Czech visitors

A group of 15 Czech students recently visited the UFS and dr Mathilda Smith presented a lecture on “Afrikaans in the spotlight”.  The group thoroughly enjoyed their visit to the UFS and Bloemfontein.

Litnet competition
Dr Joanita Erasmus-Alt won first prize in the Litnet competition My gebeurtenis van die jaar 2022.  Her entry, Kontrapunt, deals with the date on which the Afrikaans poet, Sheila Cussons, would have turned 100 years.  Congratulations Joanita.


T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Katlego Mabulana: +27 51 401 2495
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

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