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22 August 2018
Prof Coetzee is retelling old stories in a new book
"Failing to Learn Doomed to repeat" was one of the bookworks on display.

The title of Prof Jan K Coetzee’s latest book, Books & Bones & Other Things, says it all. The book looks into the many aspects that have built our society by presenting in a new way the stories contained in old books collected over the years. 

Prof Coetzee is a Senior Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Free State (UFS). Books & Bones & Other Things was launched on 14 August 2018 and coincided with an exhibition of various “bookworks”   art installations by Prof Coetzee that feature old books, sculptures, artefacts, and fossils.
 
Book resulting from research programme 
   

“This is a book on books so the library is the perfect venue to launch a book on old texts as documents of life,” said Prof Coetzee.

For the past seven years he has been directing a Master’s and PhD programme in Sociology called The Narrative Study of Lives. His project, Documents of Life, from which this book came, focuses on a collection of old texts the oldest of which dates back to 1605.

“We live in storytelling societies and for as long as we can remember we have been telling stories. Over time the ability to produce books was born. Any collection of books can tell you a lot about your own life and the society you live in."

“I cannot read the stories of many of these old books because their narratives are closed. I have to re-narrate the books, change the narrative convention and present them in a way that makes sense to me. By combining the books with art and artefacts I want the books to tell their ancient stories in new ways.”

Book launches and intellectual discussions

At the book launch, Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research said: “What we have achieved with this launch and exhibition is unbelievable. We always try to create an intellectual space in the library.

“A book such as this is the pinnacle of an academic career. It is multidisciplinary and it looks at the world in a different way. That is what scholarship is about.”

A painting by Robert Hodgins was also handed over to the Johannes Stegmann Gallery, home of the corporate collection of the UFS, at the event. 

News Archive

Student leaders take the lead by launching SRC Fund
2017-08-24

  Description: SRC Breakfast Tags: Student Representative Council, SRC Fund, Pura Mgolombane, Prof Nicky Morgan, Sikhululekile Luwaca

The Student Representative Council (SRC) launched the SRC Fund
at a Business Breakfast on the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Johan Roux

     


The Student Representative Council (SRC) is not just asking for financial help, but is taking the lead by launching the SRC Fund. According to different guest speakers at a recent SRC Business Breakfast, the student leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) is setting an example.
“They (the SRC) are saying to us and to you: We are not just saying that we want free education in our lifetime. We are also prepared to assist government in assisting universities however we can in that direction,” says Pura Mgolombane, Dean of Student Affairs at the UFS.

Objectives of fund

The SRC launched the SRC Fund on 4 August 2017 at the Centenary Complex on the Bloemfontein Campus in order to fight against financial exclusion of students. The fund aims to centre all forms of fundraising initiatives by students, decreasing financial barriers to UFS entry, and utilising and maximising networks within business enterprise, former SRC members, alumni, and student fundraising initiatives. It also wants to help with the creation of exposure and mentorship programmes, funds to assist with registration and financial exclusions, entrepreneur development, partnership opportunities, and increasing employment opportunities.
Initiatives such as Right2Learn will in future form part of the fund, and fundraising initiatives such as The Cycle Tour and Kovsies Biggest Braai has also been launched.

Internal and external partnerships 
Prof Nicky Morgan, Vice-Rector: Operations at the UFS, says the SRC leadership is not just asking for money. He says they are a “can do leadership” who is asking others to help them to be successful. He also stressed the important relationship between the university and the city and asked that they should work together.
Sikhululekile Luwaca, President of the Bloemfontein SRC, said the SRC wants to “build internal and external partnerships, because universities are microcosms of society”. 
“We cannot do it alone and that is why we are trying to bring the business part of it, the corporate enterprise, to also assist the SRC Fund to become sustainable.”

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