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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

Kovsies SRC President cycles to raise money for registration
2017-11-27


 Description: Right to learn campaign read more Tags: Right to learn campaign read more

Asive Dlanjwa, Bloemfontein SRC President, will cycle to Cape Town to
raise money for the 2018 registrations.
Photo: Moeketsi Mogotsi

“When I came to the University of the Free State (UFS), all I had was a R50 note and I did not know how I was going to register.” This is what Bloemfontein Campus SRC President, Asive Dlanjwa, encountered when he arrived at the UFS. He says the biggest struggle for students is not having finances for registration at the beginning of the year.

R2 million to be raised for 2018 registration

It is for this reason that Dlanjwa will be partaking in the Right to Learn Cycle tour challenge from 27 November to 4 December 2017. The Student Representative Council (SRC), in partnership with Institutional Advancement, came up with this initiative to cycle from Bloemfontein to Cape Town in eight days in an effort to raise R2 million for 2018 registration.

Bringing hope to prospective students and their families
Dlanjwa says, “We want to give access to as many students as possible. This initiative is not only about the students, it’s about giving hope to their families and taking them out of poverty.” He recalls an incident where a student went to the SRC offices to seek help at the beginning of the year, with nothing but an identity document and the clothes he had on. The student had been sleeping at the Bloemfontein Tourism Centre because he had no money for accommodation and registration. “These are the types of cases that we have to deal with at the start of each year,” says Dlanjwa.

He urges the community to partner with them in ensuring that many students get access to higher education by donating money through the Give-n-gain page. Dlanjwa, joined by a few more guest cyclists, left Bloemfontein on Monday 27 November 2017 and are expected to arrive in Cape Town on Monday 4 December 2017. 

 

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