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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

Afrikaans can be learnt online for the first time
2017-11-29

 Description: Afrikaans online Tags: Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French, Prof Angelique van Niekerk, Afrikaans online, Gesellig Afrikaans, VivA 

The launch of the online course in Afrikaans at the University of the Free State
took place in the Centenary Complex at the Bloemfontein Campus on 21 November 2017.
From the left are Profs Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor; Angelique van Niekerk,
Head: Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French; and Gerhard van Huyssteen,
Executive Director: Virtual Institute for Afrikaans.
Photo: Supplied

There is a need among visiting international students and foreign visiting lecturers and researchers to be able to speak Afrikaans. According to Prof Angelique van Niekerk, this is the reason why the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the University of the Free State (UFS) has been offering short courses in Afrikaans on campus for more than 15 years.

As from January 2018, those people wishing to learn Afrikaans outside of the UFS campus will be able to do so fully online. This is the first time that Afrikaans can be learnt fully online. The course is part of a short learning programme, Gesellig Afrikaans 1 and 2, which has been presented at the UFS since 2007. It is presented with the support of the Virtual Institute for Afrikaans (VivA), and Afrikaans can now be learnt as foreign language globally.

Need to speak Afrikaans
 
Prof Van Niekerk, Head of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French, believes people who come in contact with the language have a need to learn to speak Afrikaans. “Afrikaans is a vernacular in the workplace, education, and social circles, especially in Bloemfontein, the Free State, and South Africa,” she says.

On average, 15 students per semester are enrolling for the existing contact-based course. Prof Van Niekerk says these students are from countries such as The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Poland, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and some are from the East.

English used as teaching medium 
In 2018, the 20-week course will be taught online via the VivA website or on campus through contact sessions (within 13 weeks). “The online course for international students is currently being marketed for the first time, and in 2018 we will officially be enrolling international students for the online course from beyond UFS borders,” says Prof Van Niekerk.

The teaching medium will be English, with all the information and explanations taking place in Afrikaans and English. Supporting material such as Afrikaans films, music, pronunciation guidelines, and continuous self-assessment are part of the online course material.

Click here to see the course structure of the online programme.

Direct enquiries to Prof Van Niekerk at vnieka@ufs.ac.za, or geselligafrikaans@gmail.com or visit www.gesellig-afrikaans.org

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