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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

Lecture honours one of SA’s greatest women leaders
2008-08-22

A member of the national executive committee of the ANC Women’s League, Yolanda Botha, has called on all South Africans to cherish the legacy of Charlotte Maxeke, one of South Africa’s greatest women leaders.

Ms Botha was delivering the first Charlotte Maxeke Memorial Lecture at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein last night, in honour of the pioneering role played by Maxeke in the struggle for human rights, democracy and freedom. The lecture series is a partnership between the Free State Provincial Government and the university.

She was born Charlotte Makgomo Manye on 7 April 1874 at Ramokgopa in the Polokwane district in Limpopo. In 1905 she graduated from the Wilberforce University in Ohio in the USA with a B.Sc. degree, making her the first black South African woman to graduate with a science degree.

She married the Rev. MM Maxeke, a prominent AME minister who had also been educated overseas, and together they collaborated on the compilation and publication of the first AME church hymn book in Xhosa.

Later she became a founder member and president of the Bantu Women’s League, forerunner of the ANC Women’s League. She was an early opponent of the pass laws for black women and an organiser of the anti-pass movement in Bloemfontein.

Charlotte Maxeke died in 1939. Two years later, an ANC conference held in Bloemfontein, passed a “resolution on the women’s section”.

Elaborating on the challenges that women still face, Ms Botha said poverty remains a challenge affecting the majority of women. She called on all women to unite and engage with government to develop a comprehensive strategy for food security and agricultural support programmes to eradicate poverty.

Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za

22 August 2008

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