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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 blossom with potential
2010-02-04

Pictured with Prof Jansen are, from the left: Marike Botha, Sibusiso Tshabalala, Cumine de Villiers, Portia Lehasa and Meyer Joubert.
Photo: Hannes Pieterse


The Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof. Jonathan Jansen, recently made closer acquaintance with five top Grade 12 achievers who are currently first-year students at the UFS.

The five students all achieved exceptional results in their final exams.

Cumine de Villiers from the Volkskool Secondary School in Potchefstroom obtained seven distinctions. She is an MBChB I student and resides in Roosmaryn Residence on the Main Campus. People are her passion, which makes a career as a doctor ideal for her. “I can help people physically, as well as emotionally. And save lives!” Her advice to learners is to work hard from Grade 11 already. According to her a balanced life is also very important: “The more you do, the better you can do.” One of her goals is to learn Sesotho while she is studying.

Marike Botha attended Potchefstroom Gymnasium. She obtained seven distinctions. She is also studying MBChB I and plans to become a paediatric surgeon. “I know one is going to lose patients, but one will also save lives.”

She resides in Roosmaryn Residence and plans to enjoy her student life to the full: “I am going to attend everything! Every dance, rugby match and serenade – there are some things in life that one can only experience once, and one’s first year is one of those.” According to her, the Grade 12 work is not that difficult; it is only a lot. She advises matriculants to always to their best and never to leave anything till later.

Sibusiso Tshabalala from HTS Welkom obtained three distinctions. He is studying BCom Law. He chose that degree because it perfectly integrates law and commerce. “In that way I am keeping my career options open”. He chose Kovsies for the opportunity to be part of one of the best Faculties of Law in South Africa. He resides in JBM Hertzog Residence. His advice to matriculants is to fully make use of every opportunity. “There will be setbacks – it is not supposed to be easy. All of that makes you a stronger person. Strive after your own goals – don’t measure them against others’ goals.”

Portia Lehasa from Eunice High School obtained five distinctions. She is studying BA Accounting and resides in Roosmaryn Residence. She chose Kovsies in order to be part of the transformation.

“Transformation leads to growth – and growth is essential for all persons.” She chose accounting because she enjoys challenges. “It is also a skill that will enable me to empower the economic status of South Africa.”

She also wants to become involved in everything on campus and make a difference. “You are going to see me a lot – I am going to change the world!” She also has some advice for matriculants: “It is very important to have a goal. In that way one still has something to strive for. It helps incredibly.”

Meyer Joubert attended the Ferdinand Postma Secondary School in Potchefstroom. He obtained seven distinctions. He is an MBChB I student and resides in Abraham Fischer Residence. “One’s life only becomes meaningful once one does something for someone else; that is why I want to become a doctor. By means of medicine one can make a difference to someone else’s life.” He plans to become the best doctor possible. According to him learners can take it leisurely up to Grade 10. “The requirements for many fields of study, like medicine, already apply from Grade 10. Therefore it is important to start to focus and work hard from then onwards. However, don’t only study! Balance is very important; therefore participate in sports, cultural activities and, of course, socialise.”

Prof. Jansen was, rightly so, impressed by all the talent that have settled at Kovsies this year: “This is only the beginning. With so much potential Kovsies can blossom!”

Media Release:
Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
4 February 2010
 

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