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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

Eminent Chinese musicians perform at Odeion
2011-03-08

Hing fat-Wong

A renowned and well-known award-winning Chinese musician from Hong Kong, Hing fat-Wong, enchanted music lovers of the classical genre, after joining forces with Frankie Feng, Music Director of Free State Orchestra of Chinese Music (FSOCM), live on stage at our university’s Odeion for the first time in 30 years. Wong and Feng lit up the stage, to a full house, with an outstanding orchestral performance at the FSOCM’s first concert for the year, called Ancient Chinese Classical Music. Wong was invited by the FSOCM in January 2011 to play solo pieces on the traditional Chinese instruments, the pipa and guqin.

Wong conducted two works, Shanbei Suite and Variations on Yang Guan. Both were arranged by Feng and are based on Chinese folk songs and ancient melodies, respectively. According to Wong, ancient melodies refer to all music before the 1911 Chinese Revolution. However, Wong stated that Feng’s arrangement gave new life to these melodies, as played by the FSOCM.
 
Wong proved to the audience that his talent goes beyond the conductor's baton, and includes his ability to play instruments such as the pipa and guqin masterfully, by performing several solo pieces using these two traditional Chinese instruments.
 
During his stay in Bloemfontein, Wong was invited by Prof. Nicole Viljoen from our Department of Music to host a successful seminar on the appreciation of Chinese music. Attendees had the opportunity to listen to a lecture by Wong and gain first-hand experience of classic traditional Chinese instruments being played. The FSOCM is a multi-cultural orchestra and looks forward to hosting more high-quality performances with soloists of the calibre of Wong throughout the year.

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