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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

Memorial service for Ms Winkie Direko
2012-02-21

 
Ms Winkie Direko was a loved and respected Chancellor.

 

The senior leadership, staff and students of the University of the Free (UFS) are saddened by the death of Ms Winkie Direko on Friday 17 February 2012.

Ms Direko, who was Chancellor of the university from July 1999 to February 2003, was the first black person and also the first woman to hold this position.

“Ms Direko was a much-loved person in the Free State as well as a loved and respected Chancellor of the UFS. Her continued involvement with the university was always appreciated by the university community. We honour her memory and her directional leadership as former Chancellor,” says Judge Ian van der Merwe, Chairperson of the UFS Council.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, says Ms Direko was one of South Africa's greatest teacher-leaders and one of the few former teachers he could really look up to. “Rest well, Ma Winkie; you left us a great example,” he said.

A memorial service will be held on:

  • Thursday 23 February 2012
  • at 14:00

A bus will leave the Centenary Complex at 13:00 for the service that will take place at the indoor sport centre in the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium in Rocklands.

Please RSVP to Tharina Naudé not later than Wednesday 22 February at 12:00 at x3829 or naudehc@ufs.ac.za.

It will be appreciated if you could wear your university branded clothes (shirt or blazer) to the service.


Media Release
21 February 2012
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za
 

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