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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

Kovsie student nominated for 2012 national music award
2012-09-08

Sibongile Potelwa
Photo: Supplied
6 September 2012

Sibongile Potelwa, a postgraduate student at our university, has been nominated for the 2012 South African Traditional Music Achievement (SATMA) Award in the category “Best Praise Singer”.

Sibongile, who studies Financial Economics & Investment, has been a busy student on the Bloemfontein Campus, with a list of achievements that continues to grow. In his first year, he received a certificate for being on the list of the Top 10 First Years in academics at Villa Bravado residence and he was inducted as a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society in his second year. He was also a tutor in Accounting and Economics for first-year students. This year, Sibongile became a Student Ambassador for the university in the Office of the Rector.

Sibongile performs under the stage name “Sijadu” and has been involved in praise poetry since the age of 11. He lists his recent performance at the Charlotte Maxeke Memorial Lecture, where he performed in front of President Jacob Zuma and other cabinet ministers, as one of his favourites.

“I would like to appeal to the university community, the Free State Province and South Africa at large to vote for me. This award absolutely belongs to Kovsies and therefore I believe that we cannot let the opportunity pass us by,” says Sijadu.

The SATMA Awards take place on 27 October 2012 in East London in the Eastern Cape. Voting lines will be open until 26 October. People can vote by sending a sms with the following information: SATMA, SIJADU, BEST PRAISE SINGER to 34066. Each sms costs R2.
 

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