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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

SASOL TRAC laboratory launched at UFS Qwaqwa Campus
2006-05-08

Some of the guests attending the launch of the Sasol TRAC Laboratory at the University of the Free State's (UFS) Qwaqwa Campus were from the left Prof Peter Mbati (Principal of the Qwaqwa Campus), Mrs Zimbini Zwane ( Communications Manager of Sasol Infrachem), Prof Gerhardt  de Klerk (Dean : UFS Faculty of the Humanities), Prof Fred Hugo
 Director of TRAC SA) and Prof Jack van der Linde (Director of RIEP at the UFS).

SASOL TRAC laboratory launched at UFS Qwaqwa Campus

The Research Institute for Education Planning (RIEP) of the University of the Free State (UFS) today unveiled the Sasol TRAC Laboratory at its Qwaqwa campus.

The laboratory will be used to help grade 10, 11 and 12 learners and educators from the Qwaqwa region to conduct the experiments from the physical sciences outcome-based curriculum.

“The Sasol TRAC Laboratory introduces learners not only to the latest technology used by engineers and other scientists in practice but also to stimulate the learner’s interest in the field of science in such a way that more of them will enter into science related careers,” says Mr Cobus van Breda, Co-ordinator of the TRAC Free State Regional Centre.

According to Mr van Breda the newly established Sasol TRAC Laboratory will enable RIEP to train learners and their educators in Physical Sciences.  The laboratory will consist of six work stations equipped with computers and electronic sensors.

“Learners from the Qwaqwa region will visit the Sasol TRAC Laboratory on regular basis to conduct experiments based on the curriculum.  Data will be collected with electronic apparatus and presented as graphs on the computer so that results can be analysed and interpreted,” says Mr van Breda.

“There is a serious shortage of suitable qualified teachers in maths and science in the Qwaqwa region.  Many schools in the region are not yet part of the RIEP project and are in dire need of assistance.  A large number of these schools are in remote areas not reached regularly by intervention programmes,” says Prof Peter Mbati, Principal of the UFS Qwaqwa Campus.

“The establishment of the Sasol TRAC Laboratory at the Qwaqwa Campus provides us the opportunity to engage with our community and assist in the development and training of these vital education subjects.  We are pleased that Sasol agreed to fund the project,” says Prof Mbati.

Students from the Qwaqwa Campus will also benefit from the TRAC programme.   “Some promising students will also undergo further training and become assistants for the TRAC programme,” says Prof Mbati. 

“Nurturing science and mathematical skills is of great importance in growing our national economy. Annually, Sasol invests more than R50 million in supporting mathematical and science education in South Africa. Our primary aim is to increase the number of learners gaining access to tertiary education in the science fields. Therefore, our Corporate Social Investment (CSI) education interventions at secondary school level focus on educator development and direct learner interventions such as the Sasol TRAC Laboratory,” explains Ms Pamilla Mudhray, CSI and SHARP manager at Sasol.

According to Ms Mudhray the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement for physical sciences in the further education and training (FET) phase from 2006, under resourced schools will need greater access to the tools and equipment necessary to teach the syllabus and fulfil the ideals of the curriculum.

TRAC South Africa is a national non-profit programme focused on supporting and expanding science, mathematics and technology education in secondary schools. The programme was first introduced to South Africa in 1994. In 2005, RIEP established the TRAC Free State regional centre on the UFS Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
5 May 2006

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