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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

UFS in forefront with ASGI-SA initiative
2006-05-10

At the conceptualisation colloquium and stakeholder dialogue were from the left Dr Aldo Stroebel (senior researcher at the UFS Research Development Directorate), Dr Edith Vries (acting Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Development Trust) and Prof Frans Swanepoel (Director: UFS Research Development Directorate).

UFS in forefront with ASGI-SA initiative

Two staff members of the University of the Free State (UFS) have been appointed as members of the advisory board of the national programme for the creation of small enterprises and jobs in the second economy.  This programme forms part of government’s Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (ASGI-SA).

Prof Frans Swanepoel, Director of the UFS Research Development Directorate and Dr Aldo Stroebel, senior researcher at the UFS Research Development Directorate, are working with a team of experts from the UFS on a draft implementation strategy for the national programme.  Both Prof Swanepoel and Dr Stroebel are also associated to the UFS Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.
 
“The strategy is being developed in collaboration with institutions like the Independent Development Trust, the Department of Agriculture, the National Development Agency and the Department of Trade and Industry,” says Prof  Swanepoel.  

The other team members of the UFS are Prof Basie Wessels, Director of the  Mangaung-University Community Partnership Programme (MUCPP) and Mr  Benedict Mokoena, project manager at the MUCPP.

Dr Stroebel was also member of the organising committee of a conceptualisation colloquium and stakeholder dialogue that was recently presented in Johannesburg.  The conference was attended by more than 400 delegates from government departments, higher-education institutions and civil society, including Dr Kobus Laubscher, member of the UFS Council.

The conference was facilitated by Ms Vuyo Mahlati, previously from the WK Kellogg Foundation’s Africa programme and opened by Ms Thoko Didiza, Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs.   

“The colloquium formed the basis of an induction workshop during which a group of 150 individuals (50 teams of three) from all nine provinces, identified to initiate the implementation of the national programme, was trained and orientated towards an induction manual in collaboration with Hand-in-Hand, an Indian counterpart,” says Prof Swanepoel.

Dr Stroebel and Mr Benedict Mokoena formed part of the team to conceptualise and finalise this training manual.  The induction training includes a case study of a successful community self-help partnership model, namely the MUCPP at the UFS. Prof Wessels and Mr Mokoena are both playing a leading role in the further development of subsequent training initiatives throughout South Africa, in partnership with the relevant provincial departments.

“The involvement of the UFS in the programme is a compliment to us.  It reflects the value government sees in the use of academics and experts in the management of the ASGI-SA initiative.  It is also an indication of one of the aims of the UFS to play a role in South Africa and Africa and in the transformation and change that is taking place in our country,” says Prof Swanepoel.  

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

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