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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

A Kovsie parade through Bloemfontein's streets
2014-02-04


Photo: Albert van Biljon

The community of Bloemfontein came out in numbers to watch the annual Kovsie Rag procession on Saturday 1 February 2014. Young and old lined the roads around the Bloemfontein Campus to get a glimpse of the colourful floats moving through the city’s streets. Onlookers showed their support for the UFS’s charitable fun drive, dropping coins in the money tins of first-year students who made their way through the crowds.

Celebrating the hard work of students who spent hours building floats, festivities kicked off with a morning parade to Heidedal and Mangaung. Here the Rag Office distributed 10 000 meals to members of the community.

With a beloved Hollywood panda as their inspiration, JBM, Soetdoring and Imperium residences were crowned winners of the movie-themed float-building competition later the evening. Their Kung Fu Panda float led the way as the main procession made its way to the Chevrolet Cricket Stadium for a night of celebration with music stars Mango Groove, Zakes Bantwini and Robbie Wessels.  

Mango Groove had the audience on their feet playing well-known hits like Special Star, Moments Away and Hometalk. Robbie Wessels and Bantwini also didn't disappoint, with the audience stomping feet to their music. In addition, partygoers were treated to an amazing fireworks display that lightened up the Bloemfontein night sky.

Float-building results: 

  • Overall winners: JBM, Soetdoring and Imperium 
  • Winners Pool A: JBM, Soetdoring and Imperium
  • Winners Pool B: Welwitchia and Tswelopele 

The overall assessment of floats was made up of 100 points. The impression of the floats on the little ones was very important, as children judges awarded 25% of the score. They gave a mark out of 10 and it was converted to a mark out of 25.

The assessment by the adult judges counted for 75 points. The criteria were as follows:

  • General impression and colour: 25 points
  • Detail: 25 points
  • Did the float complement the theme: 15 points

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