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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

New conductor of OSM Camerata is one of South Africa’s most successful young people
2014-03-27

 
Mr Xavier Cloete

The OSM Camerata at the University of the Free State boasts with a young renowned conductor to lead them in the next season.

Mr Xavier Cloete, winner of the 2013 National Len van Zyl Conductor’s Competition, will conduct the Camerata during the Odeion School of Music’s opening concert.

He completed his BMus degree at the University of Stellenbosch in 2011 with bassoon and orchestral conducting as main instruments and is currently employed by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO).

As winner of the Len van Zyl Competition, he completed a conducting internship with the famous Philadelphia Orchestra, which gave him the opportunity to work with acclaimed conductors. He also studied at the Bienen School of Music (Northwestern University) in the Advanced Graduate Conducting Class of Prof Victor Yampolski.

Last year Xavier was also invited to attend the first Sasha Mäkilä International Master Classes in Finland.

His love and passion for music started early in his life – and somewhat coincidentally - in church.

“I was learning to play a few hymns on my dad’s Hammond organ at home. One Sunday our church organist didn’t turn up and I nonchalantly moved in behind the organ. It went very well.”

Xavier ascribes his success to lots of hard work and his love for music.
“My passion for music drives me to work hard. Hard work shows that you are dedicated and this is again seen in the successes you achieve. The reward of one’s hard work is the best instrument.”

He will be making his international debut with the St Michel’s City Orchestra (Finland) during April 2014.


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