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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

Launch of the Africa office of the IIDE
2006-05-25

Attending the launch of the Africa office of the IIDE were from the left Prof Sytse Strijbos (Chairperson of IIDE Europe), Rev Kiepie Jaftha (Chairperson of the IIDE in Africa’s Board of Directors and Chief Director: Community Service at the UFS) and Prof Frederick Fourie (Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS).

 

Attending the launch were from the left Prof Lucius Botes (Director: Centre of Development Support at the UFS), Dr Samuel Kareithi (Head: Community Development at the Cornerstone Christian College, Cape Town), Rev Kiepie Jaftha (Chairperson of the IIDE in Africa’s Board of Directors and Chief Director: Community Service at the UFS), Prof Sytse Strijbos (Chairperson of IIDE Europe) and Dr Ezekiel Moraka (Vice-Rector:  Student Affairs at the UFS).

Africa office of IIDE launched on UFS main campus 

The Africa office of the International Institute for Development and Ethics (IIDE) was today (26 May 2006) launched on the Main Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein.

“The IIDE specialises in the studying and research of general questions of developmental theory and practices and provides services and support in education, strategic planning, policy formulation, advocacy and capacity building of development agencies,” said Rev Kiepie Jaftha, Chairperson of the IIDE in Africa’s Board of Directors and Chief Director: Community Service at the UFS.

According to Rev Jaftha the IIDE in Africa will focus on the conceptual and normative aspects of developmental processes in Sub-Saharan Africa.  “We want to foster local and international partnerships with various relevant role-players in civil society, the private sector and public sector in the SACD region and later expand our operations to the rest of Africa,” said Rev Jaftha.

The IIDE in Africa cooperates with a similar foundation in Europe, functioning as the IIDE Europe.  This institute was founded in 2003 and its head office is situated in the Netherlands.  The UFS is a funder of the IIDE in Africa together with the Paul Foundation and private sponsors from the Netherlands.

“We have already started with various projects which are in various stages of implementation,” said Rev Jaftha.  Some of these projects include, among others, the broadening of the master’s degree in Christian Studies of Science and Society (MACSSS) which is currently housed at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam to tertiary institutions in South Africa such as the UFS, the University of Stellenbosch and the Potchefstroom Campus of the Northwest University.

“Another project is an investigation into the possibility of initiating a broad development initiative in the poverty stricken Qwaqwa area.  This initiative will attempt to concentrate on issues like the training and empowerment of prospective entrepreneurs in the region, the identification of prospective entrepreneurs for the rendering of development support and the monitoring of the impact of information and communication technology on local communities during the implementation of sustainable development initiatives,” said Rev Jaftha.

“The establishment of the Africa office of the IIDE on the UFS Main Campus is an indication of one of the aims of the UFS to play a role in South Africa and Africa.  It also signifies our aim to contribute meaningfully to research and development and to establish links between the academe and practice,” said Rev Jaftha. 

 

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

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