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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

Media: Moshoeshoe-lesing waardevol
2006-05-29



Hoofartikel
29 Mei 2006

 

Waardevolle lesing

DIE eerste koning Moshoeshoe-gedenklesing van die Universiteit van die Vrystaat het sommer met die intrapslag prikkelende gedagtes opgelewer en wys dat dit ’n paslike en nuttige manier is om ook die bydraes van swart leiers in Afrika te eer.

Terselfdertyd verskaf die eerste gedenklesing wat deur prof. Njabulo Ndebele, vise-kanselier van die Universiteit van Kaapstad gelewer is, diep stof tot nadenke en debat.

Die gedenklesing kom juis terwyl al hoe meer wenkbroue gelig word oor die skepping van ’n ander forum, die Native Club, waarvan wit Afrikane uitgesluit word.

Dis die geesteskind van mnr. Titus Mafolo, politieke raadgewer van pres. Thabo Mbeki, en die doel daarvan is om ’n forum te verskaf vir Afrika-intelligentsia.

In teenstelling met die ras-eksklusiewe Native Club wat ’n ongelukkige teruggryp is na rasgegronde instellings onder die apartheidsbewind, het prof. Ndebele in die gees van die inklusiewe leierskap van koning Moshoeshoe van Lesotho die gedenklesing opgedra aan al dié mense in Suid-Afrika en elders wat die moed het om hul oorwoë mening uit te druk oor belangrike sake wat die samelewing in die gestig staar.

Hy het tereg bygevoeg dié lesing kom op ’n kritieke punt in Suid-Afrika se nuwe demokrasie.
Prof. Ndebele het daarop gewys dat koning Moshoeshoe – Lesotho het onder sy leierskap mense van verskeie dele van die subkontinent gelok – kon bewys dat verskeidenheid ’n bindende eienskap kan wees.
Jy bereik die grootste eenheid tussen onderskeidende entiteite waar jy relatief vrye ruimte aan hulle gee om hul eiesoortige kenmerke na vore te bring.

Prof. Ndebele het ook opgemerk ’n toenemende aantal hoogs intelligente, sensitiewe en toegewyde Suid-Afrikaners oor die klas-, ras- en kulturele spektrum heen, bely dat hulle soos nooit tevore nie, onseker en kwesbaar voel sedert 1994.

Hierdie koerant spreek ter aansluiting hierby die wens uit dat die ANC-regeringsalliansie sal toesien dat wie ook al die leiding vorentoe in dié alliansie oorneem, ook daardie saambindende eienskappe moet besit wat koning Moshoeshoe gehad het. En wat hy gebruik het om sy land uit te bou en te verenig.

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