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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

The Great Pool of Exhilaration
2015-02-11

Photo: Albert van Biljon 

 

Boys’ roars and ladies’ shouts could be heard from miles away. From this, one could tell that the 2015 first-year’s Swimming Gala was bound to be an exciting one.

While RC Sports members were stressing, the first-years blissfully continued in song and excitement.

One would think that, after a hectic first week of classes, first-years would not have much energy left, but the atmosphere proved that Residence Committees (RCs) had prepared the individuals with rather motivating pep talks before the event. Most male residences put their best foot forward, not holding back on themed attire and additional instruments, while female residences sang and danced to the music provided. Not only were the masses competing to claim that they had the greatest spirit on this night, but they were also waiting to hear the results of the Spirit Cup for the first-years’ Athletics, which was cut short due to heavy rain showers. This simply added to the already intense anticipation of first-years and RC Sports members, as they would receive the results only at the end of the event.

The competition was tough as many of the first-years who competed moved with ease in the water as though it was second nature to them. This year’s gala saw quite a few talented, national swimmers competing, which left those who swam for pride and points intimidated. The excitement of the crowd was heightened as the relay section of the programme approached. This meant that the winners were to be announced soon.

In the ladies’ section, the residences were placed:
• 1st – Marjolein
• 2nd – Wag-‘n-Bietjie
• 3rd – Sonnedou

In the men’s section, the residences were placed:
• 1st – Armentum
• 2nd – Vishuis
• 3rd – Karee

When the time arrived for the announcement of the Spirit Cup winners, many were hopefully clenching their hearts for their name to be roared out. In most people’s opinion, it came as no surprise when Armentum walked away with the Spirit Cup for both the first-years’ Athletics and the Swimming Gala. Furthermore, Armentum’s broader South College community – of which Emily Hobhouse, Marjolein, NJ vd Merwe and Villa Bravado are also part – walked away with the cash prize for the best mascot.

By end of the night, everyone, no matter if they were drenched or dry, experienced the exciting sporting atmosphere at Kovsies that they’ve now become a part of.

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