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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

National Department of Health invests R53.5 million in UFS laboratory
2016-02-04

Description: Dr Derek Litthauer Tags: Dr Derek Litthauer

Dr Derek Litthauer
Photo: Supplied

This year has started off on a high note for Dr Derek Litthauer and his team at the South African National Control Laboratory (NCL) for Biological Products. The National Department of Health has awarded the NCL a contract to the value of R53.5 million to continue testing vaccines for the next three years.

Vaccines are biological medicines used to ensure healthy populations by preventing many diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that, worldwide, about 5.2 million children under six years old die annually. Of these deaths, 29% are vaccine preventable. Research has revealed that vaccines prevent about 6 million deaths each year globally. Safe and effective vaccines are essential public health tools, which are strictly regulated internationally. It is the NCL’s responsibility to perform quality control testing on all vaccines to be used on humans in South Africa.

This laboratory, the only one of its kind in Africa, receives samples of vaccines from manufacturers and importers for rigorous evaluation and testing. No vaccine may be used in South Africa without a release certificate issued by the Control Lab, certifying that the vaccine is suitable for human use.

The contract is a commitment to ensuring that only vaccines of the highest quality are used in South Africa.

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