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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

Rag teamwork leads to Armentum, Emily's float
2016-02-04

Description: Rag video screenshot Tags: Rag video screenshot
Rag video clip

Perhaps the residences Armentum and Emily Hobhouse were thrown into the deep end, but they still wanted to prove a point.

This is according to Hanko Minnaar, Residence Committee member for Rag at Armentum, shortly after the residences were announced as overall float winners of the University of the Free State (UFS).

According to Minnaar, Emily Hobhouse and Armentum overcame the challenge of building a float as a two-residence team, while most of the other hostels were in teams of three.

On 30 January 2016, after about two weeks of hard work and sweat, the residence twosome was named the winner at the Bloemfontein Campus.

“I am very proud. We couldn't have asked for more,” Minnaar said, after the residences Armentum and Emily Hobhouse celebrated their victory with house songs. “Anything is possible through teamwork.”

Tom and Jerry, Olaf and a Steri Stumpie

 The theme for this year was “Cartoons, Animation, and Children's Snacks”. Among other items, Armentum and Emily Hobhouse had Tom and Jerry, Olaf from Frozen, a Steri Stumpie, and a box of Astros on their float.

Description: Rag procession photo Tags: Rag procession photo

Photo: Charl Devenish

“We thought hard about what we wanted,” Minnaar said.

“We also asked some children, and they said that Tom and Jerry is a favourite, and Olaf has always been a winner as well. And Steri Stumpies, of course. Who doesn't like Steri Stumpies?” The residences Marjolein, Veritas, and Akasia were second overall, with Karee, Vergeet-My-Nie, and Sonnedou third.

Colourful processions

The events of the day started off with a morning procession from the Pelonomi Hospital to the Twin City Mall in Heidedal, where students and the community celebrated together, and meals were distributed.

The evening procession, from the Tempe robot in Nelson Mandela Drive to the Old Grey Sports Grounds, was greeted by hordes of spectators along the way.

Artists and Co captivate audience

In the evening, music lovers were entertained at Old Grey Sports Grounds by the legendary artists Vusi Mahlasela, the talented Karen Zoid, and an energetic Francois van Coke.

Local bands, Rise in Red and Simple Stories, added to the excitement. To top it all off, a special laser show made for a colourful visual bonus, coupled with great sound.

2016 Float results
Rag photo gallery

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