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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

Fun in the sun at first-years swimming gala
2016-02-12

Description: Swimming Gala Tags: Swimming Gala

Residences of the University of the Free State showed off their colours and cheered their swimmers to victory at the first-year swimming gala on the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Johan Roux

The first-year students’ swimming gala is always a much-anticipated event, especially after the participants have rubbed shoulders with residence competitors at the first-year athletics. This year’s gala, which took place on 5 February 2016 at the Lindsay Saker swimming pool on the Bloemfontein Campus, proved as exhilarating as always.

The body painting competition, held through the University of the Free State Student Representative Council (SRC) portfolio of Media & Marketing, and sponsored by ABSA, was re-introduced.

Colleges in colour

Before the swimming, spectators had the opportunity to look at the body painting creations presented by each college. Colleges chose one of ten themes randomly. Nonetheless, true artistry was on display. South College were awarded the body painting floating trophy.

When asked about this year's competition, SRC Media & Marketing, Peo Segano, had this to say: "I questioned the relevance of it, but I got the opinion of the residence committees and how they felt about it.
“The majority voted for it to be re-introduced, and ABSA was more than happy to sponsor the paints and some treats.”

Description: Swimming gala video photo Tags: Swimming gala

Video clip

Soon after that, it was down to the business. The swimming started, and each residence was cheering ecstatically for their fellow freshmen as everyone waited in anticipation to see who would be crowned the kings or queens of the water.

Kings and queens of the water

Although many had sung their voices away, they continued to show their spirit through dance and movement. Then, residences were ready to hear whether it had all paid off. Armentum showed consistent effort in this regard, thus ensuring them of the spirit trophy.

To close off the festivities, the final announcements were made. Sonnedou was crowned the female residence winners, while Abraham Fischer (Vishuis) received the title of best male residence.

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