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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

A time to celebrate: Autumn graduations
2016-04-07

General graduation information 
Livestreaming

The first series of graduations for the year are upon us. Graduates from all seven faculties, the Business School, and the School of Open Learning at the University of the Free State (UFS) will be celebrating their academic achievements. A total of 3681 qualifications will be conferred at ceremonies on the Bloemfontein Campus from 12 to 15 April 2016.

Sejakhumo Makhetha, daughter of our Vice-Rector: Student Affairs and External Relations, Dr Choice Makhetha, will be among the graduates receiving BA Governance and Political Transformation degrees. Coincidently, Dr Makhetha obtained her PhD in Political Science in 2003 at the UFS. Sejakhumo Makhetha is currently busy with her postgraduate diploma in the same field.

The four-day celebration symbolises the UFS prerogative as an institution to transform lives by producing leaders of tomorrow. Dr Muavia Gallie, Dr Sello Hatang, Dawie Roodt, and Nikiwe Bikitsha are expected to address these future leaders and guests at these ceremonies.

Addressed by the best

On the guest speaker line-up, we have Dr Gallie, a School and District Turnaround Strategist and education activist, who has been identified as one of the 10 Most Impressive Public Leaders for 2015 by the UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Jonathan Jansen. The former Head of Operations, Human Resources and Information and Communication Technology at the South African Council for Educators (SACE) has had more than 30 years of experience in education.

Dr Gallie and Dr Hatang will address graduates of the Faculties of Education, Health Sciences, Law, and Theology on 12 April 2016. Dr Hatang is the Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. In addition to being a founding member of the Advisory Council of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, Hatang has had the privilege of serving as the Head of Information Communications, and spokesperson for the South African Human Rights Commission as well as Director: South African History Archive at Wits University.

Dawie Roodt, founder, director, and chief economist of the Efficient Group, will speak at the Faculty of Economic and Management Science ceremony on 14 April 2016. This nationally-renowned economist boasts 30 years of experience in monetary and fiscal policy, and is one of the most referenced authors. In 2013, he published Tax, Lies and Red Tape.

As one of South Africa’s leading journalists, Nikiwe Bikitsha will draw on her 20-year career in radio, television, and journalism to address the Faculty of the Humanities graduates on the final day of graduations. Through her passion for Africa’s economic development and women empowerment, the co-founder and CEO of Amargi Media has been a successful Programme Director for UN, IMF and AU-related events.

 

Details of event

Dates: 12, 13, 14, 15 April 2016

Times: 09:00 and 14:30

Venue: Callie Human Centre, Bloemfontein Campus, University of the Free State

 

 

 

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