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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. 

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Motho ke motho ka batho. A person is a person through others.
2016-04-26

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Student Bursary Fund Campaign booklet (pdf)
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Student Bursary Fund Campaign launched: #FundAFuture and make a difference

 

“I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to study further. For that to happen, the heavens had to forge a way.” Mixed feelings dapple Jean-Pierré van der Walt's face as he recounts the miracles - and hardships - of his journey.

Motho ke motho ka batho. A person is a person through others.

Jean-Pierré is one of ambassadors of the Student Bursary Fund Campaign, launched by the University of the Free State (UFS). The project aims to raise R100 m to fund talented, deserving students who do not have the financial means to obtain a university degree. This financial support will change the future irrevocably for many young people in our country, young people who are similar to Jean-Pierré.

Description: Jean-Pierré van der Walt Tags: Jean-Pierré van der Walt

Jean-Pierré van der Walt
Photo: Sonia Small

“When I was in matric, going to university was never an option.” Surmounting his financial circumstances seemed impossible. “It made me feel despondent, and I thought to myself: after school, what would my life be like, where am I going?” It was at this juncture in his life that a funding opportunity enabled him to pursue his dream of making a difference in the world through education. He embarked on a BEd degree in Senior and FET (Further Education and Training) Teaching, which he completed in 2015.

“Varsity taught me to stand up for myself, to make my voice heard,” Jean-Pierré says. “If I did not have the opportunity to attend university, I would have missed my calling in life: to show the world that, despite your physical restrictions, you can still make a difference.” Jean-Pierré is differently-abled as a result of cerebral palsy.

Looking to be placed as an English and Sesotho teacher, Jean-Pierré is eager to teach children that anything is possible, regardless of heritage, family life, or circumstances. “Motho ke motho ka batho. A person is a person through others,” he says is the philosophy he lives by. “One cannot survive in solitude; one needs others to go further in life.”

In the same way, the UFS needs your support and generosity. Each contribution will bring us closer to our goal of R100 m, and to changing the landscape of our youth’s future.

Visit our Giving page for ways to donate.

 

For enquiries or further information:
T: +27(0)51 401 3966 | E: FundAFuture@ufs.ac.za | www.ufs.ac.za

 

 


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