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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

Triumph in the face of adversity
2016-04-29

Description: Glory NSH Tags: Glory NSH

Glory, one of fourteen NSH bursary recipients during the UFS Autumn Graduations.

At the University of the Free State (UFS) Autumn Graduation Ceremony held from 12-15 April 2016, on the Bloemfontein Campus, a record number of fourteen beneficiaries of the No Student Hungry (NSH) Bursary Programme received their degrees. This is an achievement they all feel they could not have reached, were it not for the support by NSH.

The NSH food bursary is awarded to students on the basis of financial need, academic excellence, and a commitment to serve the community. The UFS has helped over 650 students since 2011, when Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, started NSH.

These students are true beacons of inspiration and determination. Indeed, they have triumphed in the face of adversity. This is what can be said about their determination and will to succeed.

Glory, a previous recipient of the NSH bursary and a mother of two, graduated on Tuesday morning, receiving a BEd degree (intermediate phase). She stated that the NSH bursary changed her life drastically when she started receiving it.

“I used to constantly worry about my children and what they would eat. So I would sacrifice my own meals throughout the day just to make sure they have food to eat,” says Glory.

“The NSH bursary really gave me peace of mind, my school work was suffering and once I started receiving food each day, I could focus on what really mattered: my degree.”

“My goals for this year are to get a permanent job, and start receiving a stable salary. I am currently working as a temporary teacher at a primary school in Bloemfontein.

Description: Katlego NSH Tags: Katlego NSH

Katlego, one of fourteen NSH bursary recipients during the UFS Autumn Graduations.

“I never would have thought that I could have made it this far. I want to pursue my postgraduate studies, to inspire my children and other students who have been in my shoes. There is help and hope. My faith also gave me refuge. Nothing that is given to me is taken for granted,” says Glory.

Another student Katlego, who graduated on 14 April 2016, receiving her BCom Human Resource Management degree. At present, she is busy with her BCom Industrial Psychology Honours. She heard about the NSH food bursary, through a friend in 2014, and has been immensely grateful for all she has received. 

“There is no shame in asking for help. There can only be hope and relief,” she said.

“I am so thankful for NSH. As part of the bursary programme, we commit to serving the community. We receive but we are also encouraged to give back. The community service projects have helped me to get out of my comfort zone, to look beyond myself and acknowledge that I am also required to give back my time to others who appreciate and cherish it.”   

The NSH students are offered not only a food bursary; they participate in student wellness and development programmes, and they are motivated and exposed to opportunities for personal growth. Students are also encouraged to be involved in university or community projects as a way of ploughing back into the community, thus creating a reciprocal cycle of giving and receiving within their community.

 

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