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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

Alumni to be honoured once again for outstanding achievements
2016-09-05

Description: Alumni to be honoured  Tags: Alumni to be honoured

Adv Roelf Meyer won the Chancellor’s
Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2015.

Alumni are a source of pride for the University of the Free State and their work in all spheres of society is recognised and celebrated. The UFS Alumni Office invites nominations for outstanding alumni for achievements attained in both their personal capacity and professional fields, for the Kovsie Alumni Awards in the following categories:

* The Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award is the highest honour accorded to an alumnus. This award recognises the distinguished achievements of its recipient (both professionally and personally) on a national or international scale.

* The Young Alumnus of the Year Award aims to recognise and celebrate the achievements of alumni who have graduated within the past decade.

* The Cum Laude Award is bestowed upon an alumnus to recognise excellence in any field.

* The Executive Management Award is made to any person (not necessarily an alumnus) who has delivered exceptional service to the university.

The Kovsie Ambassador Award is bestowed upon an individual whose achievements have brought distinction to him/her, benefited his/her community and brought credit to the University of the Free State

Nominations can be submitted in writing to the Alumni Office at alumni@ufs.ac.za using the provided nomination form. The nominee’s qualification and the year in which it was obtained at the UFS must be clearly indicated on the nomination form. In addition, a comprehensive CV of the nominee (including his/her achievements) must accompany each form. A selection panel will choose the outstanding candidate(s) with age, race and gender playing no role in the selection process. The closing date for submission of nominations is 12:00 on 30 September 2016.

In 2015, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumnus Award was presented to Adv Roelf Meyer at a luncheon held on 29 August. This year, the awards will be presented at a gala banquet on Saturday, 5 November.

Some of the previous winners include well known personalities such as: Leon Schuster, Cum Laude Award recipient, 1992; Dr Sheila Aronstam, Jewish historian, Kovsie Alumnus of the Year, 2013; Tate Makgoe, MEC for Education in the Free State, Alumni Cum Laude Award winner 2013; and Judge Violet Phatshoane, Judge of the Northern Cape High Court, Kovsie Alumni Award winner of 2014.

For inquiries, contact Helen Namponya on +27 051 401 9343, or by e-mail at alumni@ufs.ac.za.

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