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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

RAG resilience shines despite rain
2017-02-07

Description: Rag 2017 Tags: Rag 2017

Winning float for 2017: Armentum, Vergeet-My-Nie,
and Emily
Photo: Lelanie de Wet 

Although the 75th RAG festivities were challenged by ominous weather, in true Kovsie spirit students and organisers still made a gleaming success of the day. 

Students help to create sunny feeling
On 6 February 2017, the annual float-building activities culminated in the handing over of schoolbags to 150 learners from schools in and around Bloemfontein. This took place at the Rag Farm on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free (UFS), since the morning procession to Twin City Mall in Heidedal had to be cancelled due to bad weather.

“It is of course a huge disappointment to all of us that the events had to be cancelled, but we are grateful for the rain,” said Karen Scheepers, Head of Kovsie Rag Community Service and Assistant Director: Student Affairs.

The evening KFC Rag procession took place as planned, with students having the option of taking part despite the weather. Unfortunately, the Chevrolet Music Festival had to be cancelled.

“The very important actors of today are our students who have worked long hours to build the floats and who have worked together to make this rainy day on the outside feel sunny inside,” said Prof Francis Petersen, incoming UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector, when he addressed the crowd at the Rag Farm. Prof Petersen will take up office on 1 April 2017.

Armentum, Vergeet-My-Nie, and Emily take honours
Armentum, Vergeet-My-Nie, and Emily Hobhouse were the overall winners of the 2017 Rag float-building. “It was worth the hard work. Always remember to ask for advice during float-building,” said Pieter Kotze, RC Rag of Armentum residence on the Bloemfontein Campus. “I also want to thank both the RC Rag from Vergeet-My-Nie and Emily Hobhouse.”

The float theme was Proudly South African, and the winning float encapsulated it with local flavours such as Chappies, a Rooibos tea box and a Lion matchsticks box. They also went the extra mile by incorporating each hostel’s logo within a Chappie design.

The Central Rag Committee would like to thank all their sponsors who made the events possible. The Rag Coronation Ball will take place on 17 February 2017, where the new Rag Queen and Mr Rag will be crowned.

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