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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

UFS gets more than R3 Million for HIV/Aids activities
2007-12-13

 

In the picture are some of the members of the project team. From the left are: Mr Pieter du Plessis (Finances), Ms Estelle Heideman (HIV/Aids Co-ordinator: Lengau Agri Development Centre) and Rev Jaftha.
 

UFS gets more than R3 Million for HIV/Aids activities

The Chief Directorate: Community Service at the University of the Free State (UFS) has received more than R3 million to intensify activities regarding HIV/AIDS at all UFS campuses for the next seventeen months.

Higher Education HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) contributed R3 127 207 and the UFS R615 116 towards this initiative. The money will be used to implement intervention strategies from 1 January 2008 to 31 May 2009.

“The mandate poses an extensive challenge and puts pressure on the institution, but at the same time creates some incredible opportunities for intervention,” said the Chief Director of Community Service and Project Co-ordinator, Rev. Kiepie Jaftha.

HEAIDS is a nationally co-ordinated initiative to develop and strengthen the capacity of South African higher education institutions to respond to the causes, challenges and consequences of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the sector. It is an initiative of the Department of Education and the implementing agency is Higher Education South Africa (HESA), an organisation representing vice-chancellors of tertiary institutions in South Africa.

The proposed areas and actions of intervention are categorised into three main components, namely:

- Prevention, treatment, care and support aimed at both students and staff on all UFS campuses.
Incorporation of HIV/AIDS issues into the teaching offerings of the UFS and the development of a formal policy in this regard.

- Implementation of an integrated management information system to empower stakeholders to make decisions and adapt actions by visualising facts, actions and progress on the overall HIV/AIDS programme.

The UFS met all the requirements of HEAIDS to qualify for this funding. A five-member team was formed to come up with a document entitled The Quest for an AIDS Competent Society that met the required standards.

“Each institution of higher learning had to identify and establish a project team, appoint a project leader, assign responsibilities to members of the team with different expertise, analyse the needs of the institution, and define and agree on projects in order to access the grant,” said Rev. Jaftha.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
13 December 2007

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