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13 March 2018 Photo Edwin Mthimkhulu
Solomon Mahlangu inspires UFS alumnus first Sesotho book
Ace Moloi questions and delves into the concept of freedomin Tholwana Tsa Tokoloho

Tholwana Tsa Tokoloho is the title of Ace Moloi’s anthology of short stories and the name of one of the 14 stories in the book. The anthology is the first book in Sesotho published by the three-time author.

On Friday, 16 March 2018, Tholwana Tsa Tokoloho, an Art Fusion Literature product, will make its debut public appearance during a public reading at the University of the Free State’s Equitas Auditorium at 17:30.

Moloi’s first literary offering was In Her Fall Rose A Nation which was published in 2013 during his final-year as a Communication Science student at the university. In 2016, Moloi published Holding My Breath, which was praised widely for stirring emotions in readers who related to the heart-wrenching narrative of losing a mother. It was only this year that the author managed to achieve his teenage goal of establishing himself as a vernacular author.

Solomon Mahlangu, an African National Congress freedom fighter and Umkhonto we Sizwe militant who was convicted of murder and hanged in 1979, was the inspiration behind the anthology. Mahlangu inspired the Tholwana Tsa Tokoloho story, which is the story of the selflessness of a captured guerrilla hero in the face of police torture and his eventual death by hanging. It represents Mahlangu and those who suffered during the struggle for liberation. 

“My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom,” are the supposed last words uttered by Mahlangu that inspired the book’s title. Tholwana Tsa Tokoloho means “the fruits of freedom” in Sesotho. For Moloi, writing in the vernacular symbolises the fruits of freedom. “I’m trying to write in a revolutionary spirit, in Sesotho, because we haven’t done that. We have not seriously interrogated political concepts in Sesotho or in any native language,” he said.

Graduate unemployment, violent crime, and sports are some of the other topics tackled in the book. These act as a catalyst for debates over the evidence of ‘the fruits of freedom’ in post-1994 South Africa. 

News Archive

Nobel Prize-winner presents first lecture at Vice-Chancellor’s prestige lecture series
2017-11-17


 Description: Prof Levitt visit Tags: Prof Levitt visit

At the first lecture in the UFS Vice Chancellor’s Prestige Lecture series,
were from the left: Prof Jeanette Conradie, UFS Department of Chemistry;
Prof Michael Levitt, Nobel Prize-winner in Chemistry, biophysicist and
professor in structural biology at Stanford University; Prof Francis Petersen,
UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector; and Prof Corli Witthuhn,
UFS Vice-Rector: Research. 
Photo: Johan Roux

South African born biophysicist and Nobel Prize-winner in Chemistry, Prof Michael Levitt, paid a visit to the University of the Free Sate (UFS) as part of the Academy of Science of South Africa’s (ASSAf) Distinguished Visiting Scholars’ Programme. 

Early this week the professor in structural biology at Stanford University in the US presented a captivating lecture on the Bloemfontein Campus on his lifetime’s work that earned him the Nobel Prize in 2013. His lecture launched the UFS Vice-Chancellor’s Prestige Lecture series, aimed at knowledge sharing within, and beyond our university boundaries. 

Prof Levitt was one of the first researchers to conduct molecular dynamics simulations of DNA and proteins and developed the first software for this purpose. He received the prize for Chemistry, together with Martin Karplus and Arieh Warshel, “for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems”.

Attending the lecture were members of UFS management, academic staff from a range of faculties and other universities as well as young researchers. “Multiscale modelling is very much based on something that makes common sense,” Prof Levitt explained. “And that is to makes things as simple as possible, but not simpler. Everything needs to have the right level of simplicity, that is not too simple, but not too complicated.”  

An incredible mind
Prof Levitt enrolled for applied mathematics at the University of Pretoria at the age of 15. He visited his uncle and aunt in London after his first-year exams, and decided to stay on because they had a television, he claims. A series on molecular biology broadcast on BBC, sparked an interest that would lead Prof Levitt via Israel, and Cambridge, to the Nobel Prize stage – all of which turned out to be vital building blocks for his research career. 

Technology to the rescue
The first small protein model that Prof Levitt built was the size of a room. But that exercise led to the birth of multiscale modelling of macromolecules. For the man on the street, that translates to computerised models used to simulate protein action, and reaction. With some adaptations, the effect of medication can be simulated on human protein in a virtual world. 

“I was lucky to stand on the shoulder of giants,” he says about his accomplishments, and urges the young to be good and kind. “Be passionate about what you do, be persistent, and be original,” he advised.  

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