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01 July 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin | Photo Rulanzen Martin
Michelle Joubert and Jane Mpholo
Michelle Joubert and Jane Mpholo will be seen in The Island which is directed by Dr Jerry Mofokeng Wa Makhetha and Charl Henning, a Master's student.

The arts are one of the most important building blocks of any country or organisation, and it is also an important aspect at the University of the Free State (UFS). Therefore, the partnership between these two Free State institutions is important for the promotion of the arts in the province.

The Vrystaat Arts Festival is taking place on the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS from 1 to 7 July 2019. Various UFS departments are involved in the programme, as well as in the technical and artistic planning of the festival.

UFS Drama and Theatre Arts make big contribution 

“I was involved in the planning committee and as artistic selector from the beginning of the festival, and in recent years also as member of the festival board,” says Prof Nico Luwes, Head of the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts

This department makes almost the biggest contribution to the festival, with various plays, such as The Island, which is directed by award-winning theatre maestro Jerry Mofokeng and Charl Henning, and two former students, Michelle Joubert and Jane Mamotse Mpholo in the cast, as well as technical assistance from staff and students. “Without the expertise of Thys Heydenrych as technical organiser and Brandon Hewitson as technical manager, the festival would not be possible,” says Prof Luwes. 

“Our theatres are world-class, and the work of our students as technical and theatre personnel is described as outstanding by all theatre artists.”

Thought-Leader Series, Sol Plaatje lecture, and several book conversations

Since 2018, the UFS has also been involved in the annual UFS Thought-Leader Series, which was launched by Prof Francis Petersen, the UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor. The panel discussions deal with contemporary issues; this year’s topic is Economic Growth and Entrepreneurship for a Growing South Africa. The UFS will also present the Sol Plaatje lecture, which will be delivered by Diana Ferrus. Prof Petersen will also be part of a panel discussion with Prof Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand, and Wandile Ngcaweni, about #FeesMustFall; the discussion will be facilitated by Ruda Landman.

The book by Prof Jan Coetzee of the Department of Sociology and Dr Asta Rau, from the Centre for Health Systems Research and Research, Narrating the Everyday, will also be discussed during the festival. So also, the book by Charl-Pierre Naude, research fellow in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French, Die ongelooflike onskuld van Dirkie Verwey

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