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05 June 2019 | Story Ruan Bruwer
Louzanne Coetzee
Athlete Louzanne Coetzee with the trophy of the Free State Sports Association for the Physically Disabled as Sports Star of the Year.

Although challenging, very exciting and a new journey, says Louzanne Coetzee about the athletics year for which she has been recognised.

The 26-year-old, who is doing her master’s in Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Studies at the University of the Free State, won the Free State Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (FSSAPD) Sports Star of the Year award for a fourth consecutive time. This was for the period June 2018 to April 2019.

In that time, she set a world record, an Africa record, and ran two marathons in which she came amazingly close to a second world record.

Only in her second marathon at the Berlin Marathon in September, the Paralympian fell 26 seconds short of the T11 (totally blind) world record time. She met the qualifying time for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo during the London Marathon in April.

“Marathons are definitely challenging and a new field for me, but I would say it has been a good 12 months. My aim is now set on next year’s Paralympic Games, where I would like to compete in the marathon and the 1 500 m.”

“I hope to run a good time in the 1 500 m at the World Para Athletics Championships in November.”

At the SASAPD National Championships for physically disabled and visually impaired athletes in April 2019, Coetzee won three gold medals and set a record in the 1 500 m. 

Others from the UFS also honoured

Coetzee has received several awards in her career, but says it is always special to be rewarded by her own federation (FSSAPD). 

Danie Breitenbach (T11) was also honoured as the Senior Male Sports Star. He bagged two gold medals and one silver and set a SA record in both the 800 m and 1 500 m at the nationals. Another Kovsie, Dineo Mokhosoa (F36 – coordination impairments), received a merit award for her gold medal in shot-put and silver in the discus at the national champs.

News Archive

Book Prize for Distinguished Scholarship awarded to Dr Christian Williams
2016-03-24

Description: Dr Christian Williams Tags: Dr Christian Williams

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State and Dr Christian Williams, senior lecturer at the UFS Department of Anthropology.
Photo: Johan Roux

When Dr Christian Williams moved from the United States to Namibia in January 2000 as part of the WorldTeach volunteer programme for teachers, he had not anticipated an award-winning piece of scholarship in his future. It was during these visits to Namibia, though, that the seeds for his highly-acclaimed book were sewn.

While volunteering at the St. Therese Secondary School in Tses at that time, Dr Williams – now a senior lecturer at the University of the Free State (UFS) Department of Anthropology – became acquainted with some of the school’s alumni. The stories these individuals started sharing with him soon revealed personal histories of exile and violence by fellow SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organization) members.

These experiences ultimately resulted in Dr Williams’ book, National liberation in postcolonial southern Africa: a historical ethnography of SWAPO’s exile camps, published last year. Due to the book’s literary impact, the university awarded Dr Williams the UFS Book Prize for Distinguished Scholarship on Friday 19 February 2016. Dr Williams is the second academic to be awarded this prize.

Politics of the past


In the 1960s, Namibians mobilised and retaliated against colonial rule under the liberation movement known as SWAPO. This created political tension which resulted in the flight of many SWAPO members to exile camps administered by the party.

“Over its three decades in exile, SWAPO was responsible for the welfare of roughly 60 000 Namibians. This was about 4% of the total Namibian population at independence – most of whom lived in camps,” says Dr Williams. The research originally used as a basis for his doctoral thesis was subsequently developed into this prize-winning book.

Advancing the Human Project

“It’s an honour to receive recognition from the university; it means that they value the kind of work that I am doing. I think it’s great for universities to have such prizes,” Dr Williams says.

Supporting the UFS Human Project, Dr Williams will donate a portion of the R25 000 prize money towards the UFS Student Bursary Fund Campaign, as well as the school in Namibia.The rest will subsidise the purchase of the book for distribution to libraries and as gifts.

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