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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

Innovation the focus of 28th Sophia Gray Memorial Lecture
2016-09-06

Description: Stratford furniture design Tags: Stratford furniture design

Stratford never lost his passion for designing
furniture. Pictured here is some of his furniture
exhibited at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum.
Photo: Francois van Vuuren: iFlair Photography

Al Stratford, designer, inventor and architect, presented the 28th Sophia Gray Memorial Lecture on 25 August at the Reservoir at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum in Bloemfontein. The event, hosted by the Department of Architecture at the University of the Free State, was also the opening of an exhibition of Stratford’s work.

In his career of 40 years, Stratford has patented many products and won several awards in industrial design and architecture. He is known in South Africa for his development of innovative building technology such as the Winblok Precast Concrete Window System. In 2009 and 2010, he also served as president of the South African Institute of Architects.

The title of his lecture was: Reductive Innovation in Architecture. Throughout his career, Stratford endeavoured – through his designs and inventions – to apply the principle of “reduction” to the building material he used and technology he examined.

Stratford designs and builds smart buildings
Stratford says a home is the paradigm of self-expression. His career as architect started with the building of five houses in Gonubie, near East London. Everything he knew about architecture at that stage, he had taught himself by reading on the subject at the local library. Later on, he achieved great heights in his career by designing and building, among others, the Stratford Guesthouse; the sustainable and resourcefully designed campus buildings for the University of Fort Hare (an institutional building not utilising any electrical air-conditioning); the Edenvale Baptist Church; and a community hall.

His technology is widely used in the building industry

“The arrogance in me gets humiliated when I
see what other people and God has done.”


His technical drawing skills, acquired at an early age during his training as motor mechanic, are still practised years later, particularly in his inventions. Stratford is the inventor of technology commonly used in the building industry today. Of these, the Winblok window system which he patented in 1981, is one of his best known patents. The use of these windows is characteristic of many of the buildings he designed and built. Other technology he invented and patented, includes the Winstep stairs, the Windeck flooring system, and the StratFlex furniture technology.

Furniture designs win him awards
He likes to quote architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: “A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is easier.” Stratford started designing and manufacturing his own furniture and never lost this passion. In 2013, he won the Innovation Award at the Design Indaba for his “flat pack” furniture technology.

The humble Stratford – designer, inventor, industrialist, and architect – says he is simply playing around with God’s creation. “The arrogance in me gets humiliated when I see what other people and God has done.”

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