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24 May 2019 | Story Eloise Calitz | Photo Charl Devenish
Gangster book Discussion
From left: Jacques van Wyk from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Cathy Dlodlo, news editor from OFM; Pieter Roux from the UFS Business School; Alta Vermeulen from the UFS Department of Political Studies and Governance and Pieter-Louis Myburgh, author

A packed Odeion Auditorium at the University of the Free State was welcomed by Professor Helena van Zyl, Head of the UFS Business School. The reason being, a panel discussion with award-winning investigative reporter and author, Pieter-Louis Myburgh, on his much-publicised book Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture. The programme took the form of a panel discussion. The panellists included Pieter-Louis Myburgh, author; Jacques van Wyk from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE); Cathy Dlodlo, news editor from OFM; Alta Vermeulen from the UFS Department of Political Studies and Governance; and Pieter Roux from the UFS Business School.

In his introduction, Myburgh said he was happy that he was able to come to Bloemfontein and have the discussion, since South Africans should cherish freedom of speech and a free press.

The research for the book took 13 months to conclude, and during this time he spent a lot of time in the Free State and Bloemfontein. He mentioned that the book gave him the opportunity to present a condensed account of what he discovered; he could therefore share more, as opposed to just reporting on a story in the newspaper. For him, investigative reporting should always be fact based and open to scrutiny.

Some of the topics raised by the panel was concern about the perception that investigative journalists are focusing more on corruption in the public sector and less on the private sector. This was, however, discarded as a myth, as Myburgh pointed out that he exposed both private and public sector dealings in order to provide the full scope of involved parties.

Focusing on whistle blowers, the panel challenged the verification of whistle-blower information. Myburgh responded that journalists never use only one whistle-blower’s evidence, since that is merely the start of the investigation. Further investigation was necessary, and facts had to be verified. With that said, there is still a lot to be done with regard to the protection of whistle-blowers, he concluded.

The floor was opened to the audience, which provided the opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns about what was mentioned during the panel discussion. The audience eagerly participated in the discussion. In conclusion, Myburgh reiterated that society plays a vital role in keeping those in power to the promises they make.

After the discussion, the audience had the opportunity to have their books signed by the author.

News Archive

I-DENT-I-TIES to shine at the Free State Arts Festival
2016-07-08

Description: I-DENT-I-TIES  Tags: I-DENT-I-TIES

Erwin Maas with members of the student cast from the
Qwaqwa Campus. They are, from left: Mpho Xaba,
Lebohang Molefe and Tankiso Mofokeng.

Imagine this: A student cast from a rural campus; Production team consisting of a New York-based Dutch director, a South African screen and stage legend, a The Hague/Vienna-based Dutch theatre designer, and a Vienna-based Serbian performance-craft-artist and designer.

This sounds like a far-fetched flight of the imagination. But it is real and it is called ‘I-DENT-I-TIES’, a large-scale interdisciplinary performance project with international theatre professionals and students from the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Qwaqwa Campus.

According to the  director of the project, Erwin Maas, the production explores the ‘dents’ and ‘ties’ of both individual and communal identification and distinctiveness and does this through the famous Basotho story of ‘Moshanyana Sankatana’ as a point of departure.

“We explore questions like ‘what are dents in our society as well as in ourselves’, ‘what ties me to who I really am and who I want to be’, ‘what does it mean to be me’, ‘what does it mean to be South African’,” said Maas, who has been working on this project since last year.

The production also celebrates personal, communal, and universal narratives and identities through song, dance, story-telling, and music. It explores the past, the present, and the future.

“This production will certainly reveal an extraordinary journey into what makes us unique and binds us together,” he added during the rehearsals that started in May at the Qwaqwa Campus.

Maas has teamed up with a well-known South African film and stage legend, Jerry Mofokeng, as consultant. Mofokeng, who introduced Maas to the ‘Sankatana’ story, has featured on a number of critically-acclaimed films that include ‘Cry, The Beloved Country’ as well as the Academy Award-winning ‘Tsotsi’. Maas has also worked with the Hague/Vienna-based Dutch designer Nico de Rooij and Djana Covic, a Vienna-based Serbian designer.

The production is a partnership between the UFS Student Affairs, Vrystaat Arts Festival, the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa. It will premiere at the Free State Arts Festival, held in Bloemfontein from 11 to 16 July 2016. This will be followed by a performance at the Qwaqwa Campus on 19 July 2016.

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