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10 March 2020 | Story Rulanzen Martin | Photo Victor Sguassero (kykNET)
Chris Vorster
Chris was on stage in 'Die Hart Verklap' at the Toyota US Woordfees in Stellenbosch recently.

“Difficult and very strange,” is how Chris Vorster, veteran actor and Drama lecturer at the University of the Free State (UFS) describes his role as Bas Koorts in the supernatural thriller Die Spreeus

For Chris, the biggest challenge during the filming of Die Spreeus was to work in front of a green screen. “You never see the monsters and things attacking you, it is only added later on during the editing process,” he said. Therefore, he and his co-actors were expected to use their own imagination “to be frightened, and to duck and dive from something that does not exist.” 

This Afrikaans thriller series has recently been nominated in five categories of the South African Film and Television Awards, including Best Television Drama, Best Cinematography, and Original Sound and Sound Editing. 

Chris was also nominated for a Fiësta award in 2019 for his one-man performance in the theatre production, Die Hart verklap. “It is fantastic to still be recognised for my work,” he said, “but I also have to give recognition to Dion van Niekerk, because without a good director, any actor will be lost.” Van Niekerk also lectures Drama at the UFS.

Being a lecturer broadens his knowledge 

Chris joined the UFS Department of Drama and Theatre Arts in 2015 as lecturer in the programme for Film en Visual Media. “Everything I learn in the industry I apply as lecturer, and research and teaching feed more knowledge on acting, directing, and especially writing,” he said. After five years, being involved with the UFS Department of Drama is still exciting to him. “This is where both lecturers and students get encouraged to do more than just breathing.” 

With his busy schedule of teaching and acting, it remains important to him that South Africans are still able to tell stories – “in any language”. He considers it a privilege for anyone to work in their mother tongue. This is also why the symbiosis between his work as actor and lecturer is so appealing.

News Archive

Researcher works on finding practical solutions to plant diseases for farmers
2017-10-03

 Description: Lisa read more Tags: Plant disease, Lisa Ann Rothman, Department of Plant Sciences, 3 Minute Thesis,  

Lisa Ann Rothman, researcher in the Department of
Plant Sciences.
Photo: Supplied

 


Plant disease epidemics have wreaked havoc for many centuries. Notable examples are the devastating Great Famine in Ireland and the Witches of Salem. 

Plant diseases form, due to a reaction to suitable environments, when a susceptible host and viable disease causal organism are present. If the interactions between these three factors are monitored over space and time the outcome has the ability to form a “simplification of reality”. This is more formally known as a plant disease model. Lisa Ann Rothman, a researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) participated in the Three Minute Thesis competition in which she presented on Using mathematical models to predict plant disease. 

Forecast models provide promise fighting plant diseases
The aim of Lisa’s study is to identify weather and other driving variables that interact with critical host growth stages and pathogens to favour disease incidence and severity, for future development of risk forecasting models. Lisa used the disease, sorghum grain mold, caused by colonisation of Fusarium graminearum, and concomitant mycotoxin production to illustrate the modelling process. 

She said: “Internationally, forecasting models for many plant diseases exist and are applied commercially for important agricultural crops. The application of these models in a South African context has been limited, but provides promise for effective disease intervention technologies.

Contributing to the betterment of society
“My BSc Agric (Plant Pathology) undergraduate degree was completed in combination with Agrometeorology, agricultural weather science. I knew that I wanted to combine my love for weather science with my primary interest, Plant Pathology. 
“My research is built on the statement of Lord Kelvin: ‘To measure is to know and if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it’. Measuring the changes in plant disease epidemics allows for these models to be developed and ultimately provide practical solutions for our farmers. Plant disease prediction models have the potential ability to reduce the risk for famers, allowing the timing of fungicide applications to be optimised, thus protecting their yields and ultimately their livelihoods. I am continuing my studies in agriculture in the hope of contributing to the betterment of society.” 

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