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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

DNA sequencer launched at the UFS
2013-11-25

Dr Gansen Pillay, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Foundation, explaining to the scholars what will be expected of them.

The University of the Free State (UFS) can now collect immensely valuable data on drug resistance in HIV/Aids and TB with the new DNA sequencer that was launched recently at the International workshop on HIV/AIDS and TB drug resistance at the Bloemfontein Campus.

The DNA sequencer will allow the Free State province to produce viral and bacterial genetic data to fight the local development of HIV/ Aids and TB drug resistance.

The HIV and TB epidemics have expanded very fast and South Africa now has the largest HIV and TB treatment programme in the world, with over 2 million patients on treatment. However, these successful treatment programmes are now being threatened by the appearance of drug resistance.

The Free State province has been at the forefront of fighting HIV drug resistance in South Africa and has one of the most advanced treatment programmes for the management of resistance strains in the country. In addition, researchers at the University of the Free State are leading partners in the Southern African Treatment and Resistance Network (SATuRN; www.bioafrica.net/saturn), a research network that has trained over 2 000 medical officers in the treatment of drug resistance strains.

The Department of Medical Microbiology and Virology in the Medical School at the UFS has partnered with the provincial department of health, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Delegation of the European Union to South Africa to fund a dedicated DNA sequencer machine that will be used to generate HIV and TB drug-resistance results. This new machine will enable cutting-edge research to take place, using the data in the province and, importantly, support patients with resistance strains to have access to advanced genotypic testing techniques.

“HIV drug resistance is a very serious problem in South Africa, and the recent advances in DNA testing technology allow clinicians in the province to access drug resistance testing, which enables them to manage patients appropriately who fail treatment, and use the results to cost-effectively extend and improve patients’ lives,” says Dr Cloete van Vuuren, Specialist in Infectious Diseases at the UFS’s Faculty of Health.

Dr Dominique Goedhals, pathologist from the Department of Medical Microbiology and Virology at the UFS, adds: “We have been looking forward to expanding our work with the clinicians and researchers, using DNA sequencing to shed light on the causes and consequences of drug resistance in urban and rural settings in the province.”

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