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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

Postgraduate student to conduct research on maize quality at Michigan State University
2017-03-27

Description: Student maze research Tags: Student maze research

Schae-Lee Olckers, master’s student in the
Department of Microbial Biochemical and
Food Biotechnology.
Photo: Supplied

Schae-Lee Olckers, a master’s student in the Department of Microbial Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at the University of the Free State (UFS), will be travelling to the US in a few weeks’ time. For the next two years she will be doing research at the Michigan State University (MSU) at its Department of Food Science, working on wheat quality and its baking properties.

Increase the nutritional value of maize
The title of her master’s research project is: “The influence of low and optimal nitrogen conditions on the nutritional value of quality protein maize”. She is focusing on the influence of environmental conditions on the nutritional value of maize.

New hybrids of maize production developed

Olckers said: “I chose to start my research on this specific topic in my honours year because maize is the main staple crop in South Africa, as well as in the rest of Africa. Therefore, micronutrient malnutrition is a major concern for developing countries as well as for poor people who rely on it as a major food source. I found it interesting that these breeding programmes that are being developed for new hybrids of maize for production are focusing on increasing the nutritional value of maize and can therefore help eliminate micronutrient malnutrition in some populations of poor communities,” she said.

Prof Perry Ng will be her research supervisor. He is an affiliated professor at UFS in the division of Plant Breeding. “I am very excited about the opportunity to travel and to gain experience working with a well-known cereal scientist. The work he does is also closely associated with my research,” said Olckers.

Her supervisors at UFS are Profs Garry Osthoff and Maryke Labuschagne from the Departments of Microbial Biochemical and Food Biotechnology and Plant Sciences respectively.

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