Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Jacana

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Shortlist for the 2018 Gerald Kraak Award announced

Announcing the Gerald Kraak Award shortlist The Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF) and the Other Foundation are thrilled to announce the judges’ selection that will make up the resultant anthology that will be published by Jacana Media in 2018.

“We are really proud of this selection. It represents some excellent writing and thinking, and reflects the diversity of experiences across the continent. It also mirrors many of the themes that continue to dominate the lives of queer people and of African women: depression, harassment, violence, love and joy. There is a fierceness in many of the pieces we selected – a fight-back but also a quirky and authentic take on the world that manages somehow not to be defined by the larger often horribly oppressive contexts in which they were written.” – Sisonke Msimang

In alphabetical order by surname, here are the shortlisted authors and entries:

‘Facing the Mediterranean’ by Isaac Otidi Amuke (journalism, Kenya)
‘Full Moon’ by Jayne Bauling (fiction, South Africa)
‘Sailing with the Argonauts’ by Efemia Chela (non-fiction, South Africa)
‘Princess’ by Carl Collison (photography, South Africa)
‘Africa’s Future Has no Space for Stupid Black Men’ by Pwaangulongii Dauod (non-fiction, Nigeria)
‘Scene of the Crime’ by Pierre de Vos and Jaco Barnard-Naude (non-fiction, South Africa)
‘The Shea Prince’ by Chike Frankie Edozien (non-fiction, Nigeria)
‘The Man at the Bridge’ by Kiprop Kimutai (fiction, Kenya)
‘Site Visits’ by Welcome Lishivha (non-fiction, South Africa)
‘Portrait of a Girl at the Border Wall’, ‘6 Errant Thoughts on Being a Refugee’ and ‘Notes on Black Death and Elegy’ by Sarah Lubala (poetry, South Africa)
‘Human Settlements’ by Tshepiso Mabula (photography, South Africa)
‘Borrowed by the Wind’ by David Medalie (fiction, South Africa)
‘Your Kink’ by Tifanny Mugo and Siphumemeze Khundayi (photography, Kenya and South Africa)
‘Drowning’, ‘In Jail’ and ‘Things That Will Get You Beaten in a Black Home’ by Thandokuhle Mngqibisa (photography and poetry, South Africa)
‘XXYX Africa: More Invisible’ by Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko (fiction, Tanzania)
‘We Are Queer, We Are Here’ by Chibuihe Obi (non-fiction, Nigeria)
‘Reclamation’ by Hapuya Ononime (poetry, Nigeria)

The winner, who receives a cash prize of R25 000, will be announced at an award ceremony in May 2018, hosted by the Other Foundation and attended by the winning author. A special mention will be made and an invitation extended to authors who have been identified by the judges as the most commended and will also be revealed during the award ceremony. In addition, the judging panel and project partners will be attending the event.

JUDGES FOR THE GERALD KRAAK AWARD

Sisonke Msimang, author of Always Another Country, a memoir of exile and home, and a writer and storyteller whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek and a range of other international publications, stays with us for the second round of the award as head judge and series editor.

She works at the Centre for Stories as head of training where she works on projects for museums, arts organisations and other public interest cultural institutions. Before turning to writing on a fulltime basis, Msimang worked for the United Nations, focusing on gender and human rights. She also served as the executive director of the offices of the Open Society Foundation in Southern Africa until 2013. She has held a range of fellowships including at Yale University, the Aspen Institute and at the University of the Witwatersrand where she was a Ruth First Fellow.

Professor Sylvia Tamale, a leading African feminist who teaches law at Makerere University in Uganda, joins us again for the second round.

Her research interests include Gender, Law & Sexuality, Women in Politics and Feminist Jurisprudence. Prof. Tamale has published extensively in these and other areas, and has served as a visiting professor in several academic institutions globally and on several international human rights boards.

She was the first female dean at the School of Law at Makerere. Prof. Tamale holds a Bachelor of Law from Makerere University, a Masters in Law from Harvard Law School and a PhD in Sociology and Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota.

This year we are joined by Mark Gevisser, one of South Africa’s leading authors and journalists. His new book, The Pink Line: The World’s Queer Frontiers, will be published by Farrar Straus & Giroux (US) and Jonathan Ball (SA) in 2018. His other books include Lost and Found in Johannesburg, shortlisted for the Jan Michalski Prize for World Literature (2014), and Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred, which won the Alan Paton Prize in 2008. In 1994, he co-edited the path-breaking Defiant Desire: Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa with Edwin Cameron. His journalism has appeared in Granta, the New York Times, The Guardian, Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, Public Culture, Foreign Policy and Art in America, as well as all of South Africa’s major publications. As a curator, he has worked on Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, and is responsible for ‘Jo’burg Tracks: Sexuality in the City’ (Constitution Hill and MuseumAfrica); his documentary film, The Man Who Drove With Mandela won the Teddy Documentary Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 1999. He lives in Cape Town.

For more information visit www.jacana.co.za or email awards@jacana.co.za.

This project is made possible in partnership with the Other Foundation: www.theotherfoundation.org.

Tracy Going’s searing, heartbreaking memoir to be published soon

“Searing, heartbreaking, triumphant: Brutal Legacy is for anyone who’s been punched in the face by someone they loved and then stood up again. It’s for every mother who has run, every sister who has picked up the pieces and every friend who hasn’t fled. It’s for every brother who’s cried and for the children who have watched. Every South African should read it.” – Sisonke Msimang, author of Always Another Country

When South Africa’s golden girl of broadcasting, Tracy Going’s battered face was splashed across the media back in the late 1990s, the nation was shocked.

South Africans had become accustomed to seeing Going, glamorous and groomed on television or hearing her resonant voice on Radio Metro and Kaya FM. Sensational headlines of a whirlwind love relationship turned horrendously violent threw the “perfect” life of the household star into disarray. What had started off as a fairy-tale romance with a man who appeared to be everything that Going was looking for – charming, handsome and successful – had quickly descended into a violent, abusive relationship.

“As I stood before him all I could see were the lies, the disappearing for days without warning, the screaming, the threats, the terror, the hostage-holding, the keeping me up all night, the dragging me through the house by my hair, the choking, the doors locked around me, the phones disconnected, the isolation, the fear and the uncertainty.”

The rosy love cloud burst just five months after meeting her “Prince Charming” when she staggered into the local police station, bruised and battered. A short relationship became a two-and-a-half-year legal ordeal played out in the public eye. In mesmerising detail, Going takes us through the harrowing court process – a system seeped in injustice – her decline into depression, the immediate collapse of her career due to the highly public nature of her assault and the decades-long journey to undo the psychological damages in the search for safety and the reclaiming of self.

The roots of violence form the backdrop of the book, tracing Going’s childhood on a plot in Brits, laced with the unpredictable violence of an alcoholic father who regularly terrorised the family with his fists of rage.

“I was ashamed of my father, the drunk. If he wasn’t throwing back the liquid in the lounge then he’d be finding comfort and consort in his cans at the golf club. With that came the uncertainty as I lay in my bed and waited for him to return. I would lie there holding my curtain tight in my small hand. I would pull the fabric down, almost straight, forming a strained sliver and I would peer into the blackness, unblinking. It seemed I was always watching and waiting. Sometimes I searched for satellites between the twinkles of light, but mostly the fear in my tummy distracted me.”

Brilliantly penned, this highly skilled debut memoir, is ultimately uplifting in the realisation that healing is a lengthy and often arduous process and that self-forgiveness and acceptance is essential in order to fully embrace life.

Tracy Going is an award-winning former TV and radio news anchor. She is best remembered for the years spent waking South Africans on SABC 2’s Morning Live and as a prime-time news anchor for Radio Metro and Kaya FM. She has presented a variety of TV shows across the genres of news, business, women, lifestyle and technology. She has also written two successful children’s story-cookbooks, African Animals: Rhymes & Recipes and Awesome Animals: Rhymes & Recipes, which received the prestigious Best in South Africa Gourmand Cookbook Award, as well as the second position at the world Gourmand Cookbook Awards at The Paris Cookbook Fair in 2013. Over the last four years she has lectured at AFDA film school in Cape Town but left to focus on writing her memoir Brutal Legacy.

Book details

Margaret von Klemperer reviews Rehana Rossouw’s New Times

By Margaret von Klemperer for The Witness, 31/01/2018)

Rehana Rossouw’s glorious debut novel, What Will People Say? set a very high standard for her fiction career.

In New Times, her second novel, she has shifted the action forward nine years to 1995, Mandela’s second year as President and the time of the rugby World Cup. It was also when the first patches of tarnish began to stain the bloom of the rainbow nation – the silence over Aids, an economic vision that was not what many of the poor had longed for and hints of bribery and corruption in the top echelons of government.

Rossouw places her central character and narrator into this scenario. Ali (short for Aaliyah) Adams is a political journalist, starting a new job at a weekly paper, The New Times. Rossouw, writing here about something she knows well, is excellent on the atmosphere and internal politics of a busy newsroom – and this is important as the investigative stuff Ali is involved in is often complex and potentially indigestible in a fictional setting, and the human reality around Ali is necessary to keep the story moving.

The other very human strand is Ali’s home life in Bo-Kaap, where she lives with her mother, suffering from depression since the death of her husband, and her strong-minded grandmother, whose expectations of Ali are not something she can fulfil. As in her earlier novel, Rossouw draws a compelling and affectionate picture of a community with its own dynamics and characters.

There is a lot to like in this novel with Rossouw tackling a period when the idealism of the transition to democracy was taking its first hard knock. And in Ali, she has created a character who is going to have to face up to her own personal circumstances – living in a community where conformity is the watchword, particularly for women, is one problem. Hopes unfulfilled in both her own life and the wider society are taking their toll.

But Rossouw doesn’t always manage to mesh her themes successfully. As the political part of the novel veers perilously close to didacticism, in an effort to keep the storytelling lively Rossouw offers too many descriptive flourishes that tend to stop the reader in their tracks. Particularly towards the end of the book, the two strands of her story sit a trifle uneasily together.

Book details

Rights to Land explores land ownership, administration and distribution in South Africa

The issue of land rights is an ongoing and complex topic of debate for South Africans. Rights to Land comes at a time when land redistribution by government is underway. This book seeks to understand the issues around land rights and distribution of land in South Africa and proposes that new policies and processes should be developed and adopted.

It further provides an analysis of what went so wrong, and warns that a new phase of restitution may ignite conflicting ethnic claims and facilitate elite capture of land and rural resources.

While there are no quick fixes, the first phase of restitution should be completed and the policy then curtailed. The book argues that land ownership and administration is important to rural
democracy and that this should not be placed under the control of traditionalist intermediaries.

Land restitution, initiated in 1994, was an important response to the injustices of the apartheid era. But it was intended as a limited and short-term process – initially to be completed in five years. It may continue for decades, creating uncertainty and undermining investment into agriculture.

William Beinart retired from the University of Oxford in 2015, where he was Director of the African Studies Centre and a fellow of St Antony’s College. He has researched and written extensively on South African rural issues and environmental history. His books include The Rise of Conservation in South Africa (2003), Environment and Empire (with Lotte Hughes, 2007), Prickly Pear: The Social History of a Plant in South Africa (with Luvuyo Wotshela, 2011), and African Local Knowledge and Livestock Health (with Karen Brown, 2013). He has worked on land reform planning and as an expert witness in land restitution cases.

Book details

  • Rights to Land: A guide to tenure upgrading and restitution in South Africa by William Beinart, Peter Delius, Michelle Hay
    EAN: 9781928232483
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

#SaveOurStories: Storied’s crowdfunding campaign is live!

 
 
Jacana Media presents Storied. The project aims to create a long-term impact of keeping African stories thriving and reaching worldwide audiences. Through your investment, Storied will raise the money to help publish more African fiction and poetry which will cater for a diverse reading community and audience scaling up sales margins which will be shared with investors.

As Jacana Media publisher, Bridget Impey, explains:

We came up with this idea of Storied, and Storied is going to be the mechanism for changing fiction publishing in this country; not just for us, but for writers, for other publishers, for everybody.

This is what started it all…
 


 

Zapiro launches Hasta la Gupta, baby! (Near the Saxonwold Shebeen, nogal…)

By Mila de Villiers

for maverick writers, fight the good fighters,
hypocrisy haters, sabc eighters,
fake news detectors, real public protectors,
for dirt diggers and go figures,
truth to power speakers and gupta leakers

Thus reads the dedication of Hasta la Gupta, baby!, the 22nd annual to emerge from agent provocateur par excellence, Jonathan Shapiro’s well-versed (and inked) pen.

Launched in the vicinity of a certain Mr. Molefe’s favourite shebeen in Saxonwold, Hasta la Gupta, baby! is a compilation of Zapiro’s most popular cartoons, with a healthy amount of pages dedicated to his more recent work critiquing (among others) Zuma’s asininity (hence the shower head), the nefarious Guptas (hence the title), and Pravin Gordhan’s dismissal (hence the cover-inspiration).

Zapiro described the experience of being so close to the Saxonwold Shebeen as “surreal.

“It feels quite strange to be here under very different circumstances knowing that the country has been taken over just around the corner.”

Attendees were treated to a PowerPoint presentation of a select few comics which appear in the book. (You can take a look at his oeuvre by visiting his website.) Zapiro kindly lent BooksLive to privilege to reproduce the following four:

Zapiro’s representation of Thuli Madonsela’s State Capture report, featuring all the usual suspects.


 

“‘Tis but a flesh wound!” The Monty Python aficionados in the audience enjoyed this depiction of Zuma in a bizarre condition of total denial concerning Thuli Madonsela’s condemning State Capture findings.
 

Zapiro’s pen traversed continents, as seen in this comic of the sentient naartjie (thanks for the apt description, Daily Maverick) groping Lady Liberty – an accurate portrayal of Donald Trump’s presidential regime, steeped in sexism, misogyny and an utter disregard for equality and justice.
 

H.F. Verwoerd seemingly rising from the grave in which ‘aparthate’ was meant to be buried. This comic was created in response to two Afrikaner boere louts, Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen, who attacked Victor Mlotshwa, forcing him into a coffin, and threatening to set him alight. The perpetrators have since been sentenced to prison (serving more than 10 years each) and compulsory community service as janitors and gravediggers in a high veld township’s cemetery. Zapiro’s comic stresses the extent to which the hateful, bleak, and toxic remnants of apartheid are still prevalent in our society.

Hasta la Gupta, baby!

Book details

When the interviewer becomes the interviewed… Listen to Jonathan Ancer discuss Spy on AmaBookaBooka

We turn the tables in this episode of AmaBookaBooka – the interviewer becomes the interviewed; the griller the grilled; the question asker, the answer giver. I normally host the AmaBookaBooka podcast but in this episode I become the subject – and author, editor and journalist Chris Whitfield plays the role of interviewer-in-chief.

In an uncanny twist of events, Jonathan Ancer found himself at the receiving end of answering the probing, diverting, and rousing questions associated with his literary podcast, AmaBookaBooka. Yes, this episode is dedicated to Ancer’s remarkable Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson. Meta, ?

Listen to Ancer and Whitfield’s conversation about the seemingly ordinary Craig Williamson, unmasked as an apartheid spy, here:
 

Book details

Listen: Sara-Jayne King discusses Killing Karoline with Eusebius McKaiser

Killing Karoline deals with important topical issues relating to adoption, identity, race, mental health and addiction.

Born Karoline King in 1980 in Johannesburg South Africa, Sara-Jayne (as she will later be called by her adoptive parents) is the result of an affair, illegal under apartheid’s Immorality Act, between a white British woman and a black South African man. Her story reveals the shocking lie created to cover up the forbidden relationship, and the hurried overseas adoption of the illegitimate baby, born during one of history’s most inhumane and destructive regimes.

Killing Karoline follows the journey of the baby girl (categorised as ‘white’ under South Africa’s race classification system) who is raised in a leafy, middle-class corner of the South of England by a white couple. It takes the reader through her formative years, a difficult adolescence and into adulthood, as Sara-Jayne (Karoline) seeks to discover who she is and where she came from.

Plagued by questions surrounding her own identity and unable to ‘fit in’ Sara-Jayne begins to turn on herself. She eventually returns to South Africa, after 26 years, to face her demons. There she is forced to face issues of identity, race, rejection and belonging beyond that which she could ever have imagined. She must also face her birth family, who in turn must confront what happens when the baby you kill off at a mere six weeks old returns from the dead.

Sara-Jayne King is a mixed-race South African/British journalist and radio presenter whose career spans over a decade and has taken her across the globe in search of remarkable stories and fascinating characters. While studying for an LLB degree in the UK, Sara-Jayne realised her passion lay elsewhere and, after graduating, she went on to complete a Master’s in Journalism in 2004. Her career began as a junior journalist in local radio in London and since then has included roles in the Middle East and Africa, most recently as a senior editor for news channel eNCA and presenter for Primedia’s talk radio station Cape Talk.

Sara-Jayne recently was a guest on Eusebius McKaiser’s Literature Corner show. Listen to their conversation here:

Book details

Watch: Pumla Dineo Gqola discusses Reflecting Rogue, normalising freedom and undoing patriarchy on Afternoon Express

Reflecting Rogue is the much anticipated and brilliant collection of experimental autobiographical essays on power, pleasure and South African culture by Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola.

In her most personal book to date, written from classic Gqola antiracist, feminist perspectives, Reflecting Rogue delivers 20 essays of deliciously incisive brain food, all extremely accessible to a general critical readership, without sacrificing intellectual rigour.

These include essays on ‘Disappearing Women’, where Gqola spends time exploring what it means to live in a country where women can simply disappear – from a secure Centurion estate in one case, to being a cop in another, and being taken by men who know them.

‘On the beauty of feminist rage’ magically weaves together the shift in gender discourse in South Africa’s public spheres, using examples from #RUReferenceList, #RapeAtAzania and #RememberingKhwezi.

Reflecting Rogue takes on both the difficulties and rewards of wilfully inhabiting our bodies in ‘Growing into my body’, while ‘Belonging to myself’ uncovers what it means to refuse the adversarial, self-harming lessons patriarchy teaches us about femininity.

In ‘Mothering while feminist’ Gqola explores raising boys as a feminist – a lesson in humour, humility and patience from the inside. In ‘Becoming my mother’ the themes of fear, envy, adoration and resentment are unpacked in mother-daughter relationships. While ‘I’ve got all my sisters with me’ explores the heady heights of feminist joy, ‘A meditation on feminist friendship with gratitude’ exposes a new, and more personal side to ever-incisive Gqola.

Reflecting Rogue comes to a breath-taking end in ‘A love letter to the Blackman who raised me’.

Gender activist, award-winning author and full professor of African Literature at Wits University, Pumla Dineo Gqola has written extensively for both local and international academic journals. She is the author of What is Slavery to Me? (Wits University Press), A Renegade Called Simphiwe (MFBooks Joburg) and Rape: A South African Nightmare (MFBooks Joburg).

Here Pumla discusses normalising freedom, undoing patriarchy, and the state of South Africa’s universities with Jeannie D and Bonnie Mbuli:


 

Book details

“I have PTSD and this novel was my outlet” – Rehana Rossouw at the launch of New Times

Apartheid, religion, homosexuality, Mandela The Sellout, politics of the newsroom, corruption in the UDF – Rehana Rossouw and Heather Robertson discussed the contents of Rehana Rossouw’s new novel (yes – it’s a novel!) in all its gritty detail at the recent Love Books launch of New Times.

As Kate Rogan, co-owner of Love Books, rightly stated – “it’s fantastic to see such a turnout for a work of fiction.” And a turnout it was.

Give them Rehana Rossouw, and they will come.

Robertson, previous editor of The Herald, and Rossouw’s personal and professional relationship spans over 30 odd years, when they met in the newsroom of anti-apartheid newspaper, South.

The 1980s was marked with terrible violence, Roberston stated.

“We attended far too many funerals…”

Robertson described Rossouw’s protagonist, a young, “shit hot reporter” Aaliyah – who goes by Ali in the newsroom – as a “fantastic character.

“You’ve created universal characters we can all relate to. They’re people we’ve all met.”

Robertson also lauded Rossouw for the beautiful prose, which “touches on humanity and what it means to be human.”

Two characters in the novel, including Ali, suffer from PTSD. Robertson commented that 1995 (the year in which New Times is set) was a year devoted to the ideals of the rainbow nation and reconciliation, yet those who bore the brunt of apartheid were inherently damaged.

“I have PTSD,” Rossouw replied. “This novel was an outlet for what I was going through. I’ve seen too many things that have had lasting effects.”

Rossouw’s PTSD manifested as flashbacks to bomb blasts, during which “I’ll be pulled out the present and taken into the past.

“I’ve witnessed too much and I can’t live with those memories.”

There was no time to process the violent acts she witnessed; “tomorrow we’ll bury another body, tomorrow there’ll be another shooting.”

She mentioned how an SADF member confessed to her how traumatised he was by the crimes he perpetrated.

“Trauma was experienced on both sides of the struggle, yet the SADF had little support. At least we had the comfort of victory… The SADF were left alone with the their memories. Nobody talks about it.”

Rossouw’s engagements with students committed to the FeesMustFall movement also influenced the contents of New Times.

“They were arguing for violence. That’s a dangerous thing; it has repercussions.” Furthermore, the Fallists perpetuated the idea of Mandela as a sellout; “I had to look at that.”

Tymon Smith, features writer at the Sunday Times, commented in a review of Rossouw’s novel that 1995 was the ‘beginning of our demise’.

“Do you agree?” Roberston enquired.

“Absolutely,” Rossouw forthrightly stated. She attributes South Africa’s demise to the lack of communication between the country’s political parties, a reluctance to accept democracy (“People were still waving the old flag”) and tender corruption, among others.

When asked to elaborate on her personal encounters with Mandela, Rossouw responded that she was tasked with covering the first year of his presidency, but added that he was hardly ever in the country. “I was so bored!”

Not only did she critique his absence from the country, but also his lack of engagement with people in the townships, adding that he was too focused on pacifying Afrikaners.

Robertson’s next remark on the substantial amount of sex scenes (“There’s a lot of sex in the book!”) elicited hearty laughter from the audience.

And not only in the newsroom (think editors, journalists, and office tables), but out of it as well.

Another pivotal part of the novel is that Ali is a lesbian. A Muslim lesbian.

When she goes home – the Bo-Kaap, where both Rossouw’s grandmothers were born – she’s “a different person.

“She finds it comforting – the culture, her home, her religion,” Rossouw explained, adding that there’s “no space for that [lesbianism] at all” in a community like the Bo-Kaap. She even (semi) joked that, although it’s 2017, you’ll still find people in the Bo-Kaap community who’ll claim to not know any gays or lesbians. The burden of this “hidden shame” from the community is a “stumbling block and a cause of her breakdown,” says Rossouw.

Robertson elaborated on the “unspoken shame” faced by lesbians, yet moffies are regarded as fun, flamboyant and accepted into society. Homosexual women still have to conceal their sexuality; why bring this up? “The moffies and the letties?”

Not only was the Nelson Mandela Foundation an invaluable source of material on Mandela for her book, Rossouw responded, but their South African history archive proved to be equally informative.

“AIDS was another big thing in 1995,” Rossouw said. “It was the year when the heterosexual community started to be affected by the virus, but those that were dying were gay.

“Thus the character campaigning for AIDS had to be gay.”

And her views on the current state of journalism, as compared to the ’80s / 90s?

Rossouw is of opinion that the sense of camaraderie doesn’t exist anymore; the stories are the same – “we’re still reporting on poor black South Africans, the government still doesn’t care”; those in charge don’t provide essentials such as transport, or expect journalists to pay for their own data when forced to work from home when, say, the internet’s down; and – this she emphasised more than once – “PEOPLE DON’T READ. They’re not bad journalists, but THEY DON’T READ.”

An audience member was curious as to whether we can expect an autobiography or memoir from Rossouw…

A definite ‘no’ substantiated with “I’m not interesting enough!” had the whole audience unanimously respond with what can only be described as an onomatopoeic version of ‘Ja, right, Rehana.’

Oh, how she blushed.

New Times

Book details