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Archive for June, 2018

Book talk: Killing Karoline by Sara-Jayne King (21 June)

Killing KarolineKilling KarolineKilling Karoline

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.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 21 June 2018
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Tokai Library, Tokai Road, (between intersections of Palm and Ebony Roads), Tokai, Cape Town
  • Book Details


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Launch: The Broken River Tent by Mphuthumi Ntabeni (20 June)

The Broken River Tent is a novel that marries imagination with history.

It is about the life and times of Maqoma, the Xhosa chief who was at the forefront of fighting British colonialism in the Eastern Cape during the nineteenth century. The story is told through the eyes of a young South African, Phila, who suffers from what he calls triple ‘N’ condition – neurasthenia, narcolepsy and cultural ne plus ultra. T

his makes him feel far removed from events happening around him but gives him access to the analeptic memory of his people. After being under immense mental pressure, he crosses the mental divide between the living and the dead and is visited by Maqoma. They engage in different conversations about cultural history, literature, religion, the past and contemporary South African life.

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Launch – This is how it is: True stories from South Africa by The Life Righting Collective (12 June)

This is How It Is is a collection of real life experiences. Most of these writers have never been published before. They wrote primarily to explore themselves, to engage with their own capacity to be creative, and to bear witness to their lives and the times in which we live. Putting traumatic experiences down on paper can help a person to put shame, guilt and fear down, and to step out of the circle of enchantment that might have kept them trapped for years.

Writing is sometimes able to turn a painful incident into something more manageable, even beautiful. This is an aspect of the power of artistic practice – that we can take the blurred feeling of what is disturbing us and give it form in the world. The stories inspired by our experiences can reveal what we didn’t know we knew, as they take shape on the page. Self-discovery is linked to self-recovery, but communication does not end there: those who are willing to share their stories can have a valuable impact on us, as readers, by revealing aspects of their humanity.

In addition, the writers may experience healing through having their experiences witnessed. Engaging with this ‘other’ by listening to what happened to them cuts across those things that separate us: sexism, racism, ageism, nationalism and gender stereotypes. Often we discover that we are more alike than we are different. Our beautiful world is in trouble, much of it because we are not paying attention to what is right in front of us. When the facts don’t stir us to reconsider, story can. This anthology is a contribution to the groundswell towards meaningful change. It invites us to become curious and reflective rather than fearful and defensive. It encourages us to climb down from the ladder of hierarchy and competition, and to join the circle of relationship and humanity, through becoming vulnerable enough to share and to listen to our own and each other’s half-hidden stories.

This anthology is the pilot year of what we hope will be an annual edition. This year’s theme, ‘This is how it is’, speaks of truth-telling and the relief of being able to communicate openly and honestly about things that are usually difficult – suicide, extra-marital affairs, mental illness, racism, untimely death.

“A powerful collection of life stories written in a healing space.” – Pregs Govender

“We forget that the most daring thing we can do is to allow ourselves to be seen. To stand before the world and to say this is who I am. This is how it is.” – Bongani Kona, 2016 Caine Prize finalist and co-editor of Migrations

“The writers in this triumphant anthology are both courageous and candid, allowing the reader a glimpse into their lives. There is need for more of this writing in South African literature.” – Sara-Jayne King

“Refreshing, poignant and wide-ranging, this collection surprises with unusual perspectives and gives voice to a broad array of talents.” – Helen Moffett

ABOUT THE LIFE RIGHTING COLLECTIVE

The Life Righting Collective runs courses for anyone who wants to learn to write about their experiences. The approach promotes self-discovery, self-recovery and more effective communication. We raise funds to make courses available to those in need of sponsorship and to provide platforms for these life stories to be published. Sharing experiences with a wide readership can help reduce discrimination and promote mutual understanding. Visit the website: www.liferighting.com

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Launch – Mr Bitcoin: How I became a millionaire at 21 by Mpho Dagada (7 June)

It is 2018 and we find ourselves in a world where it is possible and seemingly not uncommon to become a self-made millionaire at a very early age.

Most of the time, the road to riches is a closely guarded secret, until now. Jacana Media presents Mpho Dagada, one such young, self-made millionaire who in his memoir, Mr Bitcoin: How I became a millionaire at 21, shares his story of triumph and failure. He tells his story from the beginning: being brought up by business-minded and accomplished grandparents who planted in him the seeds of what it means to be successful in business.

This book is both motivational and practical, examining the errors and pitfalls that Dagada had to go through in his business pursuits.

These included falling for Ponzi schemes like Kipi and losing his money on more than one occasion.

Through these many lows were lessons of great value which ultimately led to the endless possibilities that Bitcoin presents for those interested in creating wealth through trading cryptocurrencies and running a successful business.
 
Dagada is confident in the viability of Bitcoin and ascertains that ‘we will never understand the money of the future without learning how money came about in the first place. Blockchain and Bitcoin are now pioneering a new online financial world. Cryptocurrencies will replace fiat money in the end, as they are faster, better and more convenient than all the earlier forms of currency.

About the author
Mpho Dagada’s interest in Bitcoin was ignited when he was in his first year at the University of Johannesburg in 2013 after opening his own laundry and cleaning service company. He invested his profits from this company in Bitcoin. He currently owns a logistics company, a chain of fast food restaurants and is in the process of developing the first black-owned cryptocurrency exchange platform.

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Launch: I Remember Nelson Mandela by Vimla Naidoo and Sahm Venter (6 June)

The idea to gather the memories of those who served Madiba into a book came from an understanding that most people in South Africa, and those around the world, knew him as an icon; as a public figure. It was important to me that the stories of those close to him be published so that fifty years from now, even a hundred years from now, when future generations want to know who Nelson Mandela was, they would not only be told the story of the head of state, but they would be able to read the story of a human being with a caring heart and generous soul. – Mrs Graça Machel

I Remember Nelson Mandela is a collection of remembrances from those who worked with, for and beside Mandela. More than one hundred individuals, from household staff to bodyguards and presidential advisors, have offered their memories, which provide warm, poignant and often humorous insights into what it was like behind the scenes with one of the most revered and beloved political figures the world has seen.

‘Nothing is more important than to be loved by your colleagues.’ – Nelson Mandela, 5 August 2008, addressing the staff of the Nelson Mandela Foundation at a private celebration for his 90th birthday.

The collection is the dream-child of Mrs Graça Machel who, some months after Nelson Mandela’s passing on 5 December 2013, met with former members of his staff to thank them for their service. Listening to their stories inspired the creation of this, the perfect gift book, providing readers with a glimpse into the man behind the title.

Sahm Venter is the senior researcher at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg where she has worked since 2006. She previously reported on the last years of the struggle against apartheid for South African and the international media. As a correspondent for the international news agency, The Associated Press, she covered the release from prison of Nelson Mandela, his presidency, as well as various news events on the African continent. In 2013 she and Swati Dlamini-Mandela coedited Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s book 491 Days: Prisoner Number 1323/69.

Vimla Naidoo was a protocol officer in the Office of President Nelson Mandela where she helped to set up events, including receiving ceremonies for visiting heads of state and the opening of parliament. She worked with President Mandela’s Advisory Council for National Orders to design a new set of state honours. She remained in Protocol throughout President Mandela’s term of office and for the first half of President Mbeki’s term. In 2001 she moved to the Nelson Mandela Foundation as a personal assistant to Nelson Mandela and Mrs Graça Machel, to whom she provided personal support and logistics.

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“A compelling memoir that speaks to our soil and society” – Danielle Bowler reviews Sara-Jayne King’s Killing Karoline for the Mail & Guardian

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.

Read Danielle Bowler’s rave review of King’s memoir, as published in the Mail & Guardian:

Shame.

A word that is woven into the fabric of South Africa, stealthily slipping into our everyday language.

See a cute puppy? “Shame.” Tell a friend you had a bad day? “Shame.”

Someone stressing you out? “Ooh shame! Do they even know me!”

This strange, slippery word has, like “sorry”, taken on multiple meanings that are neatly folded into its letters.

“Shame”, we utter casually.

I wonder why.

The word has become a signature of our South African vernacular: dextrous, fluid and multitextured. But it reverberated differently as I read Sara-Jayne King’s remarkable memoir, Killing Karoline. Here, shame sprawls out in multiple directions: touching South African history, family connections, internalised emotions and tangential echoes that reflect my own experience of navigating the world as a coloured person.

My fascination with shame’s dimensions began while reading academic Zimitri Erasmus’s paper, ‘Shame and the Case of the Coloured’. She writes about how the myth of racial purity in strictly defined black and white identities created a fear of “racial mixing”. This came to be known as miscegenation, which, as author JM Coetzee writes, has connotations of “blood, flaw, taint and degeneration”.

There are multiple sites of shame for Erasmus too: “Shame for our origins of slavery, shame for the miscegenation, shame, as colonial racism became instituted, for being black.”

Of the multiple use of the word in South Africa, she writes: “It is no coincidence that the word ‘shame’ has been reduced to an utterance of tenderness, sympathy or empathy so that we would exclaim ‘shame’ on seeing a baby or a beggar, whilst the meaning of disgrace has been excised in common usage.”

Although we can deny and reject this imposed shame, which claims agency over ourselves and our bodies, it marks us in varied and inescapable ways. Reclaiming ourselves is, therefore, a radical act.

Killing Karoline, a novel rooted in such reclamation, unfolds a personal history that cuts the reader to the core. It’s a narrative that is both shocking and subtly unsurprising, given the race politics in our country.

Karoline’s story begins with a crime: a white woman’s affair with a black man during apartheid. As Kris falls pregnant, hoping the baby is her white husband Ken’s child, she remains silent about her transgression. When the baby is born, she is declared white — a box ticked atop a racial hierarchy, a safety net that would serve to keep a family intact and a secret safe — if only for a while.

A few weeks later, however, it becomes clear that the baby is not white and, with this, an apartheid sin morphs into an unthinkable evil. Kris eventually spills the secret and, alongside Ken, they spin a story of sickness, for which the baby requires treatment in London. They take her abroad and give her up for adoption, telling everyone in South Africa that she has died.

They kill Karoline. In another country, she becomes Sara-Jayne. Same, different and forever altered.

There are books that seep into your skin: you root for some characters, despise others and cling to the story as pages turn and words connect with some part of you, of your story or sense of humanity. Killing Karoline is one of these books. With vulnerability, honesty and openness, Sara-Jayne King deftly crafts a personal narrative into a compelling memoir that speaks to our soil and society, and resonates beyond it.

Continue reading Bowler’s review here.

Killing Karoline

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Launch: Things Even González Can’t Fix by Christy Chilimigras (7 June)

Things Even González Can’t Fix is the shockingly brilliant debut memoir of a 24-year-old Greek South African girl, Christy Chilimigras. It is nothing like My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Although there are old women in black plucking stray hairs from their chins, the nuts in the baklava appear by way of a dash of crack cocaine, a sneaky brand of sexual abuse and cereal Tupperwares, packed to the brim with dagga. It is also very funny.
 
Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 07 June 2018
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Rd, Melville, Johannesburg | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Melinda Ferguson
  • RSVP: kate@lovebooks.co.za
     

    Book Details


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