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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Zapiro launches his new book Dead President Walking at The Market Theatre

Dead President Walking

Jonathan Shapiro, the cartoonist popularly known as Zapiro, launched his new book, Dead President Walking, at the John Kani Theatre at the Market Theatre in Newtown, Johannesburg recently.


The book could have been titled “Buy the Beloved Country” in reference to Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country and the alleged Gupta influence on national issues, Shapiro said.

But because the state capture report had been the biggest story of the year, with potential to ultimately topple Jacob Zuma, Shapiro had decided to focus on the president instead. And while the African National Congress (ANC) at times criticised itself, Shapiro said the party finds it difficult to deal with ridicule and differing opinions.

Shapiro produced a few giggles from the audience when he presented his most provocative cartoons, which he accompanied with sometimes cutting commentary.

Former president Thabo Mbeki was “Mr Paranoid”. His successor, Zuma, “Mr Complete Idiot”. University activist, Chumani Maxwele, “an interesting guy, but a bit psychotic”. Hlaudi Motsoeneng, now head of Corporate Affairs at the SABC “thinks he’s God”.


Another public figure to have been subjected to Shapiro’s ridicule is Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. While the pair have sorted out their differences, Shapiro believes Dikgang Moseneke, the former Deputy Chief Justice, would have made a better Chief Justice.

Asked whether he didn’t find his work hurtful to targets, invading their privacy, Shapiro said that because they are public figures, “I absolutely don’t care.”


Zuma has sued Shapiro in the past, but Shapiro stands by work – no matter how offensive. He did however single out a cartoon that “brought him grief”. The cartoon depicted Shaun Abrahams as a monkey and Zuma an organ grinder.

Black people had been offended and called him racist, he said. But people who subscribed to this view had selective memory, Shapiro insists, as his work has depicted and ridiculed those who stepped out of line regardless of race.


“The real racists are out there,” he said, adding that it was unfair to be compared to Penny Sparrow, a former estate agent who came under fire for describing black people as monkeys earlier in the year.

Themba Siwela, cartoonist with the Citizen newspaper, found nothing wrong with the cartoon. But Shapiro could have looked at the “timing” before publishing, Siwela believes.

Shapiro said cartoonists have an important role to play in any democracy, and that South Africa is one of the countries in the world that has made an impact with its cartoons.

“We put a lot of pressure on someone who is stepping out of line.”


Elections produce rich material for cartoonists, Shapiro said: “Local government elections are hot stuff.”

In one “hot” cartoon, Shapiro shows Motsoeneng approving good news footage and ignoring violent protests. But Shapiro condemns destructive protests, and believes it is counterproductive to burn things.

On last year’s statue demolitions, Shapiro said the statues had no right to be in prominent sites: “Why the hell should they be in our urban spaces?”


Zapiro also revealed his naughty side – a side his editors and lawyers have to put up with when dealing with him. “There’s a certain adrenaline fighting editors and lawyers,” he grinned.

Deadlines were a pain, he said, commenting that sometimes his cartoons would be late or just in time for publication.

Dead President Walking is Zuma’s 21st annual; “A remarkable feat for anyone to achieve,” Jacana, his publisher, said.

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Join Christa Kuljian and Ciraj Rassool at the launch of Darwin’s Hunch at The Book Lounge

Invitation to the launch of Darwin's Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins

Darwin's Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human OriginsJacana Media and The Book Lounge invite you to the launch of Darwin’s Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins by Christa Kuljian.

Ian Tattersall, Curator emeritus, American Museum of Natural History, said of the book: “With its unsparing wealth of personal and historical detail, there’s nothing else like Darwin’s Hunch available.”

Kuljian will be in conversation with professor, historian and author Ciraj Rassool.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 29 November 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge
    71 Roeland St
    Cape Town | Map
  • Discussant: Ciraj Rassool
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge,, 021 462 2425

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‘We are all Africans’ – Christa Kuljian launches Darwin’s Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins

Ben Williams and Christa Kuljian


Darwin's HunchWits researcher Christa Kuljian was at the Sandton Library recently to launch her new book: Darwin’s Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins.

The book pays homage to the human evolution theorist Charles Darwin and other naturalists who came after him, such as Raymond Dart, an Australian, and Philip Tobias, an acclaimed South African anthropologist. Tobias was Dart’s colleague and successor at Wits University.

“There’s a very rich history in this country,” Kuljian said.



Dart’s work had gone a long way in convincing the western world that humans had their origins in Africa, not Europe or Asia. But with it, incorrect assumptions travelled back to the west. The Killer Ape Theory was one such theory. This theory, now disproved, proposed aggression and anger also had a hand in moving the evolution of humans forward.

In the 1980s, the thinking favoured by white supremacists was that different racial groups had evolved “separately” and at different paces.

The work done by Tobias concluded that race was “a superficial concept”.

Said Tobias: “The term ‘race’ … is heavily charged emotionally and politically and full of unsound and even dangerous meanings. It is in the name of race that millions of people have been murdered and millions of others are being held in degradation. That is why you cannot afford to remain ignorant about race.

“We are all Africans,” he believed.

White supremacism allowed for the exploitation of vulnerable racial groups that were treated as “specimens”, not humans, Kuljian said.

Killing Bushmen merely for research purposes are some disturbing incidents Kuljian records in Darwin’s Hunch. Laws outlawing such atrocities had to be passed, Kuljian said.

The crowd

When asked what had been the most shocking behaviour of scientists in their quest for knowledge and their experiments, Kuljian said: “I don’t know if I can tell you that.”

The details were in the book, she said.

Darwin’s Hunch is Kuljian’s second book, her first being Sanctuary: How an Inner-city Church Spilled onto a Sidewalk, published in 2013. In writing Sanctuary, Kuljian said she had “spent a lot of time in the Joburg CBD writing about current events”, but with Darwin’s Hunch, the book took her into the archives, dealing with sometimes shocking stories of people who “weren’t alive any longer”.

At the end of the question and answer session, Jacana Media, the publishers of the book, offered a prize giveaway for a trip to Maropeng.

Christa KuljianChrista Kuljian




Lungile Sojini (@success_mail) tweeted live from the launch:

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Don’t miss the launch of the new Roberts Bird Guide and art exhibition

Invitation to the new Roberts Bird Guide

Roberts Bird Guide: 2nd EditionJacana Media and the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund invite you to the launch of the new edition of the Roberts Bird Guide and a viewing of the original artwork.

The guide, authored by Hugh Chittenden, Greg Davies and Ingrid Weiersbye, is an essential addition to any birder’s library.

Light refreshments will be served.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 30 November 2016
  • 6 PM: Viewing of the artwork
  • 6:30 PM: Welcome by Mark D Anderson CEO of BirdLife South Africa
  • 6:35 PM: Brief overview of Roberts Bird Guide and artwork by Ingrid Weiersbye, artist and trustee of the JVBBF.
  • Venue: BirdLife South Africa, Isdell House
    17 Hume Road
    Dunkeld West
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Guest Speakers: Mark D Anderson and Ingrid Weiersbye
  • Refreshments: Refreshments will be served
  • RSVP:

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Don’t miss the launch of The Yoga Kitchen: 100 Easy Superfood Recipes by Marlien Wright at Kalk Bay Books

Invitation to the launch of The Yoga Kitchen

The Yoga KitchenKalk Bay Books and Jacana Media invite you to the launch of The Yoga Kitchen: 100 Easy Superfood Recipes by Marlien Wright.

The event will take place on Wednesday, 9 November, at Kalk Bay Books.

Wright will be in conversation with journalist Karena du Plessis.

See you there!

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Don’t miss the launch of Mzansi Zen by Antony Osler at Kalk Bay Books

Invitation to the launch of Mzansi Zen

Mzansi ZenJoin Jacana Media and Kalk Bay Books for some Mzansi Zen with Antony Osler.

What are we to make of this world – and of our country? Of this place where beauty and and heartache keeps us so off balance? How do we live in this wash of brilliance and disappointment, of courage, cowardice and cynicism?

Mzansi Zen is a tapestry of stories, poems, pictures and people that inspires us to take up life with both hands, and calls us into an intimacy that is already beneath our feet.

Osler is the author of Zen Dust and Stoep Zen. He is a former Zen monk and human rights advocate, and lives with his family on a farm in the Karoo region of South Africa.

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 2 November 2016
  • Time: 6 for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Kalk Bay Books
    124 Main Rd
    Kalk Bay
    Cape Town | Map
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Kalk Bay Books,, 021 788 2266

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Don’t miss the launch of Darwin’s Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins by Christa Kuljian

Invitation to the launch of Darwin's Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins


Darwin's Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human OriginsJacana Media, WiSER and the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Paleosciences invite you to the launch of Darwin’s Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins by Christa Kuljian.

The event will take place at Wednesday, 2 November at 6 PM.

See you there!

About the book:

In 1871, Darwin predicted that humans evolved in Africa. European scientists thought his claim astonishing and it took the better part of a century for Darwin to be proven correct. From Raymond Dart’s description of the Taung Child Skull in 1925 to Lee Berger’s announcement of Homo Naledi in 2015, South Africa has been the site of fossil discoveries that have led us to explore our understanding of human evolution.

Darwin’s Hunch reviews how the search for human origins has been shaped by a changing social and political context. The book engages with the concept of race, from the race typology of the 1920s and ’30s to the post-World War II concern with race, to the impact of apartheid and its demise. The book explores the scientific racism that often placed people in a hierarchy of race and treated them as objects to be measured.

In 1987, the publication of “Mitochondrial DNA and Human Evolution” suggested that all living humans could trace their ancestry back to an African woman 200,000 years ago. Again, many scientists and the general public in the West were slow to accept such a claim.

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The shameful legacy of gold mining: Lucas Ledwaba and Leon Sadiki’s Broke and Broken launched at Constitution Hill

Broke and BrokenVeteran journalist Lucas Ledwaba and photojournalist Leon Sadiki were at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg recently to launch their new book, Broke and Broken: The Shameful Legacy of Gold Mining in South Africa.

Broke and Broken, a BlackBird Books publication, looks at the history and present lives of miners incapacitated by years of hard labour, dangerous conditions and silica dust-induced illnesses. The book also focuses on the families of the miners who have passed on.




Ledwaba said the book was important in a country whose economy is built on the back of mining.

Founded in 1886, and in the country’s richest province, Johannesburg owes its existence both to the men who discovered gold and those employed to dig for it. Broke and Broken tells the story of the unknown, the uncelebrated and the unglorified miners from recent history.

“We wanted to put faces to the voices,” Sadiki said.

Lucas Ledwaba


The book links Johannesburg to places such as Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape, which is a South African economic hub while being located in one of its poorest provinces. A system to keep people in the Eastern Cape impoverished was the only way to maintain a steady army of miners coming to work in the mines in Johannesburg, Ledwaba said. “Successive laws were passed to take South Africans from their land to come work in the goldmines,” he added.

With profit at the top of the mining companies’ minds, miners’ basic needs were neglected. And as soon as their health deteriorated, the miners were served with “waya waya” or “hamba khaya” letters – letters which effectively terminated their services.



A bid to get compensation for the families of all miners who have worked in the mines since 1965 has pitted the lawyers of the miners and the mining companies in court cases in Johannesburg and London.

Broke and Broken is the second book by Ledwaba and Sadiki, following their collaboration on We Are Going to Kill Each Other Today: The Story of Marikana.

Lucas Ledwaba and Leon Sadiki (rear)


Lugile Sojini (@success_mail) tweeted live from the event:

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Panashe Chigumadzi to present the next Jacana Media Masterclass for aspiring writers

Panashe Chigumadzi presents the next Jacana Media Masterclass for aspiring writers


Sweet MedicineJacana Media is running a series of Masterclasses for aspiring writers in 2016 – the next one will be hosted by Panashe Chigumadzi.

All Masterclasses will be held on a Thursday at the Jacana offices in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. The cost of the class includes a copy of the author’s latest book.

Chigumadzi is the author of Sweet Medicine.

This is not to be missed!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 28 July 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Jacana Media
    10 Orange Street
    Auckland Park
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Guest: Panashe Chigumadzi
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • Cover charge: R60 for students, R100 for everyone else (each delegate will receive a copy of Sweet Medicine)
  • RSVP: Takalani Lubengo, Jacana Media,, 011 628 3200

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Join Sam Cowen for the launch of From Whiskey to Water with Melinda Ferguson at Love Books

Invitation to the launch of From Whiskey to Water

From Whiskey to WaterJacana Media and Love Books invite you to the launch of From Whiskey to Water, the no-holds-barred memoir by beloved radio talk show host Sam Cowen.

Cowen will be in conversation with Crashed author Melinda Ferguson on Thursday, 7 July, at Love Books in Melville. The launch will start at 5:30 for 6 PM.

From Whiskey to Water tells the story of Cowen’s struggle with her addiction to whiskey, food and finally to a passion that saved her life – marathon swimming.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 7 July 2016
  • Time: 5:30 for 6 PM
  • Venue: Love Books
    The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre
    53 Rustenburg Road
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Interviewer: Melinda Ferguson
  • RSVP: Takalani,, 011 628 3200

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