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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Launch: Everyone is Present by Terry Kurgan (14 November)

In this book, Kurgan begins with a family snapshot made by her Polish grandfather in 1939 on the eve of the war. Presenting this evocative image as a repository of multiple histories – public, private, domestic, familial and generational – she sets off on a series of meditations on photography that give us startling insights into how photographs work: what they conceal, how they mislead, what provocations they contain.

Terry will be in discussion with Professor Gerrit Olivier (Wits School of Arts).

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 14 November 2018
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Rd, Melville | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Gerrit Olivier
  • RSVP: kate@lovebooks.co.za
     

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Launch: Confronting Apartheid by John Dugard (6 November)

South Africa achieved notoriety for its apartheid policies and practices both in the country and in Namibia.

Today Israel stands accused of applying apartheid in the Palestinian territories it has occupied since 1967. Confronting Apartheid examines the regimes of these three societies from the perspective of the author’s experiences as a human rights lawyer in South Africa and Namibia and as a UN human rights envoy in occupied Palestine.

Most personal histories of apartheid in Southern Africa tell the story of the armed struggle.

This book is about opposition to apartheid within the law and through the law.

The successes and failures of civil society and lawyers in this endeavour are described in the context of the discriminatory and oppressive regime of apartheid.

The author’s own experiences in Namibia and South Africa serve to illustrate the injustices of the regime and the avenues left to lawyers to advance human rights within the law. The end of apartheid and the transition to democracy are also described through the experiences of the author.

The book concludes with an account of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank and the author’s work as human rights investigator and reporter for the United Nations.

This involves the examination of issues such as the construction of Jewish settlements, the demolition of Palestinian homes, the restrictions on freedom of movement and the attacks on the life and liberty of Palestinians which the author argues constitute an oppressive regime falling within the definition of apartheid under international law.

A separate chapter is devoted to the situation in Gaza which was closely monitored by the author for nearly a decade.

Namibia, South Africa and Palestine are dealt with separately with introductions designed to ensure that the reader is provided with the necessary historical, political and legal background material.

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Launch: Beaten but not Broken by Vanessa Govender (12 September)

At the height of her journalism career, more than one million households across the country knew her name and her face. Her reportage on human suffering and triumph captivated viewers, and with it Vanessa Govender shot to fame as one of the first female Indian television news reporters in South Africa.

Always chasing the human angle of any news story, Govender made a name for herself by highlighting stories that included the grief of a mother clutching a packet filled with the fragments of the broken bones of her children after they’d been hacked to death by their own father, and another story where she celebrated the feisty spirit of a little girl who was dying of old age, while holding onto dreams that would never be realised. Yet Govender, a champion for society’s downtrodden, was hiding a shocking story of her own. In Beaten But Not Broken, she finally opens up about her deepest secret – one that so nearly ended her career in broadcast journalism before it had barely kicked off.

She was a rookie reporter at the SABC in 1999. He was a popular radio disc jockey, the darling of the SABC’s Lotus FM, a radio station catering to nearly half a million Indian people across South Africa. They were the perfect pair, or so it seemed. And if anyone suspected the nature of the abusive relationship, Govender says, she doesn’t believe they knew the full extent of the horror that the popular DJ was inflicting on this intrepid journalist. The bruising punches, the cracking slaps, and the relentless episodes filled with beatings, kicking and strangling were as ferocious as the emotional and verbal abuse he hurled at her. No one would know the brutal and graphic details of Govender’s story … until now.

In Beaten But Not Broken, this Indian woman does the unthinkable, maybe even the unforgiveable, in breaking the ranks of a close-knit conservative community to speak out about her five-year-long hell in this abusive relationship. Her story also lays bare her heart-breaking experiences as a victim of childhood bullying and being ostracised by some in her community for being a dark-skinned Indian girl. Govender tells a graphic story of extreme abuse, living with the pain, and ultimately of how she was saved by her own relentless fighting spirit to find purpose and love. This is a story of possibilities and hope; it is a story of a true survivor.

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Book signing: Mutts by Emma O’Brien (8 September)

Mutts is a book about rescue dogs and their heartwarming stories.

Full of character, mischief and second chances, this book will have you howling with laughter and reaching for the tissues. Featuring portraits by award-winning photographer Emma O’ Brien, Mutts will complement every dog lover’s coffee table. Many of the dogs that feature in the Mutts project were deposited at shelters because their owners didn’t want them anymore, some were abused before being rescued and some found themselves there by accident of birth.

All of them are at the mercy of someone seeing them and choosing to adopt them when there are not enough homes to go around. The book proceeds will all go to CLAW and Sandton SPCA, but the publication of Mutts is not just about raising funds, it is also to raise awareness about the number of great dogs that sit in shelters, and to encourage people to adopt.

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Launch: These Bones Will Rise Again by Panashe Chigumadzi (17 August)

A timeous book, with Zimbabwe’s elections taking place in July 2018, These Bones Will Rise Again responds to the November 2017 ousting of Robert Mugabe, exploring events leading up to the ‘coup not coup’ that brought his 37-year rule to an end.

This long-form essay brings together bold reportage, memoir and critical analysis to radically reframe the political and cultural history of the country, recognising the role of women, workers and urban movements in its liberation struggle.

In a searing account, These Bones Will Rise Again explores the heady post-independence days of the 80s, the economic downturn of the 90s, through to the effects of the fast-track land reform policies at the end of the century.

Out of Zimbabwe’s official versions of history, Chigumadzi wrests a complex and personal history of the past and present through intercession with two ancestral spirits – anti-colonial heroine Mbuya Nehanda, the founding ancestor of Zimbabwe’s revolution, and her own beloved grandmother, who passed shortly before the de facto coup.

This is an inspiring work exploring loss, recovery and memory that reminds us of the universal and timeless human impulse to freedom, a shared sense of belonging and the will to hope.

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Launch: Things We Don’t Talk About. Ever. by Desiree-Anne Martin (7 August)

In 1980s apartheid Cape Town, five-year-old Desiree-Anne is grappling with how she’s going to turn her tar baby doll’s skin into sweet, soft lily-white.

What she has learnt is that Whites are better than ‘Slamse’ and much better than ‘Kaffirs’.

She doesn’t know how to force her father to stop drinking or gambling or make her mother love her or get the boys and men to stop touching her in secret.

She learns how to soothe the pain: through secret masturbation and lying. She also gives her life and heart to Jesus every summer at Scripture Union camps.

As she grows up, she begins to understand the rules of living in her depressed family as well as in her fractured community: We Don’t Talk About It. Ever. In her teens, laden with the awkwardness of bushy, unruly hair, braces, and a body shorter and rounder than a Womble – and now firmly planted in a ‘White School’, Desiree-Anne is forced to confront her ‘Coloured identity crisis’.

She turns to self-harm, disordered eating, the thrill of petty theft and escapism through books and acting. Although she wins a place to study drama at UCT, sensing her parents cannot afford the tuition, she opts to go to the UK where she gets lost in bars, clubs and pills.

On her return to South Africa she embraces the “free love” Ecstasy trance club scene but when she meets Darren, a heroin addict, she turns to needles. Her search for love and acceptance descends into a self-destructive spiral as an intravenous smack addict.

This is a harrowing memoir on the darkness of addiction, but it is also a touching and sometimes humorous account of a little-girl-turned-woman’s deep need and reckless pursuit for love.

When Desiree-Anne finally finds recovery years later, she uncovers her real voice to talk and write about things that were previously left unspoken.
 

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Launch: When Morning Comes by Arushi Raina (31 July)

It’s 1976 in South Africa.

Written from the points of view of four young people living in Johannesburg and its black township, Soweto – Zanele, a black female student organiser, Mina, of South Asian background working at her father’s shop, Jack, an Oxford-bound white student, and Thabo, a tsotsi – this book explores the roots of the Soweto Uprising and the edifice of apartheid in a South Africa about to explode.

In the black township of Soweto, Zanele, who also works as a nightclub singer, is plotting against the apartheid government. The police can’t know. Her mother and sister can’t know. No one can know.

On the affluent white side of town, Jack Craven plans to spend the last days of his break before university burning miles on his beat-up Mustang, and crashing other people’s parties.

Their chance meeting changes everything.

Already a chain of events are in motion: a failed plot, a murdered teacher, a powerful police agent with a vendetta, and a secret network of students across the township. The students will rise. And there will be violence when morning comes.

Introducing readers to a remarkable young literary talent, When Morning Comes offers an impeccably researched and vivid snapshot of South African society on the eve of the uprising that changed it forever.

Arushi Raina grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. So far, she has also lived in Egypt, Nigeria, India, the US, UK and, most recently, Canada. She likes intricate plots, flawed characters, chases, escapes, and sentences that just make you stop and wonder. Besides writing, Arushi enjoys travelling, arguments and long car rides. As a day job, Arushi works as a consultant. One day she’ll explain what that means.

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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: 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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