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Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Why we are losing the battle for our food system, why it matters, and how we can win it back: An Empty Plate by Tracy Ledger

An Empty PlateJacana Media is proud to present An Empty Plate: Why we are losing the battle for our food system, why it matters, and how we can win it back by Tracy Ledger:

Why is it that food prices are so high that millions of South African families go hungry, while the prices paid to farmers for that same food are so low that many cannot stay in business? Why are the people that produce our food – farmworkers – among the most insecure of all? Why do high levels of rural poverty persist while corporate profits in the food sector keep rising? How did a country with a constitutional right to food become a place where one in four children is so malnourished that they are classified as stunted?

An Empty Plate analyses the state of the South African agri-food system. Ledger demonstrates how this system is perpetuating poverty, threatening land reform; entrenching inequality and tearing apart our social fabric. The book asks two crucial questions: how did we get to this point and how might we go about solving the problem.

This is a story of money, of power, of unanticipated consequences, and of personal and social tragedy. But it is also a story of what is possible if we reimagine our society and build a new system on the foundation of solidarity and ethical food citizenship.

About the author

Tracy Ledger is a researcher in the field of economic development, with 25 years of research experience. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University. She is an agri-food activist, believing that a more equitable agri-food system is fundamental to building a more equitable society.

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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, booklounge@gmail.com, 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.

Readers

 

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

 

Readers

 

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

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A lifelong love affair with the natural world: The Big Cat Man: An Autobiography by Jonathan Scott

Jonathan Scott understands the animals he photographs so well – it is as though he can see the world as they do.

- David Attenborough

The Big Cat ManIn The Big Cat Man: An Autobiography, BBC’s Big Cat Diary presenter Jonathan Scott reveals the fascinating – sometimes painful – story of his journey of becoming one of the world’s most respected wildlife presenters, writers and photographers:

He published the book concurrently with Sacred Nature.

From a childhood spent on the family farm in Berkshire to travelling 6 000 miles overland in Africa and starting a career as a wildlife artist and safari guide, Jonathan’s tale is that of a lifelong love affair with the natural world. And a fervent desire to see it nurtured and preserved.

Beautifully illustrated with drawings and photographs by Jonathan and his wife Angie – herself an acclaimed wildlife photographer – this new autobiography is not only a gripping read but a thought-provoking one. It raises uncomfortable questions about the future of wildlife on a continent where the needs of the people sometimes can seem overwhelming. It will bring hope to those who have struggled with their own demons. But most of all, it is an inspiration to those determined to follow their dream, whatever it may be.

You can’t make, buy or fake passion. And when it comes to big cats, Africa and wildlife, Jonathan has passion in buckets. Along with knowledge and a great love.

- Chris Packham

A cracking tale – and crackingly well told, with deftness, compassion and humour. From the man whose name is synonymous with big cats, this is the brutally honest and insightful story of a life lived to the full.

- Mark Carwardine

About the author

Jonathan Scott is the author of 30 books, latterly co-written with his award-winning photographer wife Angela. His early works include The Marsh Lions (co-written with Brian Jackman), The Leopard’s Tale and The Great Migration; collaborations with Angie include Antarctica: Exploring a Fragile Eden, Mara-Serengeti: A Photographer’s Paradise, Stars of Big Cat Diary and immensely popular safari guides to East Africa’s animals and birds. In addition to working on Big Cat Diary and its spin-offs for 12 years, Jonathan has presented many other wildlife programmes for British and American television. He and Angie travel widely through Africa, Asia and Antarctica, hosting safari and photographic holidays, collecting material for their own work and revelling in their shared love of wildlife and wild places.

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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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Ronnie Kasrils’s Alan Paton Award-winning book The Unlikely Secret Agent published in French

nullThe Unlikely Secret Agent

 
Jacana Media is delighted to announce that The Unlikely Secret Agent by Ronnie Kasrils, recipient of the 2011 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award, has just been published in French by Mardaga Publishing.

On hearing the news of the French edition, author Ronnie Kasrils had this to say: “I am particularly delighted that this book about an unsung heroine of South Africa’s national liberation struggle is appearing as a French-language publication.

“The anti-fascist resistance in Europe during World War Two has resonances in this book about a daring young woman who was prepared to sacrifice her freedom to a just cause. I believe French-speaking people of all ages will be inspired by this Scots-born woman who grew up in South Africa and became the first female operative in the clandestine armed struggle under Nelson Mandela’s command.”

Written after the death of his wife in 2009, The Unlikely Secret Agent tells the story of Eleanor Kasrils, one of the few white South African women to engage in armed struggle against the apartheid regime. A story written with humility and a pride that the reader can only share.

Ronnie’s response to Eleanor’s sudden death last year at home in South Africa was to write this extraordinary book at breakneck speed. It is a love story, a historical document of great importance, and a terrific tale of a clandestine success.

- Journalist and writer Victoria Brittain

A poignant and beautiful book.

- James McAuley, Washington Post

This “little” book about an “ordinary” woman with the heart of a lioness confirms the truth that our freedom was not free. From its pages rings out another truth that among the outstanding heroines and heroes of the South African struggle were those who did not set out to perform heroic deeds. These are the heroic combatants for freedom like the Unlikely Secret Agent, Eleanor Kasrils, the subject of this engrossing “little book”, who did the equally “little” things without which victory over the apartheid regime would have been impossible.

- Former President of the Republic of South Africa Thabo Mbeki

 
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Local children’s publisher Bumble Books wins prestigious award at Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Local children's publisher Bumble Books wins prestigious award at Bologna Children's Book Fair
I am AlexThe PossibilitreeThe Rainbow's HeartAnnie Learns to Swim

Mu's Wolf ProblemOom Kallas and the TortoisesTable Mountain's HolidayVumile and the Dragon

 

There’s a certain magic about a beautifully illustrated children’s book, something that can set your child’s imagination soaring and set up a life of reading.

Excitement ran high at the official Bologna Children’s Book Fair awards in Italy earlier this month, when Bumble Books, a small South African independent publisher, won Best Children’s Book Publisher Africa.

This was the second year that Bumble Books, the children’s imprint of Publishing Print Matters, had been nominated.

Winning the award is a huge accolade, and recognises the years of creative vision that Bumble Books owner Robin Stuart-Clark, who hails from Noordhoek in Cape Town, has put into the imprint.

Stuart-Clark’s goal is to publish books that can become a legacy. Bumble Books provides a platform for new South African illustrators and authors to showcase their work internationally, with an emphasis on fun and entertainment. The range offers exquisitely illustrated stories that leap off the page, capturing the imagination of both children and adults.

“This international award not only recognises Bumble Books but more importantly also acknowledges the depth of both the Illustrative and literary talent we have in South Africa,” Stuart-Clark says. “We are world class and we need to think beyond our borders. Our stories can travel, but we’re not using this talent.”

The Bologna Best Children’s Publisher of the Year Prize acknowledges the most significant publishers in Africa, Central and South America, North America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Instituted by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in partnership with the Italian Publishers’ Association, the prize is awarded to publishers that have most distinguished themselves for their creative and publishing excellence over the year, showing originality as well as professional and intellectual skill.

This is not the first time Bumble Books has been recognised at the awards. Table Mountain’s Holiday by Lucy Stuart-Clark was nominated for the 2013 Bologna Children’s Book Fair Illustrator’s Exhibition, and last year the press was nominated for the Best Publisher Africa – one of five publishers nominated and the only one from South Africa. In 2015, The Possibilitree by Tamlyn Young was voted one of two best books by Jay Heale of the Children’s Books Network.

“People are not reading less – ebook sales confirm this – they are just reading differently, that is, on electronic devices. Children reading for pleasure don’t want lectures, they get those at school. They want to be entertained; they have imagination,” Stuart-Clark says.

In 2014, Publishing Print Matters appointed an international rights agent to represent Bumble Books internationally. Sales of language rights to date include Chinese [Simplified Characters], Spanish and Catalan for Annie Learns to Swim by Katrin Coetzer, and Japanese for The Rainbow’s Heart by Richard Latimer. With the Bologna win, the world is most certainly Bumble Books’ oyster.

See the full list of Bumble Books distributed by Jacana Media:

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Sarah Nuttall reviews The Shouting in the Dark: Elleke Boehmer’s most exciting bio-fictional work since her debut

The Shouting in the DarkBy Sarah Nuttall

This book is for me Elleke Boehmer’s most exciting bio-fictional work since her debut novel Screens Against the Sky (1990). If that first book drew its energy from the depiction of an obsessional mother-daughter relationship, this one burns with an intense and destructive father-daughter relationship. Ben Okri calls it “a secret duel to the death between a father and daughter” and it plays out in a vividly historical sense. Boehmer’s narrator, who the reader has much difficulty not thinking of as herself (much like the narrator John in JM Coetzee’s Boyhood) becomes undone by her – in many ways – terrible father. What drives this story is Ella’s hatred of him, her desire to kill him, her wish for his death, her longing to be an orphan altogether.

Boehmer writes her way into the eruptions and emissions of intense emotion in this book, set in Durban in the 1970s, in ways she hasn’t before. That is, she inhabits her character’s affective life to a degree unreached in previous writing. Ella’s disgust at her father, and her derision for what she sees, as a girl, as her mother’s weakness, animates the prose. Her father spews and spills, every night on the verandah, his vitriol, his right wing politics, the pain of his shattering wartime experiences in the Dutch navy during World War II, his grief for the woman he in fact loved, her mother’s dead sister. Boehmer needed to find a prose form that could enter a highly charged and unrestrained emotional space, and she has done it brilliantly, in a highly crafted way.

If Coetzee’s Boyhood is, as with his other fictional and biofictional works, written with deep, if very restrained, emotion, brilliant verbal economies and narrative taughtness, Boehmer’s The Shouting in the Dark taps into a more expressive turn, which mirrors and mines the affective charge of a South African cultural and public life now avowedly post-TRC and shaped by new orders of private and public feeling, force and anger.

These are extracts from a longer piece that Sarah Nuttall is writing about Boehmers The Shouting in the Dark.

 
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A novel that rips a wormhole in the rainbow nation: Permanent Removal by Alan Cowell

Alan Cowell’s high-speed thriller rips a wormhole in the rainbow nation and throws us back to a time when right and wrong were fixed in blood and love came off second best.

- Charlotte Bauer

Permanent RemovalPermanent Removal is a beautifully written political thriller focusing on the nature of justice, truth, betrayal, socio-political and ethical quandaries, complicity and moral agency.

The novel introduces readers to a cast of players whose destinies intertwine in a particularly gruesome murder.

The novel is set in apartheid South Africa and the start of the Rainbow Nation. South African security forces set up a roadblock to intercept a car near the city of Port Elizabeth. Two of the four anti-apartheid activists in the car were secretly targeted for assassination. The police abducted the four and murdered them in cold blood. Their burnt bodies were found later near the Port Elizabeth suburb of Bluewater Bay. These murders are one of apartheid’s murkiest episodes.

On the day of the funeral, President PW Botha declared a State of Emergency. It was the beginning of the end.

They will use the flashing patrol light to force the sky-blue Honda to pull over – an old trick, but it often worked. They will manacle their captives and switch license plates. They will drive the four men back toward the dunes. In the first instance, there will be knives and bludgeons. Then gasoline to incinerate the bodies and the Honda. Dirty work, but someone had to do it.

Works such as Jacob Dlamini’s penetrating and discursive Askari and the recent publication on Eugene de Kock as state sanctioned perpetrator of various evils will be complemented in no small measure by this intriguing fictionalised exploration of political executions and culpability/loss during the apartheid heyday.

About the author

Alan S Cowell is an award-winning New York Times journalist. He was assigned to Johannesburg in the mid-1980s and was awarded the prestigious George Polk Award for courageous reporting. The government of the day ordered him to leave in early 1987 and he was not allowed to return until the early 1990s. Since then he has been a regular visitor, most recently covering the Oscar Pistorius trial and anchoring coverage of the death of President Mandela.

 
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Gerald Kraak Award and Anthology – Call for publishing partners

 
From Jacana:

The Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF) and Jacana Media are thrilled to announce the establishment of the annual Gerald Kraak Award and Anthology, made possible in partnership with The Other Foundation and through the generous funding of Atlantic Philanthropies, a limited life foundation.

 


 
Created in honour of the late activist Gerald Kraak’s extraordinary legacy of supporting human rights, this award will advance his contribution to building a South Africa that is safe and welcoming to all. The unique and vital anthology will feature English language writing and photography from and about Africa. Exceptional works which explore, interrogate and celebrate the topics of gender, sexuality and human rights will be shortlisted, and given a voice through publication.

Gerald Kraak (1956-2014) was a passionate champion of social justice, an anti-apartheid activist and the head of the Atlantic Philanthropies’ Reconciliation and Human Rights Programme in South Africa. He authored two books, including the European Union Literary Award-winning exploration of South African politics, Ice in the Lungs (Jacana, 2005), and directed a documentary on gay conscripts in the apartheid army. He will be remembered for being kind and generous, delightfully irreverent and deeply committed to realising an equal and just society for all.

Rather than general discussions of these subjects, pieces which engage with gender and sexuality in ways that promote new understandings of and insights into human rights on our continent will be sought. A cash prize is awarded to the author of the winning piece.

Gender, sexuality and human rights are under threat across Africa. The more they are threatened, the more important it is for us to help share ideas which promote equal rights for all. Because the contributions will be received from Africa, it is essential for them to be spread throughout Africa. We hope that brave, like-minded publishers will join us in this endeavour.

We want to make the publishing process as simple and affordable as possible. Our idea would be to supply committed publishers based in countries across Africa with print-ready files of the anthology in early 2017, to enable them to publish and sell the book in their country of operation. There would be no production costs or content creation responsibilities to be borne by them.

We would want involvement from all in the naming of the award and anthology and call for submissions in February 2016.

If you as a publisher share these aims, we’d love you to talk to us and tell us more about yourselves.

Please email klara@jacana.co.za by 10 February, 2016 to express your interest.

 
About The Jacana Literary Foundation

The Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF) is a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to promote and foster writing excellence from South and southern Africa through a number of initiatives. By securing funding for key projects, the JLF aims to publish literature that might not otherwise see publication for purely commercial reasons.

This allows the JLF’s publishing partner, Jacana Media, to produce literature which supports the concept of bibliodiversity. We believe that it is through the reading and writing of local creative works that the truths of our lives are best told.

About The Other Foundation

The Other Foundation is an African Trust that gathers support for those who are working to protect and advance the rights, wellbeing and social inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities – and gives support in a smart way that helps groups to work better for lasting change. To learn more, please visit: www.theotherfoundation.org


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