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Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Listen: AmaBookaBooka interview Christa Kuljian

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.

Listen to author Christa Kuljian discuss her Alan Paton award shortlisted book, sharing her thoughts on revisiting science, and repeating Australopithecus Africanus 10 times in this recent AmaBookaBooka interview:


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Watch: Jonathan Ancer on Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson

Jonathan Ancer recently discussed his latest book Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson on

Spy is Ancer’s account of the apartheid ‘super-spy’ Craig Williamson.

Williamson registered at Wits University and joined the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) in 1972. He was elected NUSAS’s vice president and in January 1977, when his career in student politics came to an abrupt end, he fled the country and from Europe continued his anti-apartheid ‘work’.

But Williamson was not the activist his friends and comrades thought he was. In January 1980, Captain Williamson was unmasked as a South African spy. Williamson returned to South Africa and during the turbulent 1980s worked for the foreign section of the South African Police’s notorious Security Branch and South Africa’s ‘super-spy’ transformed into a parcel-bomb assassin.

Through a series of interviews with the many people Williamson interacted with while he was undercover and after his secret identity was eventually exposed, Jonathan Ancer details Williamson’s double life, the stories of a generation of courageous activists, and the book eventually culminates with Ancer interviewing South Africa’s ‘super-spy’ face-to-face.

It deals with crucial issues of justice, reconciliation, forgiveness, betrayal and the consequences of apartheid that South Africans are still grappling with.

Watch the full interview here:



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“I Had to Learn to Close My Ears” – Melinda Ferguson Talks About Her Memoir, Crashed (Video)

CrashedJennifer Sanasie chatted to Melinda Ferguson on News24 recently about her new book, Crashed: How Trashing a Ferrari Saved My Life.

In 2013 Ferguson took a R3.2 million Ferrari California out on a test drive for the day, celebrating 14 years of sobriety. Minutes before returning it she crashed the luxury vehicle – an event that served as a catalyst for a number of life-changing events.

“Later I realised this crash was almost an inevitable thing, that I needed to take stock of my life and what I’d been doing and where I’d been going in my life, and so the crash, I suppose, is symbolic of just a whole lot of stuff gets crashed and then slowly gets rebuilt again,” Ferguson tells Sanasie. The aftermath was quite traumatic, with a lot of rumours and gossip about the reason for it.

“I had to learn to close my ears,” Ferguson says. “I felt very victimised, I must say, by all of the stuff and unable to engage with it.” However, owning what happened and writing about it gave her a sense of peace and closure with this chapter of her life.

Ferguson also chats about the things that were not right before the crash, how she worked through the post-traumatic stress after the accident and why she decided to write a book about the things that transpired afterwards.

Watch the video:

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I Wanted Piggy Boy’s Blues to Glorify the Eastern Cape: Nakhane Toure on 7 Years of Writing (Video)

Piggy Boy's BluesPolity’s Sane Dhlamini recently chatted to Nakhane Touré about his debut novel, Piggy Boy’s Blues.

In the interview Touré, who studied literature at Wits University, speaks about his dream of being an academic: “Initially I actually wanted to be a writer and I wanted to play music on the weekends and be one of those cool lecturers.”

A lack of funding, however, forced Touré to leave university, and this is when the music really started to happen. “I threw myself into the music because I had nothing else to lose.” That was seven years ago, during which time Touré didn’t stop working on Piggy Boy’s Blues.

“Writing literature is very slow, and very lonely,” Touré said about the process and his journey back to the Eastern Cape to finish the book. “I needed to go back to the Eastern Cape to write about it authentically and honestly,” he said. “I wanted the book to be a glorification of that space, because that space has gone through so much.”

Watch the video, in which Touré explains how and why he never stopped writing:

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Raising Superheroes verduidelik hoekom kinders vet word en hoe om dit te voorkom” – Tim Noakes

Raising SuperheroesProfessor Tim Noakes het vroeër vanjaar met Rochélle Human gesels oor sy nuwe kookboek vir kinders, Raising Superheroes.

Raising Superheroes verduidelik hoekom kinders vet word en hoe om dit te voorkom,” het Noakes gesê. “Daar is meer suiker in pureekos as ooit tevore. Verwerkte babakos was die eerste geïndustrialiseerde kos.”

Noakes het verder vertel dat Raising Superheroes nie Banting vir kinders is nie: “Solank jy jou kind nie suiker gee nie, kan hy ’n bietjie koolhidrate inneem.”

Lees die artikel:

Vroeër is babas met “werklike kos” gespeen. Daardie kinders “was gesond, sterk en nie vetsugtig nie”.

“As kinders regte kos eet, sal hulle baie sterker en gesonder – en ons hoop slimmer – grootword, met baie minder gedragsprobleme. Hulle sal nie vetsugtig wees nie en hulle sal hulle nooit oor hul gewig hoef te bekommer nie.”

Luidens uittreksels uit die boek beveel die skrywers aan dat kleuters vet in kos soos sardyne, avokado’s en neutbotter inkry en hoender met die vel en volroomsuiwel eet.

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Watch Nakhane Toure Read an Excerpt from Piggy Boy’s Blues (Plus: Read an Interview)

Piggy Boy's BluesPiggy Boy’s Blues is award-winning musician Nakhane Touré’s debut novel, and he says although he has been working on the book for about seven years the unbelievable reality of having his words in print is still sinking in.

Touré recently read a section from his book for Jameson Indie Channel, and was interviewed by video director Dylan Culhane.

In the interview, Touré speaks about the similarities and differences between writing music and writing novels, and reveals a little bit about the story in Piggy Boy’s Blues

Read the interview:

You only got your first copy of the book last night. After such a long time it must be an amazing feeling holding a tangible record of all that hard work in your hands.

It’s interesting because I’m one of those people who understands their feelings later. So when my album came out, I saw it and I thought: “This is amazing,” but it really only sunk in and I really only understood the magnitude of it like a week or so later. So I’m seeing the book now and reading it and thinking: “Oh my God these are my words, I wrote this!” and I understand it’s really really big. But there hasn’t been this shift in my psyche yet. It’ll probably happen after everything has ended and I go home and I’m all alone.

Watch the video of Touré’s reading:

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An Interview with Nakhane Toure, Musician and Novelist, About Ways and Whys of Working with Words

Piggy Boy's BluesNakhane Touré is a musician who, already having a much coveted SAMA award to his name, has now stepped into the world of literature.

Touré was recently interviewed by Glamour about his debut novel Piggy Boy’s Blues.

In the interview, Touré speaks about the differences between writing songs and writing a novel, how he deals with writer’s block and where he finds inspiration for his writing.

Read the interview:

Your song lyrics seem to be quite personal, is your novel the same?

Nakhane: The novel is different in that these are created characters, and I, like a puppeteer, have given them life, emotions, things to love, things to hate, bad and good habits, etc. But as much as that is true, I wanted the story to be quite intimate, and in that respect, one could say that it is personal.

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Nakhane Toure Chats about Piggy Boy’s Blues: An Exploration of the Spiritual Lives of Black South Africans

Piggy Boy's BluesMail & Guardian‘s Kwanele Sosibo recently spoke to award-winning musician Nakhane Touré about his debut novel, Piggy Boy’s Blues. BlackBird Books publisher Thabiso Mahlape also joined in the conversation, sharing why she was so captivated by his work.

Touré says that the book, which he has been working on for almost seven years, is an exploration of the spiritual lives of black people in South Africa and that he was “inspired by the episodic structure of the Bible, especially Genesis”.

Piggy Boy’s Blues tells the story of one man’s journey from the city to the pastoral town of Alice in the Eastern Cape where he disturbs and troubles the silence and day-to-day practices that his uncle, Ndimphiwe, and the man he lives with, have kept, resulting in a series of tragic events.

“One of the most captivating things about Nakhane is that he is one of those rare all-round artists,” Mahlape says of Touré.

Read the article:

Piggy Boy’s Blues, musician Nakhane Touré’s debut novel, reads like fragments of a recurring dream. Characters flash in and out of the story like apparitions; they daydream to block out deeply scarring violations and the story unfolds in short, sharp, sometimes nonlinear episodes.

Essentially a tragedy centred on the disastrous consequences of a man’s return to his Eastern Cape hometown of Alice, the work is carried by Touré’s poetic, sensuous prose rather than by attention to storytelling mainstays such as a narrative arc.

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The Meltdown of the Nuclear Family – Joanne Hichens Interviews Roger Smith About Sacrifices

SacrificesIncredible JourneyJoanne Hichens, author and curator of the Short Sharp Stories Awards, interviewed Roger Smith recently about his latest book, Sacrifices.

Smith’s work has been translated into eight languages, and, according to Hichens, two are in development as movies in the US. Hichens says Sacrifices is “knotted like a noose that starts to tighten from the very first page”.

The novel tells the story of a wealthy Cape Town couple, whose life is turned inside out when their teenage son commits an act of unspeakable savagery. Smith says he sees the novel as something of a morality tale, in which the South African criminal justice system is “so compromised that it can provide no remedy, so the remedy has to come from elsewhere”.

Read the interview:

And again, intimate crimes in intimate settings–particularly the insular nuclear family imploding –is a theme that you’ve explored in SACRIFICES. Can you comment on this?

When I set out to write SACRIFICES, I made a conscious decision to limit the point of view characters to two: Michael Lane and Louise Solomons. In my previous books, I wrote four or five POV characters per novel, to create quite a broad, sweeping canvas, where the city (and the country) was as much a character as the people were. I wanted SACRIFICES to be a more contained, claustrophobic book. I wanted the reader to be enveloped in the worlds of Michael and Louise. Also, SACRIFICES is, more than any of my earlier books (although Capture gives a hint of where I would go next) a psychological thriller, and the inner lives of Michael and Louise are as important as their actions.

I suppose the meltdown of the nuclear family is a metaphor for South Africa’s troubled society with its corruption, brutality, and loss of moral center. In SACRIFICES I wanted to show how an attractive, privileged, white, liberal, English speaking family like the Laneswho, ironically, have erected walls around their Cape Town mansion to keep the perceived danger, darkness, and evil out) are in fact deeply compromised and corrupt, and how they justify their corruption by saying that, well, everybody else in the bloody country is doing it, there is no law, no justice, so what the hell, why shouldn’t we do it, too? Which, I think, is a typically South African attitude.

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Video: Tim Noakes Chats to Bonang Matheba About Banting While Jonno Proudfoot Cooks No-carb Pasta

Raising SuperheroesProfessor Tim Noakes and Jonno Proudfoot recently joined Bonang Matheba and Danilo Acquisto on the Afternoon Express show to talk about their Banting diet and to share a low-carb, high-fat recipe with the viewers.

The health duo’s new cookbook for children, Raising Superheroes, will soon be distributed by Jacana and is co-authored with paediatric dietitian Bridget Surtees.

Noakes told Matheba that the Banting “eureka moment” came from his own experience of losing weight on a low-carbohydrate diet, while being extremely resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance is a condition where you can’t metabolise carbohydrates adequately, he explained.

In Noakes’ new book, Raising Superheroes, he advocates the use of “real food” or unprocessed food for children. “Real foods are foods that have been alive until very recently,” he said.

Back in the kitchen, Proudfoot showed the viewers how to prepare a No-carb Pasta using shaved Courgette (baby marrow) as an alternative to pasta. “If you can trick the mind, you can trick the body,” he said.

In honour of the health theme of the day, Chef Claire also prepared Gluten-free Lemon Coconut Macaroons.

Watch the video:

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