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Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Zapiro’s back. His target? 2017, aka the year of Juju’s reboot, Zille’s tweets, and a certain shebeen in Saxonwold…

No little thorn in the flesh or irritating fly in the ointment, Zapiro just cannot be ignored.

It’s been one helluva year. We’ve held our breath thinking Zuma may resign. We’ve seen Juju re-booted and Zille tweeted out. Racial tensions rise, tempers and fires flare. Still the rich get richer and the poor get Khayelitsha.

We’ve seen Trump’s megalomania, Bell Pottinger’s spin and Pravin’s fightback, cadres captured and Cabinet’s relocation to Saxonwold Shebeen.

GuptaLeaks threaten to drown us and as the flood rises the rodents scatter.

And who better to make sense of this than Zapiro, political analyst, cartoonist and agent provocateur.

He has the ability to knock the air out of us, to rock us back in our seats, to force us bolt upright with a 1000-watt jolt of electrifying shock. He makes us angry, he makes us laugh and he makes us think. He shines a light on the elephant in the room, presents the emperor in all his naked glory. Impossible to brush off, he is determined to provoke a response.

When all around is crumbling, when fake news and zipped lips conceal the truth, Zapiro comes to the rescue. With the dissecting eye of a surgeon, the rapier-like point of his pen exposes flimflam, and reveals with a line what lies behind the action.

Zapiro is Jonathan Shapiro. Born in 1958, he went through architecture at UCT, conscription, activism, detention and a Fulbright scholarship to New York before establishing himself as South Africa’s best-known cartoonist. He has been the editorial cartoonist for the Sunday Times since 1998 and Daily Maverick starting 2017. Previously he was editorial cartoonist for Mail & Guardian and for The Times. He was also editorial cartoonist for Sowetan and Independent Newspapers. He has published 21 best-selling annuals as well as The Mandela Files, VuvuzelaNation (a collection of his sporting cartoons) and DemoCrazy (his cartoon collection on SA’s 20-year trip.)

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Two books to remember Ahmed Kathrada by

Ahmed Kathrada, former political prisoner and anti-apartheid activist, sadly passed away this week on Tuesday 28 March after a brief illness. Kathrada dedicated himself to the struggle and remained politically active until his death. The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, which he founded, continues to work towards promoting ‘the values, rights and principles enshrined in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa’. He will be greatly missed.

Here are two books to remember him by:

A Free MindA Free Mind: Ahmed Kathrada’s Notebook from Robben Island

During his 26 years in jail, Ahmed Kathrada refused to allow the apartheid regime to confine his mind. Despite draconian prison censorship practices and heavily restricted access to the written word, Kathrada discovered a wealth of inspiring writings. A Free Mind presents extracts from poetry, novels, songs, sayings and letters that Kathrada transcribed and treasured as he served his life sentence in South Africa’s notorious Robben Island Maximum Security Prison. It includes quotes from Bertold Brecht, Mahatma Gandhi, Emily Brontë, Karl Marx, Olive Schreiner, Shabbir Banoobhai, Voltaire and many others.

Dear Ahmedbhai, Dear Zuleikhabehn
Dear Ahmedbhai, Dear Zuleikhabehn: The letters of Zuleikha Mayat and Ahhmed Kathrada 1979–1989

Dear Ahmedbhai, Dear Zuleikhabehn is the compilation of the beautiful letters sent between Rivonia trialist and political prisoner Ahmed Kathrada and Zuleikha Mayat, a self-described housewife, during apartheid’s last decade. These letters tell the story – all the more powerful for its ephemeral character – of a developing epistolary friendship between two people to whom history has brought different gains and losses. The collection is rich, not merely in historical content and stylistic interest, but in the experience it offers to the reader of an unfolding conversation, reflecting both the immediate worlds of its authors and a tumultuous period of South African history.

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Nakhane Toure’s Piggy Boy’s Blues to be taught at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee

Nakhane Toure

Piggy Boy's BluesBlackBird Books has announced that Piggy Boy’s Blues by Nakhane Touré will be taught at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, United States.

Piggy Boy’s Blues has been adopted for the spring 2017 course “The Contemporary African Novel”.

The news comes just a week after Touré was longlisted for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature.

Known for his music, Sama award-winning musician Touré has changed tune with the release of his debut novel, Piggy Boy’s Blues. The novel, which has been described as reading fragments of a recurring dream, centres on the disastrous consequences of a man’s return to his Eastern Cape home town of Alice. Touré’s work is poetic with sensuous prose.

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Satanism and family murder – bizarre responses to fear of change

The End of WhitenessNew from Jacana Media, The End of Whiteness: Satanism and Family Murder in South Africa by Nicky Falkof:

The End of Whiteness aims to reveal the pathological, paranoid and bizarre consequences that the looming end of apartheid had on white culture in South Africa, and overall to show that whiteness is a deeply problematic category that needs to be deconstructed and thoughtfully considered.

This book uses contemporary media material to investigate two symptoms of this late apartheid cultural hysteria that appeared throughout the contemporary media and in popular literature during the 1980s and 1990s, showing their relation to white anxieties about social change, the potential loss of privilege and the destabilisation of the country that were imagined to be an inevitable consequence of majority rule.

The “Satanic panic” revolved around the apparent threat posed by a cult of white Satanists that was never proven to exist but was nonetheless repeatedly accused of conspiracy, murder, rape, drug-dealing, cannibalism and bestiality, and blamed for the imminent destruction of white Christian civilisation in South Africa.

During the same period an unusually high number of domestic murder-suicides occurred, with parents killing themselves and their children or other family members by gunshot, fire, poison, gas, even crossbows and drownings. This so-called epidemic of family murder was treated by police, press and social scientists as a plague that specifically affected white Afrikaans families. These double monsters, both fantastic and real, helped to disembowel the clarities of whiteness even as they were born out of threats to it. Deep within its self-regarding modernity and renegotiation of identity, contemporary white South Africa still wears those scars of cultural pathology.

About the author

Nicky Falkof was born and raised in the Johannesburg suburbs during the last years of apartheid. She holds an MA in Critical Theory from the University of Sussex and a PhD from the London Consortium. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

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“Students Have Always Played a Critical Role in the Struggle” – Malaika wa Azania Comments on #FeesMustFall


Memoirs of a Born FreeAfrica is a Country has created a video about the #FeesMustFall movement.

Malaika wa Azania, student and author of Memoirs of a Born Free: Reflections on the Rainbow Nation, is quoted extensively in the video.

She says:

This democratic state has sought to present students as a bunch of hooligans, a bunch of rascals who have got no real, legitimate struggle to wage. We have been backed into a corner. We have got no other option now but to take to the streets and shut down these institutions.

Wa Azania says the student protests are “deeply linked” to other issues that relate to transformation. “The struggle for reduction of fees is not isolated from the struggle for institutional transformation, the struggle for economic transformation in the country,” she says.

According to Wa Azania, the police’s response to the protests is “very reminiscent of apartheid violence”.

There’s nothing more that the government fears than seeing masses on the streets. The government in South Africa only generally begins to act when they see masses on the streets.

During the apartheid era, when students would go and protest for very legitimate issues the government would respond with excessive force. When you see something like that happening in democratic South Africa it breaks my heart because it means that the government of this country has come to a point where in very many ways it’s beginning to shape itself like the apartheid government.

The fact that a minister who can see that there is a serious crisis happening in the country – students are on the streets when they are supposed to be writing exams – can simply, glibly sit back and say ‘there is no crisis’, and in the same breath as he’s saying ‘there is no crisis’ these institutions are calling police on us. It’s the same way apartheid was treating us. They would say ‘black people are not an issue, they are not a crisis’ and then in response would come and bring violence to contain us.

Wa Azania says this “silencing technique” is an apartheid technique, adding: “The government of this country really needs to sit down and ask itself what kind of country is it building when it’s bringing back the same things that we inherited from apartheid and bringing them in a democratic dispensation and using them against innocent, helpless students who are seeking a very legitimate struggle; who are fighting for a just cause.”

On the role students have played in South Africa’s history, Wa Azania says:

Students in South Africa have always played a very critical role. This is historical. I think we must understand that of course with regards to the prevailing material conditions of students taking ownership of this struggle and exercising their own agency, but also understanding that this is a historical issue in South Africa. This country has always been brought to its knees, the unfair treatment that government has meted out on people, has always been brought to its knees by students.

Students have always played a critical role in the Struggle. So we are continuing what has always been a historical pattern.

Watch the video:

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“We are Surely the Ones We Have Been Waiting for” – Panashe Chigumadzi on #FeesMustFall

Sweet MedicineThe launch of Sweet Medicine, the debut novel by Panashe Chigumadzi, has been postponed until further notice, out of respect for the #FeesMustFall protests.

Chigumadzi, a young media executive and 2015 Ruth First Fellow at Wits University, has released a statement clarifying her position.

Read the statement:

Dear friends and family,

The last week has been simultaneously inspiring and heartbreaking.

As a student at Wits University, my voice has gone hoarse in the last few days joining in the #FeesMustFall calls. Many of us in academia theorise about revolution, and here it is unfolding before our eyes as we witness one of the most important uprisings in “post-apartheid” South Africa.

For that reason, I am very proud to be part of this generation of youth. What a time to be alive!

In this time when students are being met with unprecedented police brutality, the Azania 6 and many other students from campuses such as UKZN remain in custody for doing the unthinkable by demanding to end this post-apartheid apartheid society, South Africa cannot carry on with business as usual. Likewise, I cannot in good faith carry on with business as usual.

In solidarity with my fellow students who are brilliant and brave as they agitate for the Uhuru that we were all promised decades ago, I will be postponing the official launch of Sweet Medicine until further notice.

I apologise to those that have been inconvenienced by this. In the words of Wits lecturer Dr Danai Mupotsa who was stopped by students on her way to work on the first day of protests, what a glorious way to be “stopped” and inconvenienced!

We are surely the ones we have been waiting for.

Pamberi ne ruzhingi!
Pamberi ne kubatana!
Pamberi ne Chimurenga!


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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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“We Walk Very Dangerous Ground” – Malaika wa Azania Takes Issue with Ahistorical Ideas of Transformation

Memoirs of a Born FreeMalaika wa Azania, political commentator and author of Memoirs of a Born Free: Reflections on the Rainbow Nation, recently took part in a fascinating debate on Power FM.

The debate centred around a recent article by Maynard Manyowa titled “Economic Freedom: An Obsession With Black The Ignorance of Precedent”, in which he concludes:

South Africa progressed well under Nelson Mandela, under Thabo Mbeki, but faces a very uncertain future today. For those of us who have seen it all before (The precedent), the problems in South Africa, and the desires of The EFF, and some sectors of black community are a painful de ja vu.

It is as if we are in that place again, confronted by the same evils. Blaming the white man for a problem we voted into government, allowing the real culprits to roam free, while simultaneously cheering at the prospect of a bleak future, one that is shaped by racism, hate, irresponsibility, and self-harming economic aspirations.

The lack of prevalent economic empowerment, and indigenization is an injustice which must be addressed now. But have we not learnt enough from the damnation in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, etc.

Have we not learnt from the wonderful example that is Zambia, and Botswana, how we can work together, black, white, or otherwise, to create powerful economies?

Or is it that we are so obsessed with black skin? That we are willing to die from self-inflicted hunger, as long as the leader and perpetrator in chief is black?

Wa Azania takes issue with some aspects of Manyowa’s argument:

“We walk very dangerous ground when we make arguments that are ahistorical,” Wa Azania says. “Especially on issues that have to do with the transformation of the South African economy and the South African society.

“What I mean by this is that we cannot begin to speak about questions of redress, questions of economic or even social transformation in South Africa, without taking into consideration that South Africa is a country with a particular history. A history deeply rooted in the disenfranchisement of black people. A history deeply rooted in constructs that have ensured that black people have remained economically and socially disadvantaged.

“So when we want to seek redress, be it through policy or what have you, the narrative must always, always, always be about ‘how do we ensure that these historical injustices that have subjugated black people over the years are addressed?’ We can’t do that unless we have radical pro-black policies.”

Listen to the debate, in two parts:

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The Psychology of Book Covers: A Change Can Cause Sales to Skyrocket, says Timothy Maurice Webster

Soul to SoleTimothy Maurice Webster – contemporary brand stylist and author of Soul to Sole: Authentic Branding, to Success & Beyond – has asked some important questions about book covers in an article for the Daily Maverick:

“When is the decision to identify with a specific target market by laying bare your own personal identity on a book cover a good strategic move – and when is it limiting? When does consumer bias force a writer to downplay their identity, and when is it wise to challenge the status quo?” he asks.

Webster talks about the precarious “tri-facto relationship” between the cover, the content and the consumer, and weighs the different factors that come into play when consumers consider whether to buy a book. He comes to the conclusion that – unfortunately – there is nothing authors can do but accept that covers will be judged, and work around it.

Read the article to gain some insight into the psychology of book covers:

At a business conference in 2012, where the audience was 95% white, I assumed my usual position after the talk, behind a table with books, eagerly awaiting a queue for purchases where I have the privilege to engage and sign books. There were two stacks of books. Unknown to the audience, both books had the exact same content, but different covers. The cover without my face sold out and the one with me remained untouched, stacked like a pyramid. Initially, after feeling deeply insecure about just how funny I must look, I begin studying the psychology of book covers and realised that by changing the contents of a cover, book sales can skyrocket by 500% in a span of a few days – with literally no additional marketing effort. Conversely, I’ve spoken at conferences where the majority are people of colour and my face sells well – not because I look any better – but because they see something of themselves on the cover.

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