What does it take to be a flippen brilliant South African? Simple: sheer brilliance and a good story. So, whether naughty or noble, crazy or controversial, here are 50 of the most talented, successful, inspirational, intriguing, fascinating Saffers to have walked the planet…
Of course, there are the great statesmen (Mandela, Luthuli, Smuts), the landmark achievers (Charlize Theron, Chris Barnard) and the incredible talents (Miriam Makeba, Irma Stern), but the lesser-knowns will also make a case: such as Ntshingwayo Khoza, the conqueror at Isandlwana; Ampie Roux, the atom-bomb creator; Ryan Sandes, the world’s best trail runner…As will the honorary inclusions (Churchill, Rodriguez, Gandhi) and the previously scorned (Mbeki, Shaka). But how exactly does Winnie Madikizela-Mandela qualify? From space adventurers (Mark Shuttleworth) and fighter pilots (Sailor Malan) to entrepreneurs (Elon Musk) and environmentalists (Ian Player), this is a raucous celebration of the country we call home, and the perfect partner to 50 People Who Stuffed Up South Africa – proving that you just can’t have the bad without the good…
About the Contributors
Alexander Parker is a freelance journalist and writer, and a history buff. He is car editor of Business Day and author of 25 Cars To Drive Before You Die as well as the best-selling 50 People Who Stuffed Up South Africa.
Zapiro is widely regarded as South Africa’s foremost political cartoonist. His popular cartoons appear regularly in various publications and his annual collections invariably top the best-seller lists.
The inspiring story of a South African troubadour who lost his voice and then set out on an unbelievable journey to find it.
Many of us set out on our life journeys following plans, goals and directions that begin in our early years and mostly follow our initial trajectory. Sometimes an impulsive decision, an accident, incident or serendipitous meeting can change the direction of these journeys absolutely.
Roger Lucey’s life journey was changed radically by events that he only found out about a decade and a half after they had happened. By that time there was no turning back, no returning to the original plan.
Roger Lucey was and is a troubadour, a singer, songwriter and musician whose primary mandate is to reflect, through song, the world he lives in to anyone who cares to listen. In the late ’70s the South Africa that Lucey reflected was a cruel and violent place and his songs quickly drew the unwanted attention of the State and security police. A covert operation made sure that Lucey’s music career was severely curtailed and this in when the troubadour took to other directions in search of a livelihood.
Back in From the Anger tells the story of a once promising young musician who became a barman, roadie, sound technician, news cameraman and many other things as he waded through life always trying to find the voice that he had lost.
It is a story that at times stretches the imagination, often reminding us of the hard road this country has travelled, but it is always told with humanity and humour that keeps it engrossing.
Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe believes the Mangaung conference represents a tipping point for the ruling party, the ANC, says Sam Mkokeli. Motlanthe also commented on the youth of today, saying that there is no space for sentimentality in this generation:
DEPUTY President Kgalema Motlanthe says the Mangaung conference represents a tipping point for the African National Congress (ANC), which needs to restore public confidence in its ability to lead the country out of a rut and formulate good policies.
In a transcript of an interview published by the Financial Times on Monday, Mr Motlanthe warns that the party needs to get its house in order and come up with policies that work for South Africa.
Award-winning science columnist and author of Searching African Skies, Sarah Wild, was recently invited by the Department of Science and Technology to visit the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) site, called MeerKAT, in Carnarvon. President Jacob Zuma also attended and Wild reports that he stated that science is the way to beat service delivery and housing problems in South Africa:
THE world would not be as advanced as it is today without science, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.
Mr Zuma on Tuesday visited the MeerKAT site, his first visit to the site since it was decided that South Africa and Australia would share the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
The estimated R2bn MeerKAT is a South African project, funded by South Africans, and will form part of the giant radio telescope.
Jacana Media and Stellenbosch University’s Postgraduate and International Office are delighted to invite you to the Popular Science Talk and book signing of Searching African Skies by Sarah Wild.
Join Wild on 28 September as she discusses the SKA (Square Kilometre Array) and how it will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of outer space. Copies of Searching African Skies will be on sale.
Dear Edward: Family Footprints is a personal journey into the family archives of photographer Paul Weinberg. As a child his sorties into an old black trunk that the family had at home where he encountered stamps, letters, photographs and most importantly postcards, excited his imagination to a world far beyond the borders of South Africa and the African continent. They became a collection of connections to his grandparents, to their ‘roots’ in eastern Europe and his own.
The book explores his past as he retraces his family footprints in South Africa. It takes him to far-ﬂung small towns in the interior of South Africa where the family eventually found a niche for themselves in the hotel trade. In the form of postcards to his great grandfather, Edward, it is on one hand a visual narrative of this journey and on another a multi-layered travel book as he pieces the jigsaw of his family’s footprints together. A sub-theme of the book is a story of the ‘old hotel’ which was at one point so central and dynamic in the lives of many of these small towns. Weinberg revisits these hotels and explores their whereabouts, and their evolution.
Weaving history, historiographies, memoir and archive into a personal pilgrimage, this book oﬀers fresh insights and perspectives on a family who made this country their ‘adopted home’. Through the metaphor of the postcard this book sets up a dialogue between the author, his great grandfather, the past and the present, and asks important questions about who writes history, and who is left out.
About the author
Paul Weinberg is a South African born photographer with a strong commitment to the land, environment and its people.
If you could send a letter to yourself aged 16½, what would you say in it?
From Me To Me: Letters to my 16½-year-old-self is a collection of just such letters written by some of South Africa’s best-loved and ordinary personalities to their younger selves and published with photographs of them as teenagers.
From Me To Me is for the teenager wondering what life is all about, someone looking back on their youth, or seeking unpretentious wisdom, or just a chance to meet some of your favourite personalities, before the fame.
Excerpts from some of the letters
“Make sure you have fun, no matter what you do. And, regardless of what your friends may tell you, hard work can be fun, too.” – Alan Knott-Craig
“You are still mourning the untimely passing of your mother and brother. You curse God and wonder why such unrelenting calamity has befallen you.” – Bob Mabena
“You love your dad, but I have to ask whether you’ve told your mommy lately that you love her?”
– Elana Afrika
“I know you are socially awkward, plagued by a nagging feeling of being unloved and ugly.”
– Thulisile Madonsela
“Most people and institutions don’t embrace non-conformity. It makes them feel uncomfortable, but don’t let them suppress your true nature.” – Jodi Bieber
“While we’re being honest – you’re a beautiful, graceful and quirky girl, and you have an individual sense of style, but I’m not so sure about your peroxided hair. It may be one of the things you’ll live to regret.”
– Bonnie Henna
“To this day, I still rehearse and play saxophone for at least an hour every day because I want to be the best I can be.” – Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse
Elana Afrika • Loyiso Bala • Melanie Bala • Lauren Beukes • Jodi Bieber • Elvis Blue • Rehad Desai • Nkulee Dube • Christian Gabriel Du Toit • Saskia Falken • Nicky Greenwall • William Gumede • Vanessa Haywood • Bonnie Henna • Jonathan Jansen • Rhoda Kadalie • Katy Katopodis • Malcolm Klûk • Alan Knott-Craig • Sarah Lotz • Bob Mabena • Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse • Thulisile Madonsela • Sindiwe Magona • Noeleen Maholwana-Sangqu • Moky Makura • Vanessa Marawa • Louise Marsland • Lindiwe Mazibuko • Ayanda Mbanga • Uyanda Mbuli • Osiame Molefe • Ravi Naidoo • Zama Ndlovu • Nkensani Nkosi • Neo Ntsoma • Margie Orford • Samantha Page • McIntosh Polela • Hanli Prinsloo • ProVerb • Reuben Riffel • Gus Silber • Elinor Sisulu • Doreen Southwood • Lee Swan • Redi Tlhabi • Jann Turner • Jason Xenopoulos
About the editor
The book is compiled and edited by Samantha Page. Page is currently the editor of O, The Oprah Magazine, and it is under her leadership that the magazine celebrated its 10th anniversary in April 2012.
Wild refers to the “brain gain” that this influx of talent will have for South Africa in an article for Business Day, where she is the Science and Technology Editor:
The multibillion-rand Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope is attracting some of the best brains within and outside SA and is causing an “inverse brain-drain”, according to SKA SA director Bernie Fanaroff.
In May, the international SKA Organisation decided that SA would share the R23bn radio telescope with Australia.
While foreign direct investment is an important benefit of the telescope, human capital development, renewed interest in science among the youth in SA, as well as the world class science expertise the project will bring to the country are also seen as crucial gains.