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Archive for the ‘Non-fiction’ Category

Announcing the shortlist for the 2016 Gerald Kraak Award for African writers and artists

 
The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation have announced the African writers and artists shortlisted for the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award.

Drawn from a range of African countries, these written and photographic pieces on the topics of gender, human rights and sexuality on our continent represent a new wave of fresh storytelling.

The shortlist will comprise the resultant anthology, titled Pride and Prejudice, which will be published and distributed by Jacana Media and its project partners across Africa in May 2017.

Judges Sisonke Msimang (chair), Eusebius McKaiser and Sylvia Tamale reviewed close on 400 anonymous individual entries over the past four months in order to select the 14 pieces for the shortlist.

Msimang says:

In the current political environment, we are hopeful that expressions like the ones we have chosen – that do not shy away from pain but that are also deeply inventive – find their way into the public consciousness. We think Gerald Kraak would have smiled at a number of these entries, and above all, we have aimed to stay true to his love of fearless writing and support of courageous and grounded activism.

In alphabetical order by surname, here are the shortlisted authors and entries, and short judges’ notes:

  • Poached Eggs by Farah Ahamed (Fiction, Kenya)

A subtle, slow and careful rendering of the everyday rhythms of domestic terror that pays homage to the long history of women’s resistance; yet with wit and humour and grit, the story also sings of freedom, of resistance and the desire to be unbound.

  • A Place of Greater Safety by Beyers de Vos (Journalism, South Africa)

Covers, with empathy and real curiosity and knowledge, underground issues that are seldom discussed in the South African LGBT+ movement – homelessness, poverty, as well as attraction and violence.

  • Midnight in Lusikisiki or The Ruin of the Gentlewomen by Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese (Poetry, South Africa)

This poem hums with sadness and sings with anger. It is full of the sort of melancholy that marks the passing of something very important. It provides an opportunity to connect the themes of gender this collection takes so seriously, with issues of poverty and political corruption.

  • Two Weddings for Amoit by Dilman Dila (Fiction, Uganda)

A fresh piece of sci-fi, written in a clear and bright way, that surprisingly draws on covert and subversive love.

  • Albus by Justin Dingwall (Photography, South Africa)

The choice of exquisitely beautiful high-fashion models to represent people with albinism – who are so often depicted as unattractive, as others – is just breath-taking. It makes its point and leaves you wanting more.

  • For Men Who Care by Amatesiro Dore (Fiction, Nigeria)

A complex and thoughtful insight into a part of elite Nigerian life, as well as the ways in which buying into certain brands of patriarchy can be so deeply damaging – and have direct and unavoidable consequences.

  • Resurrection by Tania Haberland (Poetry, Mauritius)

An erotic poem that is powerful in its simple celebration of the clit.

  • Intertwined Odyssey by Julia Hango (Photography, South Africa)

A solid and thought-provoking collection. The range of poses force questions about power. The photos make the lovers (or are they fighters?) equal in their nakedness and in their embodiment of discomfort.

  • Dean’s Bed by Dean Hutton (Photography, South Africa)

An important contribution to conversations about bisexuality, attraction, age and race.

  • On Coming Out by Lee Mokobe (Poetry, South Africa)

Literal and lyrical, this powerful poem draws one in through its style and accessibility.

  • You Sing of a Longing by Otosirieze Obi-Young (Fiction, Nigeria)

A thoroughly modern epic but with bones as old as time. This is a story of love and betrayal and madness and music that is all the more beautiful for its plainspoken poignancy. Yet there is prose in here that steals your breath away.

  • The Conversation by Olakunle Ologunro (Fiction, Nigeria)

Provides valuable insight into issues of intimate partner violence, family acceptance and the complexity of gender roles in many modern African contexts.

  • One More Nation Bound in Freedom by Ayodele Sogunro (Academic, Nigeria)

An informative piece that gives a crisp and “objective” voice to the many themes that cut across this anthology.

  • Stranger in a Familiar Land by Sarah Waiswa (Photography, Kenya)

This collection of photos showcases the best of African storytelling. The images take risks, and speak to danger and subversion. At the same time they are deeply rooted in places that are familiar to urban Africans. The woman in this collection is a stand-in for all of us.

The winner, who receives a cash prize, will be announced at an award ceremony in May 2017, hosted by The Other Foundation and attended by the authors of the top three submissions as well as the judging panel and project partners.

For more information visit www.jacana.co.za or email awards@jacana.co.za.

This project is made possible in partnership with The Other Foundation: www.theotherfoundation.org.

 

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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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Sophia Lindop explores the magic of spices in Spices South Africa Flavours and Traditions

Sophia Lindop brings life to food with her series of cook books and shares with us a rich history of our country and the stories around her inspirational recipes.

- The Next 48 Hours Cape Town, Jenny Morris

Spices South AfricaSophia Lindop has produced another little gem in the Flavours and Traditions range, telling the tale of not only the two main influences, namely the Indian population and the Malay population, and how their age-old usage of spices and eating habits influenced the rest of our country in such a way that their recipes are now part of South Africa’s national heritage, but of all the other nations that played a role in this spicy story.

“Spices that we add to our food every day without thinking, such as pepper, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, were such a valuable commodity in the 15th century that they inspired fearless mariners to cross vast oceans in less than adequate vessels in search of new routes to the spice-rich Orient. Today pumpkin without cinnamon, potatoes without nutmeg and a curry without ginger is unimaginable, so, even now, all around the world, spices are still making magic …” writes Lindop.

Recipes in this tantalising collection include, among others, Cauliflower-and-chickpea biryani, Chilli bites, Courgettes stuffed with lamb mince and fragrant rice, Cucumber pickles, Chocolate cardamom brownies, Milk tart, Spicy rooibos iced tea and Mosbolletjies.

Spices South Africa Flavours and Traditions is the latest book in the Flavours and Traditions series and is a little book of gastronomic delight. It brims with history, unique South African recipes, and will hopefully inspire you to cook flamboyantly.

South African Flavours and Traditions, Cape Town Flavours And Traditions, Braai and Potjie Flavours and Traditions have been created for both locals and tourists alike, celebrating our heritage in a bite-sized chunk.

About the author

Sophia Lindop was born on a farm near Douglas, a small village in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, where she grew up in an environment characterised by old-fashioned values. Lindop is zealous about food and wine and displayed an aptitude for cooking from the age of five.

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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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Don’t miss the launch of the new Roberts Bird Guide and art exhibition

Invitation to the new Roberts Bird Guide

 
Roberts Bird Guide: 2nd EditionJacana Media and the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund invite you to the launch of the new edition of the Roberts Bird Guide and a viewing of the original artwork.

The guide, authored by Hugh Chittenden, Greg Davies and Ingrid Weiersbye, is an essential addition to any birder’s library.

Light refreshments will be served.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 30 November 2016
  • 6 PM: Viewing of the artwork
  • 6:30 PM: Welcome by Mark D Anderson CEO of BirdLife South Africa
  • 6:35 PM: Brief overview of Roberts Bird Guide and artwork by Ingrid Weiersbye, artist and trustee of the JVBBF.
  • Venue: BirdLife South Africa, Isdell House
    17 Hume Road
    Dunkeld West
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Guest Speakers: Mark D Anderson and Ingrid Weiersbye
  • Refreshments: Refreshments will be served
  • RSVP: rsvp@jacana.co.za

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Don’t miss the launch of The Yoga Kitchen: 100 Easy Superfood Recipes by Marlien Wright at Kalk Bay Books

Invitation to the launch of The Yoga Kitchen

 
The Yoga KitchenKalk Bay Books and Jacana Media invite you to the launch of The Yoga Kitchen: 100 Easy Superfood Recipes by Marlien Wright.

The event will take place on Wednesday, 9 November, at Kalk Bay Books.

Wright will be in conversation with journalist Karena du Plessis.

See you there!

Event Details

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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 Mzansi Zen by Antony Osler at Kalk Bay Books

Invitation to the launch of Mzansi Zen

 
Mzansi ZenJoin Jacana Media and Kalk Bay Books for some Mzansi Zen with Antony Osler.

What are we to make of this world – and of our country? Of this place where beauty and and heartache keeps us so off balance? How do we live in this wash of brilliance and disappointment, of courage, cowardice and cynicism?

Mzansi Zen is a tapestry of stories, poems, pictures and people that inspires us to take up life with both hands, and calls us into an intimacy that is already beneath our feet.

Osler is the author of Zen Dust and Stoep Zen. He is a former Zen monk and human rights advocate, and lives with his family on a farm in the Karoo region of South Africa.

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 2 November 2016
  • Time: 6 for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Kalk Bay Books
    124 Main Rd
    Kalk Bay
    Cape Town | Map
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Kalk Bay Books, events@kalkbaybooks.co.za, 021 788 2266

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Jan Theron argues that to understand Marikana you need to examine trade union history in Solidarity Road

Solidarity RoadJacana Media is proud to present Solidarity Road: The Story of a Trade Union in the Ending of Apartheid by Jan Theron:

The events leading to the Marikana massacre not only shattered South Africa’s image of itself as a democracy in which workers had a respected place, but also the image of Cosatu and its largest affiliate at the time. Subsequent events confirm that South Africa’s pre-eminent trade union federation has lost its way. To understand why this has happened, Theron argues, it is necessary to understand the choices made by the trade unions that formed it in the 1980s.

The Food and Canning Workers’ Union (FCWU) was perhaps the most famous of these, and had produced some of the country’s most prominent labour leaders – Ray Alexander, Oscar Mpetha and Liz Abrahams, among others. But by 1976, when Theron became its general secretary, it was on its last legs and riddled with corruption. Solidarity Road is an uncompromising account of a struggle to overcome corruption, as well as to revive a tradition of non-racial solidarity. A demonstration of non-racial solidarity by the workforce of Fatti’s and Moni’s in Cape Town catapulted the union into national prominence, in the same week as government tabled its race-based labour “reforms” in Parliament.

FCWU’s unprecedented victory in this strike meant it was well-placed to initiate the talks that eventually led to the formation of Cosatu. This was to be an independent federation, allied to political organisations fighting to end apartheid. However, for FCWU the basis of independence was always financial self-sufficiency coupled with zero tolerance of corruption. In this regard it was unlike the other trade unions involved in these talks. When the formation of a federation became imperative in the wake of the death in detention of Neil Aggett, FCWU’s Transvaal Secretary, FCWU merged with other trade unions to become Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FAWU). Compromises were made in this process that its members came to regret, and that were to facilitate the capture of a federation with so much promise. This is a story about the values that shaped the trade union struggle and the decisions and practices which undermined them.

About the author

Jan Theron was born and educated in Cape Town. At the age of 26 he became general secretary of FCWU, a position he occupied until 1986, when he became general secretary of FAWU. At the end of 1988 he took long leave to write a book, but did not return to the trade union. In 1990 he embarked on qualifying as an attorney, and has since combined legal practice with a part-time post at the University of Cape Town, where he has coordinated a research project on labour market policy and the changing nature of work. He has published in local and international journals and books.

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