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Archive for the ‘Non-fiction’ Category

Launch: Born To Kwaito by Esinako Ndabeni and Sihle Mthembu (25 October)

Born To Kwaito considers the meaning of kwaito music now. ‘Now’ not only as in ‘after 1994’ or the Truth Commission but as a place in the psyche of black people in post-apartheid South Africa.

This collection of essays tackles the changing meaning of the genre after its decline and its ever-contested relevance. Through rigorous historical analysis as well as threads of narrative journalism Born To Kwaito interrogates issues of artistic autonomy, the politics of language in the music, and whether the music is part of a strand within the larger feminist movement in South Africa.

Candid and insightful interviews from the genre’s foremost innovators and torchbearers, such as Mandla Spikiri, Arthur Mafokate, Robbie Malinga and Lance Stehr, provide unique historical context to kwaito music’s greatest highs, most captivating hits and most devastating lows. Born To Kwaito offers up a history of the genre from below by having conversations not only with musicians but with fans, engineers, photographers and filmmakers who bore witness to a revolution.

Living in a place between criticism and biography, Born To Kwaito merges academic theories and rigorous journalism to offer a new understanding into how the genre influenced other art forms such as fashion, TV and film. The book also reflects on how some of the music’s best hits have found new life through the mouths of local hip-hop’s current kingmakers and opened kwaito up to a new generation.

The book does not pretend to be an exhaustive history of the genre but rather a present-active analysis of that history as it settles and finds its meaning.

Event Details


» read article

Launch: Beaten but not Broken by Vanessa Govender (12 September)

At the height of her journalism career, more than one million households across the country knew her name and her face. Her reportage on human suffering and triumph captivated viewers, and with it Vanessa Govender shot to fame as one of the first female Indian television news reporters in South Africa.

Always chasing the human angle of any news story, Govender made a name for herself by highlighting stories that included the grief of a mother clutching a packet filled with the fragments of the broken bones of her children after they’d been hacked to death by their own father, and another story where she celebrated the feisty spirit of a little girl who was dying of old age, while holding onto dreams that would never be realised. Yet Govender, a champion for society’s downtrodden, was hiding a shocking story of her own. In Beaten But Not Broken, she finally opens up about her deepest secret – one that so nearly ended her career in broadcast journalism before it had barely kicked off.

She was a rookie reporter at the SABC in 1999. He was a popular radio disc jockey, the darling of the SABC’s Lotus FM, a radio station catering to nearly half a million Indian people across South Africa. They were the perfect pair, or so it seemed. And if anyone suspected the nature of the abusive relationship, Govender says, she doesn’t believe they knew the full extent of the horror that the popular DJ was inflicting on this intrepid journalist. The bruising punches, the cracking slaps, and the relentless episodes filled with beatings, kicking and strangling were as ferocious as the emotional and verbal abuse he hurled at her. No one would know the brutal and graphic details of Govender’s story … until now.

In Beaten But Not Broken, this Indian woman does the unthinkable, maybe even the unforgiveable, in breaking the ranks of a close-knit conservative community to speak out about her five-year-long hell in this abusive relationship. Her story also lays bare her heart-breaking experiences as a victim of childhood bullying and being ostracised by some in her community for being a dark-skinned Indian girl. Govender tells a graphic story of extreme abuse, living with the pain, and ultimately of how she was saved by her own relentless fighting spirit to find purpose and love. This is a story of possibilities and hope; it is a story of a true survivor.

Event Details


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Book signing: Mutts by Emma O’Brien (8 September)

Mutts is a book about rescue dogs and their heartwarming stories.

Full of character, mischief and second chances, this book will have you howling with laughter and reaching for the tissues. Featuring portraits by award-winning photographer Emma O’ Brien, Mutts will complement every dog lover’s coffee table. Many of the dogs that feature in the Mutts project were deposited at shelters because their owners didn’t want them anymore, some were abused before being rescued and some found themselves there by accident of birth.

All of them are at the mercy of someone seeing them and choosing to adopt them when there are not enough homes to go around. The book proceeds will all go to CLAW and Sandton SPCA, but the publication of Mutts is not just about raising funds, it is also to raise awareness about the number of great dogs that sit in shelters, and to encourage people to adopt.

Event Details


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Launch – This is how it is: True stories from South Africa by The Life Righting Collective (20 August)

This is How It Is is a collection of real life experiences. Most of these writers have never been published before. They wrote primarily to explore themselves, to engage with their own capacity to be creative, and to bear witness to their lives and the times in which we live. Putting traumatic experiences down on paper can help a person to put shame, guilt and fear down, and to step out of the circle of enchantment that might have kept them trapped for years.

Writing is sometimes able to turn a painful incident into something more manageable, even beautiful. This is an aspect of the power of artistic practice – that we can take the blurred feeling of what is disturbing us and give it form in the world. The stories inspired by our experiences can reveal what we didn’t know we knew, as they take shape on the page. Self-discovery is linked to self-recovery, but communication does not end there: those who are willing to share their stories can have a valuable impact on us, as readers, by revealing aspects of their humanity.

In addition, the writers may experience healing through having their experiences witnessed. Engaging with this ‘other’ by listening to what happened to them cuts across those things that separate us: sexism, racism, ageism, nationalism and gender stereotypes. Often we discover that we are more alike than we are different. Our beautiful world is in trouble, much of it because we are not paying attention to what is right in front of us. When the facts don’t stir us to reconsider, story can. This anthology is a contribution to the groundswell towards meaningful change. It invites us to become curious and reflective rather than fearful and defensive. It encourages us to climb down from the ladder of hierarchy and competition, and to join the circle of relationship and humanity, through becoming vulnerable enough to share and to listen to our own and each other’s half-hidden stories.

This anthology is the pilot year of what we hope will be an annual edition. This year’s theme, ‘This is how it is’, speaks of truth-telling and the relief of being able to communicate openly and honestly about things that are usually difficult – suicide, extra-marital affairs, mental illness, racism, untimely death.

“A powerful collection of life stories written in a healing space.” – Pregs Govender

“We forget that the most daring thing we can do is to allow ourselves to be seen. To stand before the world and to say this is who I am. This is how it is.” – Bongani Kona, 2016 Caine Prize finalist and co-editor of Migrations

“The writers in this triumphant anthology are both courageous and candid, allowing the reader a glimpse into their lives. There is need for more of this writing in South African literature.” – Sara-Jayne King

“Refreshing, poignant and wide-ranging, this collection surprises with unusual perspectives and gives voice to a broad array of talents.” – Helen Moffett

ABOUT THE LIFE RIGHTING COLLECTIVE

The Life Righting Collective runs courses for anyone who wants to learn to write about their experiences. The approach promotes self-discovery, self-recovery and more effective communication. We raise funds to make courses available to those in need of sponsorship and to provide platforms for these life stories to be published. Sharing experiences with a wide readership can help reduce discrimination and promote mutual understanding. Visit the website: www.liferighting.com

Event Details

  • Date: Monday, 20 August 2018
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Rd, Melville, Johannesburg | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Arja Salafranca
  • RSVP: kate@lovebooks.co.za
     

    Book Details


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Launch: These Bones Will Rise Again by Panashe Chigumadzi (17 August)

A timeous book, with Zimbabwe’s elections taking place in July 2018, These Bones Will Rise Again responds to the November 2017 ousting of Robert Mugabe, exploring events leading up to the ‘coup not coup’ that brought his 37-year rule to an end.

This long-form essay brings together bold reportage, memoir and critical analysis to radically reframe the political and cultural history of the country, recognising the role of women, workers and urban movements in its liberation struggle.

In a searing account, These Bones Will Rise Again explores the heady post-independence days of the 80s, the economic downturn of the 90s, through to the effects of the fast-track land reform policies at the end of the century.

Out of Zimbabwe’s official versions of history, Chigumadzi wrests a complex and personal history of the past and present through intercession with two ancestral spirits – anti-colonial heroine Mbuya Nehanda, the founding ancestor of Zimbabwe’s revolution, and her own beloved grandmother, who passed shortly before the de facto coup.

This is an inspiring work exploring loss, recovery and memory that reminds us of the universal and timeless human impulse to freedom, a shared sense of belonging and the will to hope.

Event Details


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Celebrate BlackBird Books’s third birthday! (15 August)

As we kick into women’s month, pioneering publisher of African voices and narratives, BlackBird Books is turning three this month! How time has gone!

To mark this occasion, BlackBird Books will host a celebration as also a way to reflect on how far we’ve come and the many more stories we are to celebrate.

The contribution of BlackBird Books to the South African literature space cannot be overlooked. In its short life, BlackBird Books has produced titles that will remain a proud legacy to African literature. To name some, Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi, Born to Kwaito by Esinako Ndabeni and Sihle Mthembu, Miss Behave by Malebo Sephodi and The Broken River Tent by Mphuthumi Ntabeni.

Sweet Medicine

Book details
 

Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi
EAN: 9781928337126
Find this book with BOOK Finder!
 

Born To Kwaito

Born To Kwaito by Esinako Ndabeni, Sihle Mthembu
EAN: 9781928337676
Find this book with BOOK Finder!
 
 
 
 

Miss Behave

Miss Behave by Malebo Sephodi
EAN: 9781928337416
Find this book with BOOK Finder!
 
 
 
 

The Broken River Tent

The Broken River Tent by Mphuthumi Ntabeni
EAN: 9781928337454
Find this book with BOOK Finder!


» read article

Launch: Things We Don’t Talk About. Ever. by Desiree-Anne Martin (7 August)

In 1980s apartheid Cape Town, five-year-old Desiree-Anne is grappling with how she’s going to turn her tar baby doll’s skin into sweet, soft lily-white.

What she has learnt is that Whites are better than ‘Slamse’ and much better than ‘Kaffirs’.

She doesn’t know how to force her father to stop drinking or gambling or make her mother love her or get the boys and men to stop touching her in secret.

She learns how to soothe the pain: through secret masturbation and lying. She also gives her life and heart to Jesus every summer at Scripture Union camps.

As she grows up, she begins to understand the rules of living in her depressed family as well as in her fractured community: We Don’t Talk About It. Ever. In her teens, laden with the awkwardness of bushy, unruly hair, braces, and a body shorter and rounder than a Womble – and now firmly planted in a ‘White School’, Desiree-Anne is forced to confront her ‘Coloured identity crisis’.

She turns to self-harm, disordered eating, the thrill of petty theft and escapism through books and acting. Although she wins a place to study drama at UCT, sensing her parents cannot afford the tuition, she opts to go to the UK where she gets lost in bars, clubs and pills.

On her return to South Africa she embraces the “free love” Ecstasy trance club scene but when she meets Darren, a heroin addict, she turns to needles. Her search for love and acceptance descends into a self-destructive spiral as an intravenous smack addict.

This is a harrowing memoir on the darkness of addiction, but it is also a touching and sometimes humorous account of a little-girl-turned-woman’s deep need and reckless pursuit for love.

When Desiree-Anne finally finds recovery years later, she uncovers her real voice to talk and write about things that were previously left unspoken.
 

Event Details


» read article

Launch: Born To Kwaito by Sihle Mthembu & Esinako Ndabeni (5 July)

Born To Kwaito considers the meaning of kwaito music now. ‘Now’ not only as in ‘after 1994’ or the Truth Commission but as a place in the psyche of black people in post-apartheid South Africa.

This collection of essays tackles the changing meaning of the genre after its decline and its ever-contested relevance. Through rigorous historical analysis as well as threads of narrative journalism Born To Kwaito interrogates issues of artistic autonomy, the politics of language in the music, and whether the music is part of a strand within the larger feminist movement in South Africa.

Candid and insightful interviews from the genre’s foremost innovators and torchbearers, such as Mandla Spikiri, Arthur Mafokate, Robbie Malinga and Lance Stehr, provide unique historical context to kwaito music’s greatest highs, most captivating hits and most devastating lows. Born To Kwaito offers up a history of the genre from below by having conversations not only with musicians but with fans, engineers, photographers and filmmakers who bore witness to a revolution.

Living in a place between criticism and biography, Born To Kwaito merges academic theories and rigorous journalism to offer a new understanding into how the genre influenced other art forms such as fashion, TV and film. The book also reflects on how some of the music’s best hits have found new life through the mouths of local hip-hop’s current kingmakers and opened kwaito up to a new generation.

The book does not pretend to be an exhaustive history of the genre but rather a present-active analysis of that history as it settles and finds its meaning.

Event Details


» read article

Book talk: Killing Karoline by Sara-Jayne King (21 June)

Killing KarolineKilling KarolineKilling Karoline

Killing Karoline deals with important topical issues relating to adoption, identity, race, mental health and addiction.

Born Karoline King in 1980 in Johannesburg South Africa, Sara-Jayne (as she will later be called by her adoptive parents) is the result of an affair, illegal under apartheid’s Immorality Act, between a white British woman and a black South African man. Her story reveals the shocking lie created to cover up the forbidden relationship, and the hurried overseas adoption of the illegitimate baby, born during one of history’s most inhumane and destructive regimes.

Killing Karoline follows the journey of the baby girl (categorised as ‘white’ under South Africa’s race classification system) who is raised in a leafy, middle-class corner of the South of England by a white couple. It takes the reader through her formative years, a difficult adolescence and into adulthood, as Sara-Jayne (Karoline) seeks to discover who she is and where she came from.

Plagued by questions surrounding her own identity and unable to ‘fit in’ Sara-Jayne begins to turn on herself. She eventually returns to South Africa, after 26 years, to face her demons. There she is forced to face issues of identity, race, rejection and belonging beyond that which she could ever have imagined. She must also face her birth family, who in turn must confront what happens when the baby you kill off at a mere six weeks old returns from the dead.

Sara-Jayne King is a mixed-race South African/British journalist and radio presenter whose career spans over a decade and has taken her across the globe in search of remarkable stories and fascinating characters. While studying for an LLB degree in the UK, Sara-Jayne realised her passion lay elsewhere and, after graduating, she went on to complete a Master’s in Journalism in 2004. Her career began as a junior journalist in local radio in London and since then has included roles in the Middle East and Africa, most recently as a senior editor for news channel eNCA and presenter for Primedia’s talk radio station Cape Talk.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 21 June 2018
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Tokai Library, Tokai Road, (between intersections of Palm and Ebony Roads), Tokai, Cape Town
  • Book Details


» read article

Launch – This is how it is: True stories from South Africa by The Life Righting Collective (12 June)

This is How It Is is a collection of real life experiences. Most of these writers have never been published before. They wrote primarily to explore themselves, to engage with their own capacity to be creative, and to bear witness to their lives and the times in which we live. Putting traumatic experiences down on paper can help a person to put shame, guilt and fear down, and to step out of the circle of enchantment that might have kept them trapped for years.

Writing is sometimes able to turn a painful incident into something more manageable, even beautiful. This is an aspect of the power of artistic practice – that we can take the blurred feeling of what is disturbing us and give it form in the world. The stories inspired by our experiences can reveal what we didn’t know we knew, as they take shape on the page. Self-discovery is linked to self-recovery, but communication does not end there: those who are willing to share their stories can have a valuable impact on us, as readers, by revealing aspects of their humanity.

In addition, the writers may experience healing through having their experiences witnessed. Engaging with this ‘other’ by listening to what happened to them cuts across those things that separate us: sexism, racism, ageism, nationalism and gender stereotypes. Often we discover that we are more alike than we are different. Our beautiful world is in trouble, much of it because we are not paying attention to what is right in front of us. When the facts don’t stir us to reconsider, story can. This anthology is a contribution to the groundswell towards meaningful change. It invites us to become curious and reflective rather than fearful and defensive. It encourages us to climb down from the ladder of hierarchy and competition, and to join the circle of relationship and humanity, through becoming vulnerable enough to share and to listen to our own and each other’s half-hidden stories.

This anthology is the pilot year of what we hope will be an annual edition. This year’s theme, ‘This is how it is’, speaks of truth-telling and the relief of being able to communicate openly and honestly about things that are usually difficult – suicide, extra-marital affairs, mental illness, racism, untimely death.

“A powerful collection of life stories written in a healing space.” – Pregs Govender

“We forget that the most daring thing we can do is to allow ourselves to be seen. To stand before the world and to say this is who I am. This is how it is.” – Bongani Kona, 2016 Caine Prize finalist and co-editor of Migrations

“The writers in this triumphant anthology are both courageous and candid, allowing the reader a glimpse into their lives. There is need for more of this writing in South African literature.” – Sara-Jayne King

“Refreshing, poignant and wide-ranging, this collection surprises with unusual perspectives and gives voice to a broad array of talents.” – Helen Moffett

ABOUT THE LIFE RIGHTING COLLECTIVE

The Life Righting Collective runs courses for anyone who wants to learn to write about their experiences. The approach promotes self-discovery, self-recovery and more effective communication. We raise funds to make courses available to those in need of sponsorship and to provide platforms for these life stories to be published. Sharing experiences with a wide readership can help reduce discrimination and promote mutual understanding. Visit the website: www.liferighting.com

Event Details


» read article