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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

‘You’re only as sick as your secrets’ – Read an excerpt from Sweet Paradise by Joanne Hichens

 
Sweet ParadiseJacana Media has shared an excerpt from Sweet Paradise by Joanne Hichens.

Sweet Paradise tells the story of Rae Valentine, the most compassionate but gullible PI in the business, who’s on a mission to find a missing teenager.

Rae’s investigation brings her to the Paradise Place Clinic, where no-one is who they appear to be and everyone has their secrets.

In Part One, we meet Vincent Saldana – Rae’s PI partner – and his fellow residents at Paradise Place during a group meeting. How did Vincent end up in Paradise Place and will he be able to convince Rae to spring him loose?

Read the excerpt:
 

* * * * *

 

PART ONE
You’re only as sick as your secrets

 

MONDAY: THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS

 
A day in Paradise

Vincent Saldana bitterly regretted scrubbing his tongue with aftershave to get rid of the smell of booze. His throat burnt like hellfire. Hotter than the stagnant air building up in the room and the sweltering heat
outside in the Garden of Paradise.

     His head felt as if it had been hit by a brick.

     He sat in a circle with his new pals all rocking and fidgeting in their plastic chairs, each waiting their turn to spill their guts onto the beetleeroded pine floor, wanting recognition for their efforts.

     He raised his head and assessed the motley bunch: Sybilla from the US of A, a regte vet vreetertjie, glowering from the corner. Skinny expart-time-model Joleen, eye-candy if you were into stick insects. Paul the Polyphobic terrified of every damn thing. Jamiro the compulsive sex addict and pseudo airline pilot. The school principal who insisted on being addressed as Sir. A Sidney Poitier lookalike, he was dubbed Sir-with-Love, and most of that love came from Jamiro. Sir’s head was tightly bandaged today, Betadine and blood seeping through from the cut on his forehead.

     The morning’s excitement hadn’t helped Vincent’s hangover one jot.

     Sybilla farting at the breakfast table, then pulling the puke-pink Whoopee cushion out from under her fat arse. Jamiro spitting his doctored coffee over the table: ‘Who put salt in the sugar bowl!’ Followed by a burst of light and smoke. Sir held the jagged remnants of the rigged jar, blood streaming from his lacerated forehead, as clumps of strawberry jam dripped from the high ceiling. His howling had hardly diminished as Nina led him from the table.

     Vince was sick and tired of the practical jokes, but mostly he was sick and tired of shooting the breeze with addicts of every kind, of sex, food, pills, you name it, all lumped together like a packet of fruit mix.

     He wished bloody group was done.

     How’d he stuck it out so long in this bloody madhouse?
 
***
 
Doctor Max Kramer had fine-tuned the art of following the gist of the same-old same-old. He knew how to manipulate the sluice gates with his occasional ‘Mmhmm’ interspersed at proper intervals, his sotto voce teasing out the details of his patients’ miserable lives. His head settled at just the right angle, his ear perfectly cocked as if he was truly listening, he reminded himself of the goal: remain outwardly appreciative of the sharing, show concern at the right time… Yes, Joleen, I know how difficult it is to consume three jujubes, I know insects freak you out, Paul… As Sybilla’s lank hair fell across her forehead, as her triple chins quivered… As Jamiro stretched a toothy smile and spread his wings… As the Principal sat upright and uptight in his pinstripe pants and his lace-up brogues, blood stains still damp on the collar of his white buttondown shirt…

     ‘Let’s get to the matter at hand, shall we? Three days ago, it was plastic cockroaches in the dinner and red dye in the grape juice’ — the whole lot gagging at mealtime, and pissing “blood” afterwards — ‘since then there’s been itching powder sprinkled on mattresses,’ — Jamiro writhing in group, as if in the throes of continuous orgasm —‘cling film on toilets,’ — floors awash with urine — ‘now this. I’ve turned a blind eye to atrociously juvenile behaviour. This time, however, whoever is showing a penchant for destruction has gone too far.’

     Blank stares meant he’d get no satisfaction. He’d been down this route too many times. The lot remained the passive picture of innocence.

     He breathed deeply, an exemplar of patience. The fingernails of his left hand dug into the linked fingers of his right. He waited in vain for one of them to own up, even as Sir, fingering the edge of the bandage unravelling at his ear, blurted, ‘Someone will pay.’

     Max cared that Paradise should not explode in his face like the rigged jar. He felt his palms break out in sweat.

     ‘There’s nothing, per se, dangerous or illegal about humour, harmless pranks as a way of coping with the situation and with each other’ — his voice rose — ‘but pranks that lead to anger, bitterness, total humiliation or heightened paranoia, I won’t have it.’ He wanted to spit out Who’s the fucking joker in the pack?

     Could be any of them. Or a staff member, a cleaner, the gardener, the physiotherapist, any one of the freelance staff for all he knew. He unlaced his hands, stroked his fingertips down tracks of corduroy, his fabric of choice.

     ‘Pranks resulting in physical injury,’ he emphasised, ‘are a no-no. Whoever painted the jar with nitrogen triiodide had to know that when it dries you don’t move, you don’t even breathe for fear of the coated article exploding.’

     Blank stares.

     ‘It’s a hostile impulse, a comic façade belying more serious anger, the sort generally taboo.’

     He’d get no admission of guilt.

     ‘We’ll get on with other things, then, shall we? Let’s start with you. How’re we feeling today, Vincent?’

     ‘Top of the world,’ he played along.
 
***
 
Doc Max bobbed, a regular Noddy. Vince caught a glimpse of his bald patch every time he dipped his head. ‘I couldn’t be better,’ Vince lied. He hated most the carping on about feelings. How much longer could he put up with this bullshit? Couldn’t stand being kept under thumb: do this, do that, be here, be there, at group, at one-on-one. Every single moment planned. Eat this, swallow that. He took the mood enhancers and anti-depressants when he felt like it, but refused ever to stomach the platitudes, promises and the belief in a Higher Power supposedly there to help him. Too many steps, too much talk. All a bloody waste of time. He wanted to yell, wanted to break the news to every patient, to Mr Sexy, to Skinny Joleen, to Sir, to Paul the Petrified, he wanted to tell motor-mouth Sybilla with her grating American drawl picked up from the Bold and the Beautiful (he’d placed his bets she was no genuine American, that the closest she’d ever been to the USA was the TV soapies), he wanted to tell them all in no uncertain terms that rehab was as much good as his mom lighting a joss stick and praying for good fortune to the effigies laid out at her front doorstep.

     It was on the tip of his tongue to vent What the hell difference does any of this make? He blurted instead, ‘Just get me a sponsor so I can walk out of here.’ Yeah, the sponsor would carp on about Let Go and Let God, and he’d keep thinking what a load of bloody bullshit.

     ‘After only two weeks, perhaps you’re not quite yet ready for that,’ persisted Doc Max. ‘So share with us, Vincent, the jokes, have they affected you? How do you feel about what’s going on?’

     Vince knew the taste of the barrel of a gun, had cell memory of his tongue probing cold steel, tasting the black hole… suicidal ideation Max called it… South African cops were trigger happy. When they couldn’t handle crime any longer, or life, they turned too easily to find salvation in a blessed bullet… they took their families with them… the ultimate joke, the ultimate ‘fuck you’ to a fucked-up society.

     ‘How d’you think I feel?’ Vince hissed. ‘Everyone in this place would benefit from a fucking lobotomy!’ He pushed up from the plastic chair, sent it flying behind him. Enjoying the look of fear flitting across Max’s face, and letting go the red-hot fuck-you feeling, he shouted, ‘Fuck the practical jokes. Fuck therapy, fuck the Twelve Steps, and if God exists, I’ll bet he’s crying his fucking eyes out, poor God, the misery and the distress of this world would break his fucking heart!’

     Eyes stared wide with shock.

     He strode across the room. He let fly a volley of punches, every knuckle meeting its mark; he relished the beating he dished out to George. ‘Vincie!’ Admiration glinted in Jamiro’s eyes, the quick seductive lick of glossed lips not lost on the group. ‘Us pilots see that kind of boozeinduced aggro all the time.’

     Vince growled, ‘What’re you insinuating?’ He retrieved his chair and sat down. ‘If you don’t watch it, Jamiro,’ spat Vince, ‘you’ll be next in line.’

     ‘Oooh Vincie, I’d love a good going over…’
 
***
 
Max cleared his throat. ‘Negative transference is directed to where it can do the least damage. Anyone else with issues? You’re welcome to discharge any aggression at George.’ Indeed, the anger-management puppet was worked out regularly by Vincent Saldana, the problem patient, the cop with anger issues. ‘No-one else interested? Then we’re done,’ concluded Max. ‘But after this morning’s commotion and your emotional rendition of Nietzsche, Vincent, we’re certainly in need of a’ — Vince registered the dreaded words — ‘group hug.’

     Vince shuddered. Fun fun. This he hated.

     Sybilla’s bosoms quivered with anticipation in her floral XXXL T- shirt. Joleen froze, a bokkie caught in headlights. Paul the Polyphobic, terrified of death, of bugs, of different food groups touching on his plate, frightened of his own shadow, sat rigid and squeaked, ‘Don’t any of you dare touch me!’

     ‘How about on your studio,’ quipped Jamiro.

     Vince warned, ‘Get your hand off my arse.’ Group grope was the pits.

     ‘Don’t dare paw me.’

     ‘You’d give anything for the hair of the dog right now,’ Jamiro pressed his erection against his quarry’s thigh and licked Vince’s ear.

     ‘You sure smell like a distillery, Vince,’ drawled Sybilla, ‘no amount of aftershave will disguise the ooze from your pores.’

     ‘Ever noticed,’ smirked Vince, ‘how smug sober people are?’

     ‘The booze holds you hostage, Vincie,’ winked Jamiro.

     ‘The booze sets me free.’

     Vince pushed away the freaks. ‘I’m done, I’m packing my bags. I’m outta here.’ He looked at Max. ‘Your nurses, dieticians, psychologists with your blue uniforms and white coats and stripes and fob watches and answers for every fucking thing will no doubt have a field-day chit-chat about my borderline personality disorder, my self-destructive behaviour, my anger that forgot where it came from… To hell with the pranks and the petty squabbles. I’m turning my back on the loser-bin.’ He slammed the door.

     Doc Max sighed, ‘Vincent, you’re going nowhere.’ He turned to Tariq.

     ‘Go after him.’

     Max stared at the others. He was no closer to uncovering the truth.
 
***
 
     Vince complained: ‘Why can’t I just discharge myself?’

     ‘You signed on the dotted line,’ said Tariq. ‘You lose your PI licence if you don’t finish the programme.’ He squeezed Vincent’s arm as he escorted him up the main staircase to his room, handed him over to Nurse Nina.

     Vince said, ‘I’m happy to see you, darling.’

     ‘Bed rest for you, naughty boy,’ she settled him, plumped his pillows, ‘getting all riled like that, shame on you. Now settle down.’ She offered him a straw with his vodka in a geriatric’s spill-free cup. She patted his cheek. ‘Vincie,’ she whispered, ‘why on earth would you want to leave us when we treat you so well?’

     ‘Rehab’s too much like hard work.’

     ‘You won’t run away, now will you, Vincie? Stay put for the afternoon.’

     He missed the smell of stale beer and cigarette smoke. Bar smell. Nothing quite like it. For now this would do. He pulled the duvet under his chin, sucked on the straw. He’d tried, he’d really tried. Had kept up with the steps. Had done whatever they’d asked him to. None of it had shifted his bleak outlook. He’d written the letters to his dead wife, to his mother, to his remaining PI partner…

     Dear Amber
I’m so sorry for every time I worked late, for every time I lied to you to you.
I loved you. I love you. You wanted me to come home early. We fought.
You said you’d follow my example, take yourself off for a drink. I’m sorry
I wasn’t there for you.

     Hey Ma
I’m sorry I didn’t amount to the son you wanted. I never learned Mandarin. I’m not interested in taking over the restaurant. Sorry for all the times I came home drunk and you cleaned up after me.
Sorry I don’t call you every day. I know you’ll say there’s nothing to forgive, but I need your forgiveness. I love you, Ma.

Hey Rae
I’ve let you down.
I’m sorry.

     I’m sorry sorry sorry, so fucking sorry…

     With Freaky-Deaky out the room he pulled his cell phone from under the mattress. He sucked at the booze for Dutch courage. He had to get out. Rae was no pushover. She’d be difficult to convince.

 
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Do you want to get your book published, but don’t know how?

Invitation to a publishing masterclass
Out of LineThe LegacyRainfallMy Lion's HeartThird World Child

 
Jacana Media is hosting a question-and-answer session covering everything you’ve ever wanted to ask about trade publishing in South Africa!

Join us in conversation at this first talk in the publishing crash-course series, hosted by Staging Post.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 30 June 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Jacana Media
    10 Orange St
    Auckland Park | Map
  • Guest Speakers: Tracey McDonald (Tracey McDonald Publishers), Bridget Impey (MD of Jacana) and Klara Skinner (Staging Post)
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • Cost: Pay with a follow! Follow Staging Post on Twitter or Facebook

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2016 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award – judging underway

Dub StepsThe Story of Anna P, as Told by HerselfKhalil's JourneyDeeper Than ColourSaracen at the Gates
Till We Can Keep An AnimalCoconutBitches' BrewIce in the LungsThe Silent Minaret

 

Formerly known as the European Union Literary Award, the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award was established in 2004 with the intention of sustaining locally written fiction.

Annually, unpublished writers are invited to enter fiction manuscripts for the award. A panel of three judges reads each submission over a period of a few months in order to select a shortlist and overall winner. The overall winner receives a cash prize of R35,000, their manuscript is published by Jacana Media and the book is included in one of Exclusive Books’ sales campaigns. Additionally, for the first time a runner-up nominated by the judging panel will receive a writing mentorship to develop their work further. This is valued at R25,000, and made possible through a bequest from a previous winner of the award, the late Gerald Kraak.

Entries are judged blind, and publishing processes for the winning manuscript take place before the award ceremony at which the winner is announced and their book is revealed in print. For shortlisted entrants, that element of surprise adds a touch of magic and delight to the experience.

The panel have read each of the 38 manuscripts submitted for the 2015/16 award, and are currently motivating their selections.

The shortlist will be announced at the end of June 2016, once a consensus has been reached.

Reading for the Dinaane gives me strange dreams as the different stories start weaving together. There is a particularly eclectic set of submissions this year, from airport thrillers to teen fiction to meditations on the student movement to mythical histories and invented languages. You have to develop a way of comparing such different books, and mine is when I start realising that everything is coming together in a very interesting way, that I have stopped judging, and that I have been enveloped in a new imaginary world. It is going to be fascinating to see how our tastes compare, and then later on, finding out who wrote what.

- Pamela Nichols, chair of the judging panel

The Jacana Literary Foundation is thrilled that the three judges from last year are doing the adjudicating. Representing academic, journalistic and literary writing, they are: The word dinaane in Setswana means “telling our stories to one another”; it connotes the many strands of conversation that we weave into the common language of fiction.

 

Pamela NicholsChair of the panel, Pamela Nichols, helped found and is currently the director of the Wits Writing Centre, which is a resource for academic and creative writers. Since inception the WWC has produced 17 award-winning fiction writers and part-organised six literary festivals as well as promoting successful academic writing and writing intensive teaching. Nichols did her first degree at Sussex University, taught and studied at the American University of Beirut, did a teaching degree at the Institute of Education, before going to New York University where she completed a doctorate in comparative literature guided by the work of Edward Said.
Her published articles focus on writing centres, writing intensive teaching, writing programmes and democracy, and new South African writing. She is currently working on a book of creative nonfiction about Lebanon.
 
 
 
 
 
Maureen IsaacsonMaureen Isaacson is currently the Participatory Democracy Programme Manager at the Foundation for Human Rights, Johannesburg. She has participated in dialogues and written about politics, African and international relations as well as issues related to social justice and literature. She spent 21 years at Independent Newspapers in various capacities, most recently as literary editor, and was the recipient of SALAs (South African Literary Awards) South African Literary Journalist of the Year Award in 2009. In 2007, she was an Independent Newspapers fellow in Dublin, Belfast and London. Her writing has not been limited to literary journalism – she’s also a writer of fiction, travelogues and memoirs with experience in the South African publishing industry. Maureen adjudicated the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for the Africa Region in 2008 and the Sunday Times Alan Paton Non-Fiction Award in 2009 and 2010.
 
 
 
 
 
Fred KhumaloFred Khumalo is a renowned columnist and the author of Bitches’ Brew (Jacana 2006), which won the European Union Literary Prize in 2006, and the Unisa-prescribed set work Seven Steps to Heaven (Jacana 2007). His autobiography, Touch My Blood (Umuzi 2006) was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Prize for Non-Fiction in 2007. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from Wits University, and was a Nieman Fellow in 2011-2012. His short stories and poems have appeared in various anthologies, literary journals and consumer magazines. Fred was formerly the editor of the Sunday Times Review, has worked in various capacities for newspapers in South Africa and overseas, and has won numerous awards for his journalistic work. He is currently a writing fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Don’t miss the launch of The Road to Soweto by Julian Brown at Ike’s Books in Durban

The Road to Soweto: Resistance and the Uprising of 16 June 1976Ike’s Books and Collectables and Jacana Media invite you to the launch of The Road to Soweto: Resistance and the Uprising of 16 June 1976 by Julian Brown.

The event will take place this evening at 5:30 for 6:00 PM.

Don’t miss it!
 
 

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Is camping purely for white people? Presenting Blacks Do Caravan by Fikile Hlatshwayo

Blacks Do CaravanJacana Media is proud to present Blacks Do Caravan by Fikile Hlatshwayo:

When her husband and children announced that they were planning a countrywide caravanning adventure, Fikile was adamant that “Blacks don’t caravan!” But faced with the prospect of staying behind on her own she put aside her preconceptions, put on her sunhat and started reading up on the way of the wild. What followed was an eye-opening, mind-changing trip of a lifetime. Fikile and her family visited over 60 caravan parks. They covered over 25,000 kilometres, traversed all nine provinces and extended their trip to the Kingdom of Swaziland.

I come from a culture where camping is purely for white people. Even if black people were to camp, they would not enjoy it because it is reminiscent of how many of us used to live; in fact, a lot of black people still live like that today – cooking on a fire, using communal toilets, with access to little or no technology – I thought there was no way I would agree to this camping expedition. I am, after all, a sophisticated and highly successful black woman, comfortable in my high heels and suits – I love my comfort! But, I had no choice – either I stayed miserable and depressed in my secure home, or I joined my family to enjoy the beauty of our country in the most affordable way. I gave in, but it did take a lot of convincing!

The trip began on 15 September 2014 and during the journey Fikile came to the realisation that South Africa is still a divided nation: ‘The idea that camping is for white people is so entrenched, and my question is, who maintains these standards? Over twenty years into democracy, boundaries still divide us and it is up to individuals to break down these stereotypes and barriers. We cannot rely solely on government to change everything and expect that we will all arrive in an all-inclusive ‘rainbow nation’ with equal wealth for every citizen. It is not going to happen until every citizen plays a role in contributing to the change we need, the change we want and the change we deserve as South Africans.’

About the author

Fikile Hlatshwayo was born in North West province, South Africa. She has a BCom (Honours) degree in Statistics (2001) from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and an MSc degree in Development Finance (2006) from the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). This is her second book. Fikile published a book on export growth opportunities in Africa (2005). She is married to Mathieu with two children.

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Don’t miss the launch of Promise and Despair by Martin Plaut at The Book Lounge

Invitation to the launch of Promise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South Africa by Martin Plaut

 

Promise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South AfricaJoin Jacana Media and The Book Lounge for the launch of Promise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South Africa by Martin Plaut to find out about the lobbyists who fought for the vote in 1909.

The struggle for freedom in South Africa goes back a long way, to the very founding of the country in 1910. Spearheading that struggle was a multi-ethnic delegation of South Africans who travelled in 1909 to London to lobby for a non-racial constitution. Drawing on fresh research, Promise and Despair is the extraordinary story of the founding of the first South Africa.

The event will take place on Thursday, 9 June, at The Book Lounge in Cape Town, with Plaut in conversation with Xolela Mangcu.

Don’t miss it!
Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 9 June 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge
    71 Roeland St
    Cape Town | Map
  • Guest: Xolela Mangcu
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge, booklounge@gmail.com, 021 462 2425

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Don’t miss the launch of The Road to Soweto by Julian Brown at the Apartheid Museum

The Road to Soweto: Resistance and the Uprising of 16 June 1976Jacana Media and the Apartheid Museum invite you to the launch of The Road to Soweto: Resistance and the Uprising of 16 June 1976 by Julian Brown.

The struggle of a student generation continues.

The event will take place at the Apartheid Museum on Tuesday, 7 June.

2016, a year of recollection and remembrance – it is 40 years after the Soweto Uprisings, a date that marks a significant shift in the struggle against apartheid, but it is the year where a generation of so-called “born frees” are again fighting for access to education.

Don’t miss the launch!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 7 June 2016
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: The Apartheid Museum
    George Bizos Hall
    Northern Park Way and Gold Reef Rd
    Ormonde
    Johannesburg | Map
  • RSVP: Takalani Lubengo, rsvp@jacana.co.za, 011 628 3200

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‘Dear Mama, it is me, your broken son’ – Holding My Breath by Ace Moloi

Holding My BreathBlackBird Books is proud to present Holding My Breath by Ace Moloi:

Dear Mama,

It is me, your broken son.

Although the earth’s sorrows dimmed your light from us, I trust heaven has bestowed upon you the glory and dignity you deserve. You and I last spoke in February 2005, five days before you passed away. When you succumbed to your illness – which remains a mystery to this day – I was a mere 13-year-old who not only had to adjust to a new school, but also get used to the reality that you would never live to tell intriguing tales of your childhood. A decade has since passed and as I write you this note I have only heard from you once. You appeared in a dream to reprimand us for the culture of begging which we had adopted shortly after we laid you to your final rest.

This is how Ace Moloi starts his book, a letter to his deceased mother. This book, this letter, is an important and necessary look at the state of our country 21 years into our democracy. It is the story of constantly holding your breath, hoping nothing else goes wrong.

In a searing and beautiful narrative, Moloi manages to take the reader through various South African issues like:

  • The trials of child-headed families in South Africa
  • The volatile issue of service delivery in townships
  • The story of broken families
  • Why Fees Must Fall
  • Racial division in universities

Funny in parts and tragic in others, this is the ultimate South African story.

About the author

Ace Moloi is from QwaQwa in the Free State. This is his first commercially published book. He studied at the University of the Free State where he was an award-winning student leader and campus journalist and earned a degree in Communications. He has just finished an internship programme at the Joburg Roads Agency and is currently looking for a job.

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Don’t miss the launch of Promise and Despair by Martin Plaut at Kalk Bay Books

Promise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South AfricaKalk Bay Books invites you to the launch of Promise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South Africa by Martin Plaut, published by Jacana Media.

The struggle for freedom in South Africa goes back a long way, to the very founding of the country in 1910. Spearheading that struggle was a multi-ethnic delegation of South Africans who travelled in 1909 to London to lobby for a non-racial constitution. Drawing on fresh research, Promise and Despair is the extraordinary story of the founding of the first South Africa.

The event will take place on Tuesday, 14 June. Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 14 June 2016
  • Time: 6:00 PM 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 Leopard’s Leap wine
  • RSVP: Kalk Bay Books, events@kalkbaybooks.co.za, 021 788 2266

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How a South African delegation to London in 1909 spearheaded the Struggle: Martin Plaut’s Promise and Despair

Promise and DespairComing soon from Jacana Media – Promise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South Africa by Martin Plaut:

The Struggle for freedom in South Africa goes back a long way, to the very founding of the country in 1910.

Spearheading that struggle was a remarkable delegation of South Africans of all colours who travelled to London to lobby for a non-racial constitution. Led by Will Schreiner, a famous lawyer, former Cape Prime Minister and brother of the novelist Olive Schreiner, it included some of the greatest African and Coloured leaders of the day – equivalent in stature to the black leaders who helped found the second South Africa in 1994.

The discussions in London in 1909 would in fact prove seminal to the founding of the African National Congress.

About the author

Born in South Africa in 1950, Martin Plaut received his first degree from the University of Cape town before going on to do an MA at the University of Warwick. In 1984 he joined the BBC, working primarily on Africa. He has reported from many parts of the continent but specialised in the horn ofAfrica and Southern Africa. He became Africa editor of BBC World Service News in 2003 and retired from the BBC in 2013. He then joined the Institute of Commonwealth Studies as senior research Fellow. In April and May 2013 he was based at the University of Cape Town as Writer in Residence at the Centre for African Studies.

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