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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Roger Ballen Reveals Die Antwoord Link to His Asylum of the Birds Short Film

Asylum of the BirdsIn a fascinating interview with Fotografia, Roger Ballen talks about the short Asylum of the Birds documentary he made with Die Antwoord collaborator Ben Crossman.

Ballen’s new collection of photographs, Asylum of the Birds, was released last month, and will be launched tonight at David Krut Bookstore in Johannesburg.

The short documentary film made to coincide with the book’s publication, which was directed by Crossman, provides something of an insight into Ballen’s artistic process. The images in Asylum of the Birds were taken in a house in Johannesburg, the location of which is being kept secret, and Ballen is fiercely confident in his choice of unsettling and eerie subject matter.

Asylum of the Birds is also a short documentary film in which for the first time you are seen ‘behind the scenes’. How was the idea for the film born?

During the filming of the Die Antwoord film I fink u freeky I got to know Ben Crossman who worked on this set. Ben was an extremely creative, spontaneous person who felt a strong affinity to my work. We both agreed that it would be appropriate to create a film documenting me at work in Johannesburg and at the Asylum of the Birds House. Ben did an amazing job directing this film. [...]

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Suzanne Belling Tells the Story of the Fight to Prove Cyril Karabus’ Innocence of Manslaughter in Blood Money

Blood MoneyNew from Jacana Media, Blood Money: The Cyril Karabus Story by Suzanne Belling:

“Murderer, murderer! You are under arrest.” The shock of being arrested at Dubai Airport was almost too much for the ailing 77-year-old Professor Cyril Karabus, a world-renowned paediatric oncologist en route home to Cape Town with his wife and family after attending his son’s wedding in Toronto.

Without his knowledge, Prof Karabus had been tried in absentia in 2004 in Abu Dhabi and found guilty of manslaughter after the death of a three-year-old Yemeni girl who had died from acute myeloblastic leukaemia. Prof Karabus had served a locum in the United Arab Emirates in 2002 when this death occurred. Charges were trumped up against him by the child’s father, who demanded blood money – which, according to Sharia law, is only payable after a criminal conviction – despite the fact that the girl was not even Prof Karabus’s patient.

This is the engrossing story of Cyril Karabus’s fight to prove his innocence and secure his release from jail in the UAE, where he was confined for nine months. It also lifts the lid on all the extraordinary behind-the-scenes attempts and manoeuvres to free the doctor.

The “Free Professor Karabus” campaign was led by the Cape Town lawyer Michael Bagraim and was embraced by the medical community. This involved boycotts of Dubai-based medical conferences, public protests, website petitions and fundraisers to help meet the professor’s legal expenses. The South African and World Medical Associations both plunged headlong into the fight on his behalf, as did the South African Department of International Relations and Co-operation, which sent its deputy minister to try to secure his release.

About the author

Suzanne Belling, who was born in the UK and now lives in Johannesburg, is the author of The Travelling Rabbi: My African Tribe (Jacana). She has worked as a reporter, serving her internship at the Cape Times. She was the editor of several newspapers in the former Publico stable and is the former managing editor of the SA Jewish Times.

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Join Ben Turok and Ashwin Desai for the Launch of With My Head Above the Parapet in Durban

With My Head Above the Parapet: An insider account of the ANC in powerJacana Media and Adams Bookshop are delighted to invite you to the launch of Ben Turok’s memoir, With My Head above the Parapet: An insider account of the ANC in power.

Join Turok as he reflects on his 69 years in the struggle as an anti-apartheid activist. He will be in conversation with Ashwin Desai.

With My Head above the Parapet is an insightful account of the ANC’s decline and current malaise, told by an insider intent on holding his party to its historical mission of liberating South Africa from poverty, inequality and discrimination.

Don’t miss this fascinating event!

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Ben Turok Presents an Insider’s Account of the ANC in Power: With My Head Above the Parapet

With my Head above the ParapetWith My Head above the Parapet is a record of Ben Turok’s experience as a participant in the political life of this country since 1994. It is also an insightful account of the ANC’s decline and current malaise, told by an insider intent on holding his party to its historical mission of liberating South Africa from poverty, inequality and discrimination.

“There is no doubt that Professor Ben Turok is among the formidable political thinkers in South Africa today; a fact lucidly borne out by his tour de force, With My Head above the Parapet, in which he brings twenty years of parliamentary experience to bear on a comprehensive explication of South Africa today. Definitely not a ‘politician’ but a well-rounded human being with a political attitude.” – Kgalema Motlanthe, Deputy President

In February 2014 Turok confirmed that he will retire from Parliament after the elections. Turok cited medical and personal reasons for his decision to retire.

About the author

Ben Turok is a former anti-apartheid activist and veteran ANC MP. He played a key role in the writing of the Freedom Charter, in particular its chapter dealing with economic equality. In November 2011, he broke party ranks and did not vote for the controversial Protection of Information Bill, also known as the Secrecy Bill. As co-chairman of Parliament’s ethics committee, he enforced strict compliance among MPs with the asset disclosure policy and presided over two controversial cases – those of former communications minister Dina Pule and ANC MP Yolanda Botha, who faced charges of fraud and corruption.

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Kaylan Massie and Debbie Collier Present Executive Salaries: Who Should Have a Say on Pay?

Executive SalariesIn Executive Salaries: Who Should Have a Say on Pay? the 2012 executive pay packages of 50 of South Africa’s largest and most influential listed companies are examined.

A 2006 study by Crotty and Bonorchis revealed that, on average, the CEOs got paid more than R15 million a year – more than 700 times the minimum wage in certain industries. The authors predicted that without government intervention, executive packages would continue to sky-rocket. Unfortunately these predictions have come true, despite employment equity measures and changes to corporate governance requirements in King III. The average cash and benefits package of the 50 CEOs studied in 2012 came to almost R13.1 million and, once the gains on the vesting and exercise of share options is included, this average rises steeply to almost R49 million.

South Africa’s widening income inequality and its history of racism, poverty and social unrest demand that something more be done to reverse this trend. But what will it take for companies to rein in excessive executive salaries? In Executive Salaries we consider these questions:

  • How do you strengthen the shareholder’s say on pay to ensure that the board of directors responsible for setting pay take into account multiple stakeholder interests?
  • Should the courts, the Department of Labour, employees, the tax man or the remaining 99% of society have a say on what the 1% are being paid?
  • How do you modify corporate governance standards, the tax code and labour legislation to achieve these goals?
  • How do we turn shareholders into activists and empower the workforce?
  • Is change only possible if a more fundamental shift in attitudes is achieved?

This book addresses these pressing issues and considers possible mechanisms to rein in excessive executive pay.

Without these interventions, South Africa will continue on a path of instability and unrest, while the rich get richer and the poor become poorer.

About the author

Kaylan Massie was born and raised in Canada. She received an Honours degree in Economics from Queen’s University and a Law degree from the University of British Columbia. During her university studies she received numerous academic awards and scholarships. After graduating from law school and completing her articles at one of the leading corporate law firms in Canada, Kaylan qualified as a Barrister and Solicitor in 2009. Upon qualification, she began practicing litigation, labour and employment law, representing clients before courts, the labour relations board and labour arbitrators. In 2011, she moved to South Africa with her husband and enrolled in postgraduate studies at the University of Cape Town. She graduated with distinction with a Master’s degree in Labour Law in 2012.

Debbie Collier
is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Commercial Law, Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and is an associate of the Institute of Development and Labour Law. After receiving her BA LLB from Rhodes University, Collier completed pupillage and later articles and practiced as an attorney in the Eastern Cape specialising primarily in employment law matters. In 2001, Debbie joined the UCT Law Faculty as an assistant lecturer and IT co-ordinator and was subsequently awarded her LLM and PhD at UCT. Debbie’s core teaching responsibilities, and primary field of research, is in employment law and development, with a focus on workplace discrimination and the law.

Ann Crotty was born in Ireland, and educated in Ireland, England, Wales and Malaysia. With an MA from Trinity College in Dublin and an MBA from University College, Dublin, she has always been hot on the heels of investment issues. Her MBA thesis covered the use of derivatives by the institutional investors in Dublin. In 2010 she received her MPhil in Company Law from UCT. Her thesis covered conflicts of interest presented by share repurchasing. Since first coming to South Africa, Crotty has risen through the ranks of South African journalism to become one of the best financial writers the country has to offer. From uncovering questionable incentive arrangements at Nedbank to her decisive work on executive pay, she never fails to keep her readers enthralled or incensed. Crotty was named journalist of the year in 2005, along with her colleague Renee Bonorchis, for their work on executive pay, which was published in Business Report. In 2006, Crotty was names Sanlam Financial Journalist of the year for her work on the contentious proposal to merge Sasol and Engen. In 2013 she won the Economy and Industry Section of the Sanlam Award for coverage of the farm workers’ protest in the Western Cape.

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Marianne Thamm’s To Catch A Cop: The Paul O’Sullivan Story Launched with Mervyn Sloman

Marianne Thamm

Marianne Thamm’s coiled energy, her street smarts and piercing curiosity have served her well as she’s taken on the larger-than-life subjects of her various books. The most recent, the story of Paul O’Sullivan, a private citizen who brought to justice the head of Interpol, South African police commissioner Jackie Selebi, was the focus of an event at The Book Lounge earlier this week.

Mervyn Sloman joined her in conversation to celebrate the launch of To Catch A Cop: The Paul O’Sullivan Story. “Besides being a wonderfully talented journalist and stand-up comic, Marianne has particular talent as a writer for the long book form,” said Sloman.

Marianne Thamm and Mervyn SlomanTo Catch A CopHe recalled The Last Right and I Have Life – Alison’s Journey, which was recently included on LIASA’s Librarians Choice List of the Top 20 South African books published for the first time from 1994 to 2014.

O’Sullivan is an Irish entrepreneur who moved to South Africa in the 90s. He has a remarkable tale to tell. When his bag was snatched at Johannesburg International Airport, he embarked on an investigation that eventually led to his appointment as head of security at Airports Company South Africa. Dealing with the crime wave at the airport, he quickly uncovered a nefarious web involving security companies, the police, business people and politicians. He is, however, a contentious figure.

Sloman mentioned that various publishers had wanted to print this story and a number of writers had been commissioned to tell it, but they had all “fled from it, screaming”. “Either the subject matter is too scary, or Paul O’Sullivan is too scary. Which is it?” he asked.

“Both!” Thamm replied. She said she’d sought to find a psycho-dynamic understanding of this enigmatic and powerful man with the remarkable drive to root out really dangerous people. “I wanted to understand what motivated him to go to such unbelievable lengths. Where you sell your plane, lose your job, create a little office at the bottom of your house with an organogram.” She reflected that it sounded like a movie, but the closest she got was to theorise that it had something to do with the fact that he came from a large, poor Irish family with a punishing father who sometimes accused him of doing things he didn’t do. “You don’t accuse Paul of doing something,” she said. “You don’t threaten him or force him into a corner.” For her, a priority was finding the “good guy” and that, in this case, is Paul O’Sullivan.

Thamm spoke of her interest in discovering what makes him tick, this man who was on a hit list, who managed to outwit the gunmen who arrived at his house to assassinate him! “You can’t ‘connect’ with Paul,” said Thamm. “He’s a very difficult person to find traction. I realised this was a book that had to be written from the outside in. He doesn’t let one ‘in’.”

Sloman highlighted the contrast between Mandy Wiener’s book, Killing Kebble, where the author inserts herself into the narrative, exploring the relationship she had with her subjects, and Thamm’s approach, where the narrator keeps her distance. “This is a national story, it’s a frightening story. It cuts across various strata of life and on many levels threatens democracy. Toward the end of the book you see Lolly Jackson and Radovan Krejcir,” he revealed.

The riveting conversation held all in the audience spellbound as Sloman quizzed Thamm on her experience with her truly remarkable and resilient subject.

* * * * * * * *

Liesl Jobson tweeted live from the event using the hashtag #livebooks

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Join Roger Ballen for an Asylum of the Birds Book Signing and Film Screening

Asylum of the BirdsJacana Media and David Krut Bookstore invite you to attend a book signing and film screening with Roger Ballen, whose new book of photography, Asylum of the Birds, was recently released.

The event will take place at David Krut Bookstore at Arts on Main on 13 April.

The short film created to coincide with the launch of Asylum of the Birds, directed by Ben Crossman, will also be screened.

Don’t miss this fascinating event!

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New Children’s Books: Refilwe by Zukiswa Wanner and I Know That! by Maryanne Bester

Jacana Media presents two new children’s books, Refilwe by Zukiswa Wanner, with illustrations by Tamsin Hinrichsen, and I Know That! by Maryanne Bester, with illustrations by Shayle Bester:


RefilweZukiswa Wanner brings young readers a retelling of the classic fairy tale, Rapunzel, with a uniquely South African twist. Refilwe is the story of the dreadlocked reading and singing beauty, Refilwe. This take on the classic tale will have the children chanting, “Refilwe, Refilwe let down your locks … so I can climb the scraggy rocks!”

This African tale is enriched with magical illustrations by Tamsin Hinrichsen that will keep all children entranced, and grow a love of reading.

Refilwe is available in Afrikaans, isiXhosa and isiZulu. This is a new title in the magical series of Best Loved Tales from our most loved authors. The Best Loved Tales are based on the original version but have been retold and illustrated for our African children.

About the author and illustrator

Zukiswa Wanner is a busy woman – a writer, a mother, an African and a woman – in that order. A founder member of the ReadSA initiative, she was also featured in M&G’s 200 Young South Africans List 2009, Africa Report‘s People to Watch 2010 and M&G’s Book of South African Women 2010.

Tamsin Hinrichsen is a Cape Town based illustrator of several local and international children’s books, including The Tale of Sun and Moon, Madiba Magic and Ten Green Bottles.


I Know That!The Bester sisters have a new addition to the “Cool Nguni” children’s book series. Gaps the Cool Nguni takes his “know-it-all” companion, the cattle Egret, on a gentle journey of discovery. The mysteries of the library are revealed in a fun and engaging way. I Know That! is filled with humour and silliness highlighted by the unique illustrations by Shayle Bester.

The cattle Egret tries to show everyone just how smart he is when really there is still so much to learn. In truth, he is so clueless that the young readers get to be the experts. The excursion through the library helps young readers engage in the world of books and reading. They also learn from little Egret that there is more to learning than just shouting, “I know that!”

I Know That! is available in English, Afrikaans, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, SiSwati and Xitsonga.

About the author and illustrator

Maryanne Bester and her sister, illustrator Shayle, are the creators of the “Cool Nguni” children’s picture books. They grew up on a Free State farm, where their father farmed cattle and sheep. They both graduated from the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg, Shayle majoring in Fine Arts and Maryanne in Dramatic Arts. Together they run a company as decorative painters and illustrators, specialising in children’s art. Maryanne and Shayle currently teach art to children.

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Join Thando Mgqolozana and Imraan Coovadia for the Launch of Unimportance at The Book Lounge

Launch of Unimportance by Thando Mgqolozana

UnimportanceJacana Media and The Book Lounge invite you to the launch of Unimportance by Thando Mgqolozana.

Unimportance is the gripping account of 12 anxiety-stricken hours in the life of Zizi, a university student and candidate in the upcoming SRC presidential election, and his struggle to balance his pristine public image with his darker private life.

“Surreal, challenging, cutting and funny” – Rachel Zadok, author of Sister-Sister (A Sunday Times Literary Award finalist.

The launch will take place on 11 April, and Mgqolozana will be in conversation with Imraan Coovadia, whose most recent novel is The Institute for Taxi Poetry.

See you there!

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EFF’s Floyd Shivambu Warns “There is a Revolution Coming in South Africa”

The Coming RevolutionFloyd Shivambu and Janet Smith spoke to Chris Vick on Power FM about their book, The Coming Revolution: Julius Malema and the Fight for Economic Freedom.

Shivambu, a former ANC member, joined Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters as Commissar and Chief of Staff earlier this year. Vick opens his interview by asking Shivambu about the title of the book; whether he really believes there is a revolution coming.

“Ja, there is a revolution coming in South Africa,” Shivambu replies. “It will be a socialist revolution that will be led by all the progressive working class forces, which the EFF is at the forefront of currently. So the revolution is going to come and part of that revolution will be the implementation of the seven cardinals that we speak about in the Economic Freedom Fighters.”

Smith, the executive editor of The Star, who co-authored the book with Shivambu, says she believes the EFF’s social movement captures “zeitgeist”, both in South Africa and the continent as a whole.

“I think that the EFF and Malema capture the zeitgeist whether you believe in it, whether you tap into it or not, it’s impossible to ignore. It’s a social movement unlike any other we’ve experienced in our country. And it also fits into this evolving picture on our continent; Tunisia, Egypt, north African revolutions. There’s the possibility here of something much greater than we realise.”

Listen to the podcast:

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