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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Out of His Mind: Snippets from Zapiro’s New Book, DemoCrazy

DemoCrazyOprah Magazine has shared a few cartoons from Democrazy by Zapiro, South Africa’s favourite satirist.

DemoCrazy features the best of Zapiro’s insightful and razor-sharp cartoons from the past 20 years. The cartoons in this snippet are about Thuli Madonsela and the Nkandla Report debacle.

See the excerpt:


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Podcast: Marianne Thamm on the Man that Brought Down Jackie Selebi in To Catch A Cop

To Catch A CopDaily Maverick assistant editor Marianne Thamm spoke to John Maytham on 567 CapeTalk about her book, To Catch A Cop: The Paul O’Sullivan Story.

To Catch A Cop follows the events that lead to the arrest of then South African police commissioner Jackie Selebi, and the role played by Paul O’Sullivan, an ordinary citizen who stood up against corruption.

Thamm told Maytham that it is important for everyone to have a kernel of hope that there are some people who are willing to go up against the “immovable wall of the corrupt and the greedy”.

Thamm spoke about her interactions with O’Sullivan, how she spent a terrifying week with him in Johannesburg, and how she’s come to trust and respect this contentious Irish figure.

Listen to the podcast:

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Caine Prize Writers Okwiri Oduor, Efemia Chela and Diane Awerbuck Launch The Gonjon Pin with Henrietta Rose-Innes

Diane Awerbuck, Okwiri Oduor, Efemia Chela and Henrietta Rose-Innes

Despite the chilly winter’s evening, the launch of the 2014 Caine Prize anthology, The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories, was a decidedly festive affair at Cape Town’s Book Lounge.

It kicked off with Mervyn Sloman, the independent bookshop’s proprietor, receiving a communal grammar lesson from the editors in the front row of the audience, and ended, an hour later, with him collapsing with mirth at the various hilarious insights and observations that flew from the stage. There was a superb turnout of writers and readers who, like Sloman, were seen wiping tears of merriment from their eyes.

nullThe Gonjon Pin and Other StoriesThe 2006 winner of the prize, Henrietta Rose-Innes, welcomed this year’s winner, Okwiri Oduor, and two of the runners up, Efemia Chela and Diane Awerbuck. Rose-Innes spoke about the growth of the prize, which is in its 15th year. She described it as the most important event on the calendar of African writing.

The anthology includes the shortlisted stories as well as a series of stories that were written at the annual Caine Prize Workshop which fosters up-and-coming African writers. Rose-Innes described the book as “particularly beautiful this year” with superb work from a range of talented writers, in particular Tendai Huchu and Billy Kahora.

“It seems to have been received very well,” Rose-Innes said. “The judges are not always the kindest, but the comments that came out from the judging panel were extraordinary with Jackie Kay announcing ‘a golden age for the African short story’.”

Rose-Innes reflected that although the Caine Prize has been quite controversial in the past, she sensed 2014 was its coming of age: “There were a record number of entries this year, with 140 entries that arrived from 17 African countries.”

Chela recalled the online chitchat in the run-up to the event, the speculation on which story was the best and the criticism that labelled them all as “terrible”. She said, “We were interviewed at the BBC several times, and met people who use the Caine Prize as the benchmark for new talent. As a young writer, this is extremely exciting. There’s a feeling that the stories this year set a different range. Each year brings its own variety. There’s my story that has squirting lesbians, there’s Okwiri’s story that has dying fathers, Diane’s story that has night swimming, nude swimming, so … there isn’t exactly a typical African aesthetic.”

Awerbuck observed how differently the stories and the prize were viewed here and in London. She said, “In Cape Town there is a lot of content being generated with few platforms for it to go out onto, but in the UK there seems to be a hunger for content, because there are structures in place to sell it. There were agents and filmmakers that seem to want African content. If you’re going to be an African writer, be one now!”

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Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted from the launch using #livebooks:


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Presenting Dutch Historian Martin Bossenbroek’s The Boer War: A Must-read for History Buffs

The Boer WarJacana Media is delighted to announce the imminent local Afrikaans and English publication of De Boerenoorlog by Dutch historian Martin Bossenbroek:

The book will be published as The Boer War in English and Die Boereoorlog in Afrikaans.

The Southern African rights were awarded to Jacana Media by originating publishers Athenaeum – Polak & Van Gennep (Amsterdam) after short but fierce bidding between South African publishers at the end of 2013.

In the book, Bossenbroek gives the reader the full story of the Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1902) with an in-depth insight and detail previously unmatched. He follows three colourful main characters: the Dutch lawyer, South African Republic state attorney, state secretary and eventual European envoy Willem Leyds; the soon-to-be-immortalised British war-reporter Winston Churchill; and the Boer guerrilla and one-day South African politician Deneys Reitz. Bossenbroek’s riveting new account of the war is a must-read for all South African history buffs, for all who loved Thomas Pakenham’s classic bestseller The Boer War.

Bossenbroek won the National Dutch History Prize 2013 for the book and was shortlisted for the 2013 AKO Literature Prize, both preeminent Dutch literary prizes. Jacana is publishing a hard-back special edition of the Afrikaans translation in October 2014, and will publish the English and Afrikaans paperback editions simultaneously in early 2015. These exciting new translations will cement the critical acclaim already received by Bossenbroek and offer the South African reader the chance to savour his storytelling powers.

About the author

Martin Bossenbroek is an associate professor and historian at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. He graduated from the Free University of Amsterdam in 1980 and received his doctorate from the University of Leiden in 1992. He is the author of many scholarly articles and De Boerenoorlog is his seventh published book.

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Adults Only Launched with Hot Sauce at The Book Lounge

Adults Only!

The temperature at the Book Lounge went up a couple of degrees on a chilly winter’s night when the second annual Short Sharp Stories Award anthology was launched. Editor and curator of the award, Joanne Hichens, welcomed an impressive number of contributors, quizzing each one in a quick and dirty interview about the short story they had sent into Adults Only: Stories of love, lust, sex and sexuality.

Adults Only

Hichens referred to Bloody Satisfied, the inaugural anthology launched last year, saying, “What else is there once you’ve done crime? You might as well do sex …”

She introducted Kagure Tiffany Mugo, who won the Publishers Choice award, “In your recent column you stated that African women were hot in their own right, not because we’re the offspring of the ‘exotic, erotic native’ from the colonialists’ dreams. We are not ‘motherland beautiful’, we are not mysterious, we are not ‘bizarre in our beauty’. We are just hot.”

She praised her story “Coming into Self-Awareness” about a woman who discovers what she wants and marvelled at the bravery that enabled Mugo to be so sexually explicit.

The next writer, Sean Mayne, received the Judges Choice award, for his story, which provided her with a grand belly-laugh. “It is subtle and clever, very tongue-in-cheek in its use of suspension of disbelief, makes the theatre of the absurd seem totally plausible.” She said “Bring on the Clowns” offered readers the luxury of laughing out loud.

Alex Smith‘s “The Big Toad” was highly commended. Hichens described it as “a fresh and fun fantasy, an imaginative tour de force that proves writing about sex can lead you down any number of different paths.” This “madam and maid” story was loved by the readers for its freshness, fantasy and fun.

“Wamuwi Mbao is a literary writer that challenges the reader,” Hichens said. “I found his story ‘The Ninth Wave’ mesmerising. It was really like riding a wave!” She praised the poetry of the story, reflecting how he turned the tables with an obsessive male character.

A number of stories in Adults Only have no actual sex, but it is suggested rather than made explicit. Hichens pondered the eternal debate as to what makes good sex writing. “For some it’s suggestion, for others, they want to read it on the page. In Ken Barris’ Highly Commended story, ‘Louka in Autumn’, the graphic descriptions happened in relation to scenery, dialogue and reflection. This enhances the poignancy as the protagonist enters the autumn of his life. In this case, the sex is remembered.”

Carla Lever chatted next about ‘Soetkoek Special’, which Hichens said contained enormously evocative language. “The local bakery in the small dorp is not all it seems in this suggestive and humorous story of a business run by an older woman with a naughty streak.”

Hichens said that Eugene Yiga’s funny story ‘Peaked’ guaranteed laughs. “But there is a seriousness about the underlying themes that touch on many issues, as two men at a gay pride march chat it up,” she said.

Chantelle Gray’s completely hard-hitting BDSM fantasy had an extreme edge to it. She described it as possessing a searing sexual need at the core of “The Most Tender Place”. “This is one of the stories that has provoked the most reactions,” she said.

“Dudumalingani Mqombothi’s Highly Commended ‘The Streetwalkers’ is another thought-provoking story, that one might not expect to find in a collection like this. There is a prostitute and a man, a student, trying to find his father in Cape Town. It is a very streetwise and very different exploration of the underlying theme of the absent father, and whether this influences the way women are treated.”

Next in the limelight was Alan Walters, the oldest contributor to the anthology, claims an interesting literary heritage, albeit a somewhat inverted one. The father of Sarah Lotz said he had entered under strict instructions. He had never written a short story before and was thrilled that his first efforts had been included. Hichens said she loved the fact that the Short Sharp Stories competition provides space for all types of writing. “While looking for the literary as well as the commercial you discover a range of authors and voices. Alan Walters’ ‘A Threesome in a New South Africa’ was another story that elicited wildly differing responses, from ‘it’s porn’ to ‘guffaws of pleasure’.”

Efemia Chela, on the the opposite end of the scale, was the youngest contributor: “This Caine-prize nominee wrote ‘Perigee’ that takes us ack to student days, to issues of sexual identity and experimentation. Her story is also a sort of threesome, as well as a search for sexual identity.”

Donvé Lee won the Editor’s Choice’s prize for “The Mirror”. Hichens said this was human, tender narrative brought the eternal questions of body image to the fore. Lee’s intimate story explores ageing. “Your story brought tears to my eyes – and of course brings in the power of photography, the way the photographs of a woman’s body are manipulated on the computer,” said Hichens.

Jo Stielau, a second-time Short Sharp Stories published author, wrote “The Meat in the Crosshairs”, which is a different take on voyeurism. “In this instance, the audience is a therapy group. As the story unfolds, so does Jo Stielau’s wicked sense of humour,” Hichens said.

The evening ended with a reflection on Christine Coates’s Highly Commended work, “The Cat’s Wife”. Hichens said this was, “a jolly romp that refuses to take itself too seriously. The central character comes into her own … what 50 Shades could have been.”

More than a few folks were observed to be fanning themselves discreetly as the steamy content condensed on the book shop’s windows. One could even believe that the pages of the books became a little crinkly from the surplus moisture in the atmosphere!

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


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Discover the First People of the Cape of Good Hope with an Excerpt from The Side of the Sun at Noon

The Side of the Sun at NoonIn The Side of the Sun at Noon Hazel Crampton explores the rumours of the mysterious Chobona people, who lived in stone houses deep in the interior of South Africa in the mid-seventeenth century when the Dutch first settled at the Cape of Good Hope.

In years to come historians would dismiss the Chobona as fantasy, blaming the stories on what they believed to be the over-active imagination of Eva, a young so-called Khoikhoi girl who was the main interpreter for the Dutch.

This historical narrative is a rollicking read, a quest, a journey of discovery.

Read an excerpt from Crampton’s book by flipping through the first part of The Side of the Sun at Noon with this preview shared by Jacana Media:

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Gripping Excerpt from Sam and Me and the Hard Pear Tree by Jami Yeats-Kastner

Sam and Me and the Hard Pear TreeSam and Me and the Hard Pear Tree, Jami Yeats-Kastner’s gripping true story, is both a personal account of a mother’s ultimate loss and a universal message of growth and hope. It is centred on the loss of their young son, Sam, and the deeply spiritual path that this sets her on.

Yeats-Kastner writes in the introduction: “This book is about so much more than a tree, obvioulsy. It’s aobut how my son Sam sent me a message from the other side, using all his power to make the message strong enough to be captured in this physical world. And that is what finally gave me the courage to share it.”

Start reading the book by flipping through the first part of Sam and Me and the Hard Pear Tree with this extract shared by Jacana Media:

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Join Gillian Vernon at the Launch of Even the Cows Were Amazed in Cape Town

Even the Cows Were Amazed: Shipwreck Survivors in South-East Africa, 1552-1782The Cape Natural History Club and Jacana Media would like to invite you to the launch of Even the Cows Were Amazed by Gillian Vernon.

The launch will be held at The Athenaeum in Newlands, on 5 September at 8 PM. Vernon will be speaking about shipwrecks in South East Africa between 1552 and 1782, and the fascinating stories of people who survived them.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Friday, 5 September 2014
  • Time: 8:00 PM
  • Venue: The Athenaeum
    Boundary Terraces (opp WPCC)
    1 Mariendahl Lane
    Newlands | Map
  • RSVP: Sheila,, 021 782 1620

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Dominique Luck and Joanne Lillie Present Surviving Flight 295: Life After the Helderberg

Surviving Flight 295Jacana presents Surviving Flight 295: Life After the Helderberg – the Memoir of Dominique Luck – the story of the worst air disaster in the history of South African aviation, and a daughter who lost her mother:

“I can’t recall how she cooked my eggs for breakfast, or what scent she preferred, or which song was her favourite. I don’t know what her favourite colour was or if she’d ever had her heart broken, but I remember the weight of her love, how a room felt with her in it.”

2017 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Helderberg plane crash. It was an event that shocked the nation and for eight-year-old Dominique Luck (nee Ackermann), it was the defining moment of her young life. Her mother, Gina, and baby sister, Samantha, were killed when flight SA 295 plunged into the Indian Ocean off Mauritius at midnight on 28 November 1987. There were no survivors.

Speculation immediately spread about the cause of the fire that caused the crash and possible political motivations, but despite renewed investigation during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the answers have never been forthcoming. For nearly 30 years Dominique and other family members of the ill-fated passengers have been struggling to rebuild shattered lives and find personal closure. Dominique’s father, Jean Ackermann, never recovered and left her to her own devices.

After excelling in school in a bid to win his acknowledgement – and failing – Dominique attempted alternately to escape and numb her pain, but her true crisis came when her own children were born, and her marriage threatened to fall apart. The trauma of losing her mother was brought to the fore and forced her to face up to the issues she had suppressed her whole life. In reaching out for help, at last, she began a painful process of recovery.

Dominique’s story is paralleled by other children of the Helderberg victims, such as Peter Otzen (now 27), who was born just 10 days after the crash which killed the father he never met, and contemporary artist Lyndi Sales (40), who lost her father when she was 14, and pours her emotions into internationally acclaimed works of art. Surviving Flight 295 puts all-too-human faces to one of the many tragedies of the apartheid regime’s maladministration and deceit, but at its heart it is Dominique Luck’s story. Surviving Flight 295 sees Dominique realising that it is only in finally leaving her mother behind that she herself can move towards hope and healing. It is a mother-daughter love story and a tale of personal grief and redemption that will resonate with the many South Africans who have experienced or been witness to loss.

About the author

Joanne Lillie is the former deputy editor of Shape magazine and editor of Discovery magazine and has been writing professionally for 14 years. Joanne currently works as a freelance journalist and editorial consultant and her work has appeared in titles such as Psychologies, Fairlady, Reader’s Digest, Men’s Health, Sports Illustrated, Runner’s World, Bicycling, Fit Pregnancy, Your Baby, Child, News Now as well as the Mail & Guardian, The Citizen and The Star.

In addition to media work, Joanne writes and edits educational dossiers and manages projects for health-focused corporates.

Joanne’s awards include two Picas for health journalism, the Novo Nordisk Media Prize, and the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism from the Carter Center in Georgia, USA, to study maternal and infant mental health. She is passionate about telling meaningful human-interest stories, and in particular those exploring the mother-daughter bond. Joanne lives in Cape Town with her husband and two young daughters.

Book details

  • Surviving Flight 295: Life After the Helderberg – the Memoir of Dominique Luck by Joanne Lillie and Dominique Luck
    EAN: 9781431409365
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Embark on a Walking Tour at The Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens for Arbor Day

Arbor Day with Jacana Media


Come celebrate Arbor Day and the Year of the Lavender Tree with Jacana Media and The Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. Nature lovers can enjoy a guided walking tour of the botanical gardens with a tree expert and the Jacana Sappi Tree Spotting series. The tour will start at 8:00 AM on Saturday, 6 September 2014.

Sappi: What's in a Name?Sappi Tree Spotting: HighveldSappi Tree Spotting Highlands
SAPPI Tree SpottingSAPPI Tree Spotting KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern CapeSAPPI Tree Spotting CapeSAPPI Tree SpottingSappi Tree Spotting: Lowveld


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