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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Betrayed by a friend and sold into human trafficking in Joburg: Grizelda Grootboom’s Exit!

Exit!Presenting Exit! – the story of Grizelda Grootboom’s life of prostitution and her ultimate escape from it all:

How does one enter an 18-year hell of drugs and prostitution? Through one of the world’s most evil and least-known criminal networks; human trafficking. Grootboom was one such victim, betrayed by a trusted friend and sold into the syndicate.

Click on the link below to watch Grootboom talk about her life experiences:

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Hers is not a one dimensional story; Grootboom offers us a layered South African narrative. Filled with complexity and painfully honest in its telling, we begin to understand the hopeless resignation that envelops so many women forced into this position. If you have been molested from the age of nine, if your whole life has been a never-ending story of poverty, family abandonment and dislocation, then when you find yourself trapped in the worst possible situation, the only way out seems to be to resign yourself to your plight.

But Grizelda found an Exit!

Right on time, the book arrives as government’s new national strategic plan for HIV prevention, care and treatment for sex workers is announced in March 2016. This is an issue that Grizelda deals with in her book.

About the author

Grizelda Grootboom is an activist against human trafficking who supports fellow survivors undergoing rehabilitation. She is currently working at Embrace Dignity, an NPO based in Cape Town. It is part of a growing global movement working to restore dignity for all people by advocating for law reform and public education to address commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

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Don’t miss the launch of The End of Whiteness: Satanism and Family Murder in South Africa by Nicky Falkof

The End of Whiteness: Satanism and Family Murder in South AfricaJacana Media and Love Books invite you to the launch of The End of Whiteness: Satanism and Family Murder in South Africa by Nicky Falkof.

The event takes place this evening – Tuesday, 5 April – at Love Books at 5:30 for 6:00 PM.

Satanism and family murder – bizarre responses to fear of change. This book examines the effects that apartheid may have had on those who benefited from it the most.

Don’t miss this fascinating discussion.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 5 April 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Love Books
    The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre
    53 Rustenburg Road
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Refreshments: Refreshments will be served
  • RSVP: Takalani,

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Satanism and family murder – bizarre responses to fear of change

The End of WhitenessNew from Jacana Media, The End of Whiteness: Satanism and Family Murder in South Africa by Nicky Falkof:

The End of Whiteness aims to reveal the pathological, paranoid and bizarre consequences that the looming end of apartheid had on white culture in South Africa, and overall to show that whiteness is a deeply problematic category that needs to be deconstructed and thoughtfully considered.

This book uses contemporary media material to investigate two symptoms of this late apartheid cultural hysteria that appeared throughout the contemporary media and in popular literature during the 1980s and 1990s, showing their relation to white anxieties about social change, the potential loss of privilege and the destabilisation of the country that were imagined to be an inevitable consequence of majority rule.

The “Satanic panic” revolved around the apparent threat posed by a cult of white Satanists that was never proven to exist but was nonetheless repeatedly accused of conspiracy, murder, rape, drug-dealing, cannibalism and bestiality, and blamed for the imminent destruction of white Christian civilisation in South Africa.

During the same period an unusually high number of domestic murder-suicides occurred, with parents killing themselves and their children or other family members by gunshot, fire, poison, gas, even crossbows and drownings. This so-called epidemic of family murder was treated by police, press and social scientists as a plague that specifically affected white Afrikaans families. These double monsters, both fantastic and real, helped to disembowel the clarities of whiteness even as they were born out of threats to it. Deep within its self-regarding modernity and renegotiation of identity, contemporary white South Africa still wears those scars of cultural pathology.

About the author

Nicky Falkof was born and raised in the Johannesburg suburbs during the last years of apartheid. She holds an MA in Critical Theory from the University of Sussex and a PhD from the London Consortium. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

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James Whyle to discuss his novels Walk and The Book of War in his Jacana Media Masterclass

Invitation to the James Whyle Master Class

Jacana Media is running a series of Masterclasses for aspiring writers in 2016 – the next one will be hosted by James Whyle.

All Masterclasses will be held on a Thursday at the Jacana offices in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. The cost of the class includes a copy of the author’s latest book.

The Book of WarWalk

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 31 March 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Jacana Media
    10 Orange Street
    Auckland Park
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Guest Speaker: James Whyle
  • Cover charge: R60 for students, R100 for everyone else (includes a copy of the author’s latest book)
  • RSVP: Jacana,

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A novel that rips a wormhole in the rainbow nation: Permanent Removal by Alan Cowell

Alan Cowell’s high-speed thriller rips a wormhole in the rainbow nation and throws us back to a time when right and wrong were fixed in blood and love came off second best.

- Charlotte Bauer

Permanent RemovalPermanent Removal is a beautifully written political thriller focusing on the nature of justice, truth, betrayal, socio-political and ethical quandaries, complicity and moral agency.

The novel introduces readers to a cast of players whose destinies intertwine in a particularly gruesome murder.

The novel is set in apartheid South Africa and the start of the Rainbow Nation. South African security forces set up a roadblock to intercept a car near the city of Port Elizabeth. Two of the four anti-apartheid activists in the car were secretly targeted for assassination. The police abducted the four and murdered them in cold blood. Their burnt bodies were found later near the Port Elizabeth suburb of Bluewater Bay. These murders are one of apartheid’s murkiest episodes.

On the day of the funeral, President PW Botha declared a State of Emergency. It was the beginning of the end.

They will use the flashing patrol light to force the sky-blue Honda to pull over – an old trick, but it often worked. They will manacle their captives and switch license plates. They will drive the four men back toward the dunes. In the first instance, there will be knives and bludgeons. Then gasoline to incinerate the bodies and the Honda. Dirty work, but someone had to do it.

Works such as Jacob Dlamini’s penetrating and discursive Askari and the recent publication on Eugene de Kock as state sanctioned perpetrator of various evils will be complemented in no small measure by this intriguing fictionalised exploration of political executions and culpability/loss during the apartheid heyday.

About the author

Alan S Cowell is an award-winning New York Times journalist. He was assigned to Johannesburg in the mid-1980s and was awarded the prestigious George Polk Award for courageous reporting. The government of the day ordered him to leave in early 1987 and he was not allowed to return until the early 1990s. Since then he has been a regular visitor, most recently covering the Oscar Pistorius trial and anchoring coverage of the death of President Mandela.

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Local anger is rising against South Africa’s ‘resource curse’

BRICS: An Anti-Capitalist CritiquePatrick Bond, University of the Witwatersrand

South African society’s conflict with a mainstay of the country’s corporate economy – resource extraction – is permanently on display in the platinum, gold and coalfields in the north and north-east of the country. Now communities on the country’s East Coast are confronting mining houses. This is the area that supplied Zulu and Xhosa workers to the mines. And now the mines are coming home.

The latest incident, which claimed the life of a leading anti-mining activist, comes as poorer South Africans feel the effects of soaring food, transport and electricity prices. The misery and anger is compounded by the fact that the government has been shrinking state welfare grants – not in nominal terms, but after adjustment for the cost of living.

Growing impatience with economic conditions has resulted in protests across the country reaching new levels of intensity. Violence against activists also appears to be intensifying.

Resistance is rising

On March 22 Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe, a grassroots critic of a proposed Australian dune-mining project on the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast, was shot at his home by assailants posing as police officers. The attack has shaken communities and environmentalists. A few weeks before his death, the Amadiba Crisis Committee, a local activist group, rejected an environmental impact assessment by titanium-hungry Mineral Commodities Limited, a Perth-based mining firm. The company has previously run into conflict with communities in Sierra Leone and Namaqualand.

The death of Rhadebe follows other acts of intimidation and violence. The week before, a few hours’ drive up the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, a lorry belonging to Bongani Pearce was set alight at midnight. Pearce lives near Somkhele, a vast coal mine run by Johannesburg-based Petmin. The attack came hours after Pearce led a militant community march to the local council.

Like the organisation led by Rhadebe, Pearce’s Mpukunyoni Community Property Association represents dozens of local villages whose residents are angered by high levels of corruption and maladministration. They believe this is largely due to collusion between local political elites and mining companies, and that it is robbing their community of its livelihood.

Resistance is rising as quickly as the price of commodities crashes: coal from a $170/tonne peak in 2008 to $50; and titanium from $8.80/kg in 2011 to $3.80. Mining profitability now requires replacing the 2002-11 era’s rising prices with much higher throughput – greater quantity at much lower prices. With this, the metabolism of the conflict is quickening.

Mining is blasting new holes in the social fabric.

Protests are increasingly common in areas mainly populated by rural women, including the former KwaZulu homeland strips to the east and west of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi game park, an area populated by a number of coal mining houses. Last week the Zululand Anthracite Colliery, until recently owned by RioTinto, suffered arson attacks by residents demanding jobs.

Reduced government spending

Setting aside ubiquitous corruption, government’s two major economic policy weaknesses are excessive fiscal stinginess for the poor, combined with intensified state investment in mining-supportive infrastructure.

After last month’s slow-motion-austerity budget was announced, 16.5 million poor people face cuts in the real value of grants by several percentage points. According to the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action, the cost of a poor household’s minimalist monthly R1,650 food basket rose 9% from November 2015 to January 2016. Annualised, that is more than 25% or, as the organiser’s lead researcher Julie Smith notes,

eight times higher than the average monthly increases over the preceding year.

The 3.5% grant increase Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan gave foster-care children and 6.1% provided to other dependent children has already evaporated. In February consumer price inflation rose to 7%. This is before state-owned electricity utility Eskom applies its 9.4% price hike.

Steeper increases in electricity and transport, coupled with higher food prices, mean that women are increasingly limited in the diversity of food they put in their shopping trolleys.

Food, transport and electricity account for about 90% of expenditure for most low-income Pietermaritzburg households, says Smith. This makes a mockery of the consumer price index weighting of less than 50% of the total household basket for these items. Subsidies for other basic-needs items have also been cut, including for municipal services and housing.

Infrastructure spend on the rise

In contrast, Gordhan budgeted R292 billion from 2016-18 for new transport and logistics infrastructure. This includes the two leading presidential strategic projects:

  • state-owned transport company Transnet’s new coal rail line to Richards Bay, aiming to export 18 billion tonnes; and

  • its South Durban port-petrochemical expansion, aiming to increase container traffic from 2.5 million to 20 million annually by 2040.

Gordhan gained the praise of ratings agency Moody’s senior vice president Kristin Lindow, who supports budget cutting, except when it comes to

preserving growth-supporting capital spending.

Even setting aside their contribution to growth-sapping climate change, including KwaZulu-Natal’s current drought, do such mega-projects really qualify?

Durban residents have seen billions in taxpayer funds breed a stampeding white elephant herd. These include a World Cup soccer stadium, convention centre and the uShaka Point development – all requiring ongoing subsidisation. Add to this the new King Shaka airport and Dube Tradeport, which suffer massive overcapacity.

At a Sharpeville Day commemoration this week, South Durban activists vowed to block the port-petrochemical expansion. This follows recent protests against container trucks in the area.

If the state continues to squeeze poor people’s daily budget and pour subsidies into mega-projects serving mining and shipping capital, revolts like these in President Jacob Zuma’s main patronage province will well up with growing vigour.

Like Rhadebe’s Amadiba Crisis Committee and so many other infuriated east coast residents, Pearce and the Somkhele activists intimately understand why South Africa is “resource cursed”. And like others opposed to state capture by dubious corporations and families, these communities vow to keep fighting no matter the rising danger.

The Conversation

Patrick Bond, Professor of Political Economy, University of the Witwatersrand

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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When the promise of democracy never materialises: Writing the Decline, the new book by Richard Pithouse

Writing the DeclinePresenting the much-anticipated new book from Richard Pithouse, Writing the Decline: On the Struggle for South Africa’s Democracy.

Pithouse, an activist intellectual who has been an important contributor to the South African public sphere for 20 years, offers a penetrating and beautifully written exploration of the escalating crisis in South Africa in the Zuma era.

Writing the Decline, often written with a view from the underside of society but also always acutely aware of global developments, brings activist and academic knowledge together to provide a searing account of our condition. It takes on xenophobia, racism, homophobia, inequality and political repression.

In a moment when old certainties are breaking down, and new ideas and social forces are taking the stage, this book offers a compelling invitation to take democracy seriously.

Praise for the book:

Richard Pithouse is one of the most elegant writers I know – and also lucid, rational and egalitarian in the best possible way.

- Niren Tolsi

This is writing that dresses the oppressed in human clothing.

- S’bu Zikode, founding president of Abahlali baseMjondolo

This collection by Richard Pithouse shows a deep commitment to connecting the struggles of vulnerable people across the globe, doing so with an enviable appreciation of history and structural analysis, and refusing to fall into the South African temptation of parochial analysis.

- Eusebius McKaiser, political analyst, broadcaster, lecturer and writer

The elegance of Richard’s writing is unparalleled, and the power of his arguments striking. This book reveals, in the starkest terms, what is at stake in the discourse and practice of emancipation in contemporary SA.

- Achille Mbembe, author of On the Postcolony

Richard Pithouse is one of our finest essayists. He is the proverbial canary in the coalmine.

- Sisonke Msimang, writer and activist

Richard Pithouse’s chronicle of the past seven years of struggles from South Africa’s underside … is written with such clarity, succinctness, and unusual beauty that it stands as a powerful testament of what it means to love a country, its people and their aspirations.

- Lewis Gordon, author of What Fanon Said

About the author

Richard Pithouse teaches politics at Rhodes University, where he lectures on contemporary political theory and urban studies. He writes regularly for journals and newspapers, both print and online, and his commentary is widely read.

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Don’t miss Sweet Medicine author Panashe Chigumadzi at the next iSwareyi in Joburg

Sweet MedicineDon’t miss Panashe Chigumadzi at an iSwareyi event in Johannesburg.

Chigumadzi will be reading excerpts from her debut novel, Sweet Medicine, and sharing her writing journey.

Tickets are free, but donations to the iSwareyi cause are welcome.

More about the event:

iSwareyi is a Joburg-based movement for the appreciation of our African identity manifested through artistic expression. The iSwareyi experience attempts to break down boundaries and create a community of urban people who celebrate the arts.

iSwareyi takes place on the #LastThursday of every month and features guests artists from varying genres | writers, musicians, fimmakers, poets, fine artsits. We provide a platform for artists and the space for debate and discussion.

This month we come Panashe Chigumadzi, author of Sweet Medicine to our stage.

Event Details

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Don’t miss the launch of Roger Southall’s The New Black Middle Class in South Africa with Hlonipha Mokoena at WiSER

The New Black Middle Class in South AfricaWiSER and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung invite you to the launch of Roger Southall’s new book, The New Black Middle Class in South Africa.

The speakers for the event are Hlonipha Mokoena and Mosa Phadi, with Eddie Webster as chair.

The launch takes place this evening, Tuesday, 15 March, at Wits University at 6 PM. Drinks will be served.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 15 March 2016
  • Time: 6 PM
  • Venue: WiSER Seminar Room
    6th Floor, Richard Ward Building
    East Campus
    Wits University | Map
  • Chair: Eddie Webster
  • Speakers: Hlonipha Mokoena and Mosa Phadi
  • Refreshments: Complimentary wine and juices
  • RSVP: Najibha Deshmukh,

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Attention African writers and photographers: Submissions for The Gerald Kraak Award and Anthology now open

From the Jacana Literary Foundation:

Submissions are now open for The Gerald Kraak Award and Anthology on the topics of gender, human rights and sexuality for a range of writing genres and photography.

The Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF), in partnership with The Other Foundation, invite writers, journalists, academics, bloggers, poets and photographers to submit for consideration exceptional works – published or unpublished – which explore, interrogate and celebrate the topics of gender, sexuality and human rights.

Rather than general discussions of these subjects, the judging panel seeks pieces which engage with gender and sexuality in ways that promote new insights into human rights matters on our continent.

Only the very best work submitted will be shortlisted and published in an anthology, with the winners to be announced at a 2017 award ceremony, hosted by The Other Foundation and attended by the authors of the top three submissions. The overall winner will receive a cash prize of R25,000.

Our aim is to ensure that the anthology and information about the award will be disseminated as widely as possible throughout the African continent. To this end, Africa World Press (Ethiopia), Amalion (Senegal), FEMRITE (Uganda), Kwani (Kenya), Weaver Press (Zimbabwe) and Word Weaver (Namibia) will be associated with this project. Other publishing houses based in Africa with an interest in participating are also encouraged to contact us.


The subject matter of the work must relate to gender, human rights and/or sexuality in Africa.

Works which fall within one of the following categories are accepted:

  • fiction
  • non-fiction
  • poetry
  • photography / photographic essays
  • journalism / magazine reporting
  • scholarly articles in academic journals and book chapters / extracts
  • social media / blog writings and contributions

Entries must have been created by a citizen of an African country, who lives and works on the continent.

Written submissions must be in English.

  • Up to three entries are permitted per author, across categories. Each entry must be submitted on a separate electronic entry form.
  • Materials must not exceed 15,000 words or 10 images.
  • We are looking for work which tells a story or illustrates an idea. If one photograph achieves this, then we welcome the submission of that single image. It is, however, more likely to be accomplished through a collection of photographs or a photographic essay.
  • No handwritten or hard copy entries can be considered. Submissions must be made via the web link specified below.
  • Entries must include a short biography (100 words maximum) and contact details. These should not be included on the work being submitted, as the award is judged blind and the author remains anonymous until the shortlist has been selected.
  • Submissions are considered to implicitly indicate the entrant’s permission for their work to be published in the anthology, if shortlisted, for no payment or royalty.


Closing date: 31 July 2016
Shortlist announced: 15 December 2016

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