John Carlin, author of Invictus, has written an article for The Independent UK, remembering the first democratically elected president’s first news conference: “We in the press realised we were in the presence of one of the towering figures of modern times. The hype had been true. He had the air, the grace and command of a man born to be king.” Carlin was The Independent‘s South African correspondent from 1989 to 1995.
In this article Carlin writes in detail about his experience as a journalist during the formative years of the new South Africa, also recalling the moment Mandela walked on to the rugby field after the Springboks won the 1995 Rugby World Cup. “When Mandela walked on to the pitch before the start of the final wearing a green Springbok shirt – another masterly political stunt – the whole of white South Africa, or rather the distinctly right-wing element of white South Africa that the rugby devotees in that stadium represented, fell at his feet.”
On 11 February 1990, the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison, only a handful of people knew what he looked like.
Such had been the resonance of the “Release Mandela” campaign that his was one of the best-known names in the world. Yet had he wandered unannounced that afternoon into Cape Town’s Parade, where 50,000 people were waiting for him, and mingled among the crowd, no one would have known who he was.
The concern that a lot of us who were on his side felt was that he would fall short of the vast expectations his legend had generated. On a couple of counts, he did not let us down. He was quite as dapper as we had been led to believe he had been in the 1950s, when he used to have his suits made at the same tailor as the gold-and-diamond magnate Harry Oppenheimer; and he had a fabulous 1,000-volt smile.
Jerm, author of Jerm Warfare and cartoonist for ENCA, commemorated the late Nelson Mandela with a poignant cartoon of an empty chair by a fireplace with photographs of Mandela’s life framed on the walls.
Jerm wrote on his website: “This is the most difficult cartoon that I have ever drawn. I didn’t want to do it.”
“Looking at changes to the African rankings in the World Bank’s Doing Business index over the years, it is remarkable how few changes have actually been made in Africa, with regard to the 10 indicators the index tracks,” writes Dianna Games, author of Business in Africa, in a recent column for Business Day.
She writes that “this is especially noticeable in the poorest countries, which most need to improve their regulatory and operating environments.”
In my early days of trawling Africa for information many years ago, I spoke to a wise old hand — an international bureaucrat who had travelled Africa while working for the World Bank — about why it was proving to be so difficult to improve the business environment.
It took only political will, not money, I argued, to change regulations to make it much easier to do business. He laughed at my naivety and said political will was a much bigger problem than money would ever be. Any change to business regulations, or the removal of other impediments to business, usually meant someone had to give up some power, thereby reducing their relevance in the system.
“It’s definitely not a straight and simple narrative, and while I was aware that I was putting demands on the reader, I wanted to reopen the beauty of literature,” Karen Jayes says about her award-winning novel, For the Mercy of Water, in a recent interview with Thomas Okes for O, The Oprah Magazine.
Jayes discusses the way in which we construct our own truths and explains why she chose water as the contested resource at the centre of her book: “Water is a life force; it’s there in the frailty of every human body, in the delicacy and beauty of each flower and creature.”
One of the most striking aspects of this book is its complexity – it plays with layers and metaphors …
KJ: It’s definitely not a straight and simple narrative, and while I was aware that I was putting demands on the reader, I wanted to reopen the beauty of literature. For me, writing is dynamic – every action has depth, and is worth describing in its entirety. When you write about someone taking a bath, for instance, you have to see and show it for what it is, and a bath can be something quite magnificent at different times in your life. There’s no other medium, apart from fiction, that can do justice to that moment. I wanted to help the reader see the beauty in everyday things.
Mary Watson spoke to Kelly Ansara from It’s a Book Thing about her literary thriller The Cutting Room, in which she uses some of the elements of gothic fiction such as the haunted house. “I wanted to write a story about criminals, ghosts and buildings. A haunted house seemed good way to integrate some of my main ideas,” Watson says.
Watson also reveals her favourite scene from the novel, and the book that changed her life:
1) How would you classify The Cutting Room?
It’s something of a hybrid book. It has been described it as a literary thriller because it engages with genre while retaining features of a more literary novel.
“It might be wise for South African Airways (SAA) to revisit the history books before it makes a decision,” Dianna Games, author of Business in Africa, writes in a column for Business Day. She is referring to the “proposed West African hub and engagement with the Nigerian government to build capacity for a yet-to-be-launched national carrier.”
Any move to improve air connections in Africa is to be welcomed. But it might be wise for South African Airways (SAA) to revisit the history books before it makes a decision about a proposed West African hub and engagement with the Nigerian government to build capacity for a yet-to-be-launched national carrier.
In the case of Nigeria, our national carrier has entered into one joint venture, which ended badly, and nearly entered a second partnership that was scuppered at the last minute.
To celebrate the publication of her new cookbook, Cook from the Heart (also available in Afrikaans as Kook uit die hart), Alida Ryder is giving away six signed copies on her blog: two in English, two in Afrikaans and two which will be given to international readers. The winners will also receive one of the custom-made wooden spoons Ryder had made for the launch of the book.
Ryder has shared some of the photographs from the book and from the media launch. To stand a chance of winning, comment on Ryder’s post on her blog, Simply Delicious, with what emotion inspires you most to cook/eat and what you like to cook/eat when you are experiencing that emotion. Don’t forget to use your correct email address and to say where you’re from and, if you’re a local, whether you want to win the English or Afrikaans edition.
Image courtesy Simply Delicious
Roads Less Travelled: Ultimate Braai Master by Justin Bonello features recipes from the second season of The Ultimate Braai Master, South Africa’s first original reality-based television series.
Try this delicious recipe for Fire-Baked Lemon Tart, which can be found in Bonello’s book:
Fire-Baked Lemon Tart
200 g castor sugar
juice of 4 lemons
400 ml double cream
a small handful or raspberries and blueberries
a sprinkling of icing sugar
Jackie Cameron’s restaurant Hartford House was voted as the fifth best restaurant in South Africa at this year’s Eat Out DStv Network Awards. Eat Out recently featured her recipe for Creamy Mussel Soup on their website, citing that the dish “blew guests away” at the gala dinner.
Try Cameron’s soup:
Jackie Cameron’s Mussel Soup
1 litre white wine
400g fresh mussels
35g salted butter
30ml sunflower oil
200g sliced onions
8g fresh garlic
100g (bulbs) fennel
150g, peeled and cubed potatoes