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Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

The first full account, from the 1950s to 1994: Thula Simpson’s Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle

Umkhonto we SizwePresenting Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle by Thula Simpson:

The armed struggle waged by the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), was the longest sustained insurgency in South African history. This book offers the first full account of the rebellion in its entirety, from its early days in the 1950s to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as South African president in 1994.

Vast in scope, this story traverses every corner of South Africa and extends throughout southern Africa, where MK’s largest campaigns and heaviest engagements occurred, as well as to the solidarity networks that the rebellion mobilised around the world.

Drawing principally from previously unpublished writings and testimonies by the men and women who fought the armed struggle, this book recreates the drama, heroism and tragedy of their experiences. It tells the story of leaders like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Joe Slovo and Chris Hani, whose reputations were forged in the crucible of the armed struggle, but it is also a tale of martyrs such as Looksmart Ngudle, Ashley Kriel and Phila Ndwandwe, as well as of MK cadres such as Leonard Nkosi and Glory Sedibe, who would ultimately turn against the ANC and collaborate with the state in hunting down their former comrades.

Written in a fresh, immediate style, Umkhonto we Sizwe is an honest account of the armed struggle and a fascinating chronicle of events that changed South African history.

About the author

Thula Simpson is a senior lecturer in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies at the University of Pretoria and an editor of the South African Historical Journal. His previous research on the ANC’s armed struggle has been published in a number of journals, including the African Historical Review, African Studies, the Journal of Southern African Studies, the South African Historical Journal and Social Dynamics, as well as in edited book collections published by Wits University Press and the University of Cape Town Press. Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle is his first sole-authored book.

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“Walking the Walk: Standing up Against Racism”: Watch Zelda la Grange’s TEDxAmsterdam Talk

Good Morning, Mr MandelaGoeiemôre, mnr. MandelaZelda la Grange, former personal assistant to Nelson Mandela and author of Good Morning, Mr Mandela, recently presented a talk on standing up against racism at TEDxAmsterdam. Her book is also available in Afrikaans as Goeiemôre, mnr. Mandela.

In the video, La Grange tells the story of how she got the job in Mandela’s office. She only applied to work there because it was conveniently close to her family home. She says: “It was a bit of a dilemma for me. I didn’t see myself working for this new government because it was everything I opposed. But I thought ‘I’ll take a chance’.”

Two weeks into her new job, she says, she met “the man my people feared” – President Mandela. Being young and inexperienced, she “wanted to run away immediately”. But her learned fear and hatred of Mandela evaporated almost moments after meeting him.

Watch the video:

YouTube Preview Image

Read more about La Grange’s talk on the TEDxAmsterdam website:

“It is hard to overcome the damage of the past. It’s a long-term process. Just look at the aftermath of World War II or the reunification of Germany. This is 70 and 25 years ago – recent history. In Europe you can sense the scar tissue formed by these events. Our nation is still too young to present a shared history to the world. We are still too damaged and the scars of apartheid will take centuries to heal. One should never forget that history will judge what you do. History will teach us what is right and wrong, who was right and who was wrong. Today’s heroes can be tomorrow’s villains.”

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The Hardest Thing Lauren Beukes Has Ever Written, and Why She Wants to Eat Jennifer Egan's Brain

MaverickBroken MonstersThe Shining Girls

Lauren Beukes was recently interviewed by Alex Segura for Pen America about her “enthralling and immersive fiction”.

Segura asks Beukes about how she came to write for a living, and where she writes. The author admits that she would like to “absorb” Jennifer Egan’s powers, by means of eating her brain if necessary.

Beukes says that she would like to have been a anti-apartheid activist because the enemy was simple – she wishes that “current social issues were as easily defined and that there was a clear path of resistance.” This leads into a discussion of the hardest thing she has ever had to write:

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever put into words? Why does it stand out for you?

The most daring thing I’ve wanted to put into words was vetoed by my editor. I wanted to describe my terrified heroine’s heart thumping “like an avalanche of ponies.” I still like the metaphor. Can’t you just see it? The ponies tumbling down the scree, all clattering hooves and dust? But the hardest thing to write, which still upsets me and makes me sick and angry, was the essay I wrote, “All The Pretty Corpses,” about the murder of my cleaning lady’s daughter in 2010 and how I believed in the fairytale of justice until the moment in the prosecutor’s office when he told us he was going to have to throw the case out. It was devastating, and it has fed into how I write about violence—what it is, what it does to us, how we talk about it, what it means when we lose someone, how violence is shocking and contemptible, how we shouldn’t let this shit go.

Related stories:

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Kom vier Jack Parow – Die ou met die snor by die bar met Angola Badprop in Johannesburg

Uitnodiging na die bekendstelling van Jack Parow - Die ou met die snor by die bar

Jack Parow - Die ou met die snor by die barPenguin nooi jou graag na die bekendstelling van Jack Parow – Die ou met die snor by die bar deur Theunis Engelbrecht.

Die superster-rapper sal op Woensdag, 25 November met Angola Badprop gesels oor sy lewe en al sy wilde, mal avonture. Die gesprek begin om 18:00 vir 18:30. RSVP teen Vrydag, 20 November om ‘n sitplek te verseker.

In Jack Parow – Die ou met die snor by die bar vertel Parow sappige staaltjies oor wilde partytjies, warm bokkies, dodgy plekke en hy beantwoord taai vrae oor sy pet en sy snor.

Moenie dit misloop nie!


  • Datum: Woensdag, 25 November 2015
  • Tyd: 18:00 vir 18:30
  • Plek: Love Books
    Die Bamboo-sentrum
    Rustenburgstraat 53
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Gespreksgenoot: Angola Badprop
  • RSVP:, 011 726 7408


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Refinement and Rawness, Humility and Insight: Helen Walne on Reading Stephen Watson’s A Writer’s Diary

The DivingA new edition of A Writer’s Diary by Stephen Watson was recently published by Electric Book Works, and launched in a moving event at The Book Lounge. Helen Walne has written about her experience of reading the book, and recalls meeting the man himself.

Walne signed up for a Master’s in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town in 2005, and Watson was her initial, and temporary, supervisor, until that role was taken over by Henrietta Rose-Innes.

Watson passed away in 2011 after a battle with cancer, and Walne says in reading the book: “I realise how much I could have learned. How much I would have been understood.”

Walne’s debut novel, The Diving – the result of her Master’s degree – was published last year.

Read the piece:

In A Writer’s Diary, Stephen writes with both refinement and rawness, with both humility and insight, with both heart and appraisal. He rages against cliches and ‘word pollution’, and chisels at language with a sculptor’s hand. Yet, there is never a sense that this is someone who believes he is a custodian of truth. Rather, his are the musings of a writer aware of his own prism – a snow-globe swirling against a sometimes too-thick glass.

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"Last Week Made Me Realise How Much Like a Blunted Blade I Have Become" – Maire Fisher on #FeesMustFall

BirdseyeA week of student protests aimed at lower fees for tertiary education, and eventually free education, initially left Máire Fisher seething and frustrated.

“My son is a third-year student at UCT who has worked his butt off this year. So when the #FeesMustFall campaign started, I was really pissed off,” the Birdseye author writes in a recent column for The Times. However, as the week unfolded and voices on the ground grew louder than often sensationalist media reports, she came to understand the protests.

Read Fisher’s article to see why she says “last week made me realise how much like a blunted blade I have become” and what lessons she will be taking away from the #FeesMustFall protests:

I didn’t take #FeesMustFall seriously. I’ve grown so used to daily, if not hourly, news of corruption that I couldn’t see what good any further protest would do, besides disrupting study week and having a detrimental effect on exams.

Last week made me realise how much like a blunted blade I have become. I expect things not to work; I expect protests not to work; I’m apathetic and negative. I follow the news, and inject most of it with large doses of cynicism (the same cynicism I experienced at the beginning of the week, thinking the protesting students were probably hoping for exams to be postponed or cancelled because they were failing).

Follow these links for more about Fisher’s debut novel and her thoughts on creative writing:


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Cover Revealed for the North American Edition of Masande Ntshanga's The Reactive


The ReactiveThe cover for the North American edition of The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga has been revealed by his publisher in that region, Two Dollar Radio.

Two Dollar Radio acquired the rights to The Reactive in May – and optioned the rights to a film adaptation as well.

A second international publishing deal for The Reactive was sealed in June, when Verlag das Wunderhorn acquired the German rights.

Ntshanga shared the cover on Twitter:

The cover was designed by local illustrator Pola Maneli:

Two Dollar Radio shared a picture on Instagram:



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“What Elon is Doing is Insane”: Read an Excerpt from Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Elon MuskElon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of Spacex and Tesla is Shaping Our Future by Ashlee Vance is the story of the South African-born innovator and entrepreneur, and his personal dramas and exploits thus far.

Bloomberg recently shared an excerpt from the book, in which Vance relates Musk’s early attempts to get into space exploration. His peers through he was crazy and the people from whom he wanted to by a rocket considered him a big-talking novice but that wasn’t enough to stop him.

Read the excerpt:

In late October 2001, Elon Musk went to Moscow to buy an intercontinental ballistic missile. He brought along Jim Cantrell, a kind of international aerospace supplies fixer, and Adeo Ressi, his best friend from Penn. Although Musk had tens of millions in the bank, he was trying to get a rocket on the cheap. They flew coach, and they were planning to buy a refurbished missile, not a new one. Musk figured it would be a good vehicle for sending a plant or some mice to Mars.

Ressi, a gangly eccentric, had been thinking a lot about whether his best friend had started to lose his mind, and he’d been doing his best to discourage the project. He peppered Musk with links to video montages of Russian, European, and American rockets exploding. He staged interventions, bringing Musk’s friends together to talk him out of wasting his money. None of it worked. Musk remained committed to funding a grand, inspirational spectacle in space and would spend all of his fortune to do it. And so Ressi went to Russia to contain Musk as best as he could. “Adeo would call me to the side and say, ‘What Elon is doing is insane. A philanthropic gesture? That’s crazy,’” said Cantrell. “He was seriously worried.”

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A Musical Exploration of The Seed Thief: Listen to the Playlist that Inspired Jacqui L'Ange's Story

The Seed ThiefBefore the release of The Seed Thief, author Jacqui L’Ange shared a playlist on her blog of songs that inspired the story.

The Seed Thief is L’Ange’s striking and richly imagined debut novel which moves from Table Mountain to the heart of Afro-Brazilian spiritualism.

Lovers of Brazilian music will especially enjoy this collection of songs, which have been shared on Rdio, Spotify and Simfy.

Read the article and listen to the music:

If you’re into Brazilian music, you’ll find something to love here. (It’s not all Brazilian, but most of it is, since you can never have too much of that.) If you’re discovering these songs for the first time, I hope they’ll kick off a journey of new musical exploration.


Also read:

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Spanish Translation of Henrietta Rose-Innes' Nineveh to be Launched in Mexico in October

Green LionNinevehHomingThe Rock AlphabetShark's Egg

Henrietta Rose-Innes has announced that her novel Nineveh will soon be launched in Mexico.

The Spanish translation of Nineveh will be published by Mexican publisher Almadia and Rose-Innes will be at the Oaxaca International Book Fair to launch the book in October.

Follow Henrietta Rose-Innes on Facebook for more:

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Image: Martin Figura

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