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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Understanding Mathews Phosa’s Poetry and Essays – Muxe Nkondo at the Launch of Chants of Freedom

Chants of FreedomProfessor Muxe Nkondo delivered a moving speech recently at the launch of Mathews Phosa’s first English poetry anthology, Chants of Freedom: Poems Written in Exile.

Nkondo’s speech, entitled “The Self in Political Space and the Future of Fundamental Change: Understanding Mathews Phosa’s Poetry and Essays”, focuses on the poet’s enduring conviction that all human beings are worthy of respect and dignity.

Nkondo provides the reader with a glimpse at the convictions that frame the poet’s political and moral life through a discussion of a selection of Phosa’s poetry, including the stirring Afrikaans poem, “Wie is ek”.

“The preccupation with dignity, work, and public action reveals in Mathews Phosa’s sensibility a double endowment,” Nkondo writes. “There is an urge towards individuality, towards the realisation of the independent self; and there is an impulse to belong, to contribute to the public good.”

Read the speech for brilliant insight into one of the greatest minds of our time:


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Video: Elon Musk Reveals His Favourite Fictional Spacecraft

Elon Muskio9 recently shared a video in which South African-born entrepreneur Elon Musk revealed his favourite fictional space ship.

The innovator behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity has one vision in mind: To save our planet. The entrepreneur’s biography, Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of Spacex and Tesla is Shaping Our Future by Ashlee Vance, will be published by Penguin Random House this month.

In the video Musk talks about a future mission to Mars, what he would do if he was the head of NASA and where his passion for space comes from. “I was always a big fan of science fiction movies and books,” Musk says, adding that his favourite fictional spacecraft is the Heart of Gold from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Watch the video:

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io9’s Charlie Jane Anders shared a passage from a previous interview in which Musk talks about the impact that Douglas Adams’ book had on his life and his career:

I guess when I was around 12 or 15…I had an existential crisis, and I was reading various books on trying to figure out the meaning of life and what does it all mean? It all seemed quite meaningless and then we happened to have some books by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer in the house, which you should not read at age 14

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Mathews Phosa Launches Chants of Freedom in the Company of Kgalema Motlanthe and Julius Malema

Chants of FreedomLegendary freedom fighter and poet, Mathews Phosa, recently launched his first English poetry anthology, Chants of Freedom: Poems Written in Exile, in the Senate Room at the University of the Witwatersrand.

The event took place on Tuesday, 2 June, and was hosted by the Wits History Project. The Wits University Senate House was filled with Phosa’s family, friends and colleagues who came to listen to him read from his new collection. Former President Kgalema Motlanthe and professors Phil Bonner and Muxe Nkondo provided insight into Phosa’s work, while the people’s poet Mzwake Mbuli gave a stirring performance, accompanied by praise singers.

Indelible Media shared a video from the event in which Motlanthe said: “We who live in the post-apartheid South Africa are afforded the unique way of looking into our pre-democratic past. Let us therefore be thankful that we had poets such as Dr Phosa to reflect back to us the highs and lows of the Struggle in ways only poets can.”

Phosa’s friend and EFF leader Julius Malema was also in attendance: “I am here to receive wisdom from an elder who was in exile who stood the test of time. Most of the time we have very good messages, but the problem is that we speak to ourselves. His capacity to speak and write in different languages puts him in a better position to speak to different constituencies, different people and even people who may not be interested in political poetry.”

Watch the video:


City Buzz attended the launch and shared an article and photographs on their website. Read Racine Edwardes’s report of the poetry event:

Chants of Freedom is Phosa’s first book written in English and is a compilation of the poems he wrote while in exile during apartheid.

After giving thanks to all the people who contributed towards publishing the book, Phosa read a poem, Comrade Your Are Not a Traitor. “It’s very difficult for me to read this – I get very emotional,” he said.

Highly respected by the country’s citizens, Phosa is a struggle icon, and his work speaks volumes about what he has done for the country and, furthermore, provides insight into the oppression of the past.

For more images of the event, visit Penguin Books South Africa on Pinterest:


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Podcast: Christopher Hope Talks About His Charmed and Incorrigibly Serene Hero in Jimfish

JimfishJenny Crwys-Williams recently interviewed Christopher Hope about his new book, Jimfish, for her CapeTalk/702 radio show.

Crwys-Williams asked Hope five questions about the novel and the ideas that inform it. The author explained the origin of the title Jimfish, and how the slightly derogatory term relates to his slippery, fairy-tale character.

Jimfish, Hope says, is a character who “appears to be charmed” because he faces improbable quantities of trouble, and “somehow or another he emerges on the other side serene, and on he goes.”

Listen to the podcast (the interview starts at 25:40):


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Racy, Honest and Wickedly Funny: Pamela Power’s Debut Novel Ms Conception

Ms ConceptionNew from Penguin Random House South Africa: Ms Conception – balance is a foreign concept for Jo de Villiers as she juggles two kids, a hubby and career:

Jo has a three-year-old son, a six-month-old baby and a husband who’s feeling left out. Her marriage to Nick and her job as a scriptwriter for a local soapie both seem to be heading south, along with her breasts. Between toddler tantrums, dirty nappies, potty training and the nursery-school run, she squeezes in writing assignments and meetings, while dealing with a boss from hell, a self-centred mother, an overly genteel mother-in-law and the “Blonde Bob Brigade”.

But will she be able to hang on to her job, and what is she going to do about the floozy who is pursuing her man? With the help of her George Clooney-lookalike therapist Jake and best friend Jasmine, Jo discovers an unusual remedy for an ailing relationship …

Racy, honest and wickedly funny, suburban life with small children has never been so entertaining.

About the author

Pamela Power was born in Pietermaritzburg, and educated in Zimbabwe, Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg. She trained as an Aids counsellor and worked with a drama-in-Aids-education company and got involved in stand-up comedy. She has worked as a director and scriptwriter on South African television shows Top Billing, Generations and Muvhango. In addition to her writing work, Pamela co-owns a guesthouse in Melville, Johannesburg. She is married and has two children.

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Koos Kombuis se ses dinge om te doen as beurtkrag tref: Braai, sing, lees, skryf, BRAAI!

I-Tjieng“BLY WEG VAN DIE INTERNET AF tydens beurtkrag! Dit is teenproduktief en nie bevorderlik vir moraal nie.”

So skryf I-Tjieng: ’n GPS vir verdwaalde siele-outeur Koos Kombuis in ‘n rubriek vir Netwerk24 waarin hy besin oor produktiewe dinge om jouself mee aan die gang te hou wanneer beurtkrag tref en donkerte oor jou huis neerslaan.

Kombuis het, na hy besef het hy mors kosbare tyd wanneer die ligte weens Eskom af is, ‘n lysie opgestel van ses positiewe voorstelle van dinge waarmee jy jou eerder kan besig hou as kla, op jou slimfoon speel of om veerpyltjies te speel in die donker.

Lees die artikel vir Kombuis se voorstelle:

EEN. Braai. Dis lekker. Dis ’n gesinsaktiwiteit. En dis terapeuties om na die vlamme te sit en staar met ’n glas rooiwyn in die hand.

TWEE. Dalk is jy ’n vegetariër. Dis nie ’n verskoning nie! Jy kan NOG STEEDS braai! Braai mielies of iets! Of sit malvalekkers op stokkies en eet dit! (Sover ek weet is Tim Noakes nie teen malvalekkers nie . . . wel, hy het dit nog nooit spesifiek by die naam genoem nie.)

Die kunstenaar-skrywer deel ook ‘n gedig wat hy tydens beurtkrag geskryf het – ‘n parodie van die Beatles se treffer “Imagine” wat satiries wonder hoe dit sou wees sonder President Jacob Zuma:



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Gareth Crocker’s Superhero Series, Jongo, is on its Way to Prime Time International Success

The Last Road TripJongo, the superhero series created by Gareth Crocker, looks set to make the move from free-to-air channels and video on demand platforms to a show broadcast internationally in prime time slots.

Sue Blaine wrote an article for Business Day about Jongo. She spoke to Crocker, who is also author of The Last Road Trip and a number of other successful novels, about what makes this series something special, and what its growth will mean for him and the rest of the team.

Read the article:

We didn’t want immortal — if you have that you can’t kill the damn guy, says author Gareth Crocker of his latest creation.

Instead, Eli King, Africa’s first homegrown superhero, can run superfast, jump awe-inspiringly high and is very strong, thanks to a blue crystal his dead father left him.

King is the central character in a new TV series, Jongo, filmed mostly on location in Johannesburg by independent Johannesburg film studio Motion Story. Negotiations are under way with South African and international broadcasters who have made prime-time slot offers for the show. Jongo has been taken up by Amsterdam-based international film and TV distributors FCCE, which won the International Digital Emmy Award for Digital Programme — Non Fiction in 2013.

Related news:

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New Edition of the Ultimate Book for Curry-lovers: Curry by Vivek Singh, Sas Sreedharan and David Thompson

CurryPenguin is proud to announce a revised edition of Curry by Vivek Singh, Sas Sreedharan and David Thompson – an indispensable guide to cooking fragrant dishes from India, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia:

Presenting a new edition of this ultimate cookbook for curry-lovers!

Take your taste buds on a global curry adventure. Invite top chefs, writers and cooks into your kitchen, from Vivek Singh (The Cinnamon Club), Das Sreedharan (Rasa Restaurants) to David Thompson (Nahm) and they’ll share their secrets for authentic, taste-tingling curries that are easy to create at home.

Learn how to make authentic dishes like Thai green jungle curry, chicken makhani and South African bunny chow. You’ll discover which ingredients make each dish special, and follow step-by-step techniques that make every recipe clear. This updated edition comes with 20 brand new recipes with new step-by-step sequences.

Tried and tested by experts using readily available ingredients and exquisite flavours – red hot results are guaranteed every time.

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Presenting Mathews Phosa’s First English Poetry Anthology, Chants of Freedom: Poems Written in Exile

Chants of FreedomPenguin Books presents Chants of Freedom: Poems Written in Exile by Mathews Phosa:

Phosa developed his love for poetry as a young boy growing up in rural Mpumalanga and Limpopo. While he has published a collection of poems in Afrikaans, Chants of Freedom is his first English poetry anthology. Mostly written while in exile as the commander of an MK unit in Maputo, Mozambique, Phosa’s poems vividly recreate the feelings of anger, defiance, frustration, shame, pain and ultimately hope that characterised the exiles’ experience of the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa.

Writing in a lyrical style, Phosa addresses such themes as oppression, violence, death and hatred, and recalls the atrocities and tragedies of the migrant-labour system, the murders of innocent children, the detentions without trial, the bannings and the state-sanctioned executions that characterised the apartheid era. Chants of Freedom provides raw, powerful and unprecedented insight into the consciousness of a freedom fighter.

About the author

Dr Nakedi Mathews Phosa was born in Mbombela township, Nelspruit, but grew up in a rural area near Potgietersrus (Mokopane). In 1981 he opened a legal practice in Nelspruit. He left South Africa in 1985 and in 1986 became the regional commander of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in Mozambique. Following the unbanning of the organisation in 1990, he was one of the first four members of the ANC to return to South Africa in order to start the process of negotiation with the National Party government. He played an important role in transition initiatives, including CODESA, and headed the ANC’s legal department. After the first democratic elections in 1994, Phosa was appointed premier of Mpumalanga, a position he held until 1999. He has been a member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee since 1999 and was the party’s treasurer general from 2007 to 2012. Phosa speaks nine languages and has published a volume of Afrikaans poetry called Deur die oog van ’n naald (Through the eye of a needle).

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Announcing Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of Spacex and Tesla is Shaping Our Future by Ashlee Vance

Elon MuskElon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of Spacex and Tesla is Shaping Our Future by Ashlee Vance will be published by Penguin later this month:

South African born Elon Musk is the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. Musk wants to save our planet; he wants to send citizens into space, to form a colony on Mars; he wants to make money while doing these things; and he wants us all to know about it. He is the real-life inspiration for the Iron Man series of films starring Robert Downey Jr.

The personal tale of Musk’s life comes with all the trappings one associates with a great, drama-filled story. He was a freakishly bright kid who was bullied brutally at school, and abused by his father. In the midst of these rough conditions, and the violence of apartheid South Africa, Musk still thrived academically and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he paid his own way through school by turning his house into a club and throwing massive parties.

He started a pair of huge dot-com successes, including PayPal, which eBay acquired for $1.5 billion in 2002. Musk was forced out as CEO and so began his lost years in which he decided to go it alone and baffled friends by investing his fortune in rockets and electric cars. Meanwhile Musk’s marriage disintegrated as his technological obsessions took over his life …

Elon Musk is the Steve Jobs of the present and the future, and for the past 12 months, he has been shadowed by tech reporter, Ashlee Vance. Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of Spacex and Tesla is Shaping our Future is an important, exciting and intelligent account of the real-life Iron Man.

To be published late June.

“For anyone interested in technology, entrepreneurship or the price of greatness, Ashlee Vance’s new book is a tremendous look into arguably the world’s most important entrepreneur. Vance paints an unforgettable picture of Musk’s unique personality, insatiable drive and ability to thrive through hardship. The book bursts with telling anecdotes and quotes that illuminate who Musk is” – The Washington Post

About the author

Ashlee Vance is one of the most prominent writers on technology today. After spending several years reporting on Silicon Valley and technology for The New York Times, Vance went to Bloomberg Businessweek, where he has written dozens of cover and feature stories for the magazine on topics ranging from cyber espionage to DNA sequencing and space exploration.

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