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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

The life of a man cast adrift: Like It Matters, the debut novel from David Cornwell

Like It MattersUmuzi is proud to present Like It Matters, the first novel from writer and musician David Cornwell:

When Ed meets Charlotte one golden afternoon, the 14 sleeping pills he’s painstakingly collected don’t matter anymore: this will be the moment he pulls things right, even though he can see Charlotte comes with a story of her own.

They try to make a life in Muizenberg, but old habits die hard, and they become embroiled in a scheme that soon slips out of their control.

In Like It Matters, each line of text, each mark on the page, is meticulously crafted as the novel charts, with striking flair, the life of a man cast adrift.

See also: The local Fiction to look forward to in 2016 (Jan – June)
About the author

David Cornwell is a writer and musician. Born in Grahamstown, he currently lives in Cape Town, where he writes fiction, films and songs for his rock band Kraal. Cornwell’s writing has appeared in a number of publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Prufrock, Aerodrome, Jungle Jim, New Contrast, the Chiron Review and Quiddity International Literary Journal. Like It Matters is his first novel.

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‘This crippling nightmare’ – Mathews Phosa on Jacob Zuma’s presidency

Chants of FreedomSouth Africans can sleep with ease in the knowledge that nobody and no actions are above the law‚ says former ANC treasurer general, former Mpumalanga premier – and poet – Mathews Phosa.

He was commenting on the Constitutional Court’s finding on Thursday that President Jacob Zuma had acted illegally and in violation of the Constitution.

Addressing the Phalaborwa Chamber of Business‚ Phosa said: “Our democracy is safe. With the ruling handed down in the Constitutional Court today one of the most important tests of the Democratic principles contained in our Constitution has been tested and passed.

“We can sleep with ease tonight in the knowledge that nobody and no actions are above the law.”

Phosa added that Zuma’s position as president had become even more controversial than before.

“The whole country now waits with bated breath to hear whether he‚ and my party‚ the ANC‚ will do the right thing and relieve us of this crippling nightmare.

“We need a new beginning‚ fresh and selfless leadership and a collective that finds a cause bigger than itself‚” Phosa said.

Confirming on Thursday that the remedial action taken against Zuma by public protector Thuli Madonsela was binding‚ the Constitutional Court ordered that Zuma must pay back the money spent by the state on non-security upgrades at his Nkandla residence within 105 days. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said Zuma’s failure to comply with Madonsela’s remedial action was inconsistent with the constitution and invalid.

Source: TMG Digital

Phosa’s first English poetry collection, Chants of Freedom: Poems Written in Exile, was published by Penguin last year, and launched with Kgalema Motlanthe and Julius Malema in June. Read an excerpt from the book here.

Related stories:

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Zirk van den Berg’s novel of forbidden love in the Boer War optioned for film by New Zealand company

Half of One ThingHalfpad een dingMovie rights to Zirk van den Berg’s period novel Half of One Thing have been optioned by independent producer Neil Sonnekus of New Zealand production company Stinkwood Films.

The deal was negotiated by Aoife Lennon-Ritchie of the Lennon-Ritchie Agency.

“It’s a wonderful read,” Sonnekus said of the book. “I fell for the ‘historical record’ hook, line and sinker. It’s a great, great con. The characters become representative of real historical forces, and I like that – the con has the solid ring of truth about it.”

Gideon Lancaster, a New Zealand soldier fighting for the British, infiltrates a Boer commando. He soon finds himself entangled in a confusion of loyalties as he becomes better acquainted with the men.

Worse, he falls in love with Esther Calitz, a Boer woman of considerable mettle who demands his loyalty over every other allegiance. Commandant Jacob Eksteen is Lancaster’s taciturn rival in love, and a man of clear black-and-white convictions. So powerful are the conflicting demands of fidelity and love that Lancaster seizes a startling opportunity when a large British battalion is mobilised in what is to be the final triumph of the imperial forces.

The book is also available in Afrikaans as Halfpad Een Ding.

Van den Berg made his literary debut with a volume of Afrikaans short stories in 1989, followed by a historical novel. After moving to New Zealand in 1998, Van den Berg switched to writing in English. His crime novel, Nobody Dies, was published to considerable acclaim in New Zealand and saw an Afrikaans edition released as ’n Ander mens in South Africa in 2013. The book won the film category in the inaugural KykNet-Rapport book awards in 2014 and Van den Berg’s film script based on that book is currently being considered for production.

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Life, rugby and everything else: Stories from the Touchline by Springbok legend Theuns Stofberg

Stories from the TouchlineStories Van Die KantlynNew from Zebra Press, Stories from the Touchline by Theuns Stofberg:

A collection of humorous, touching and uplifting stories about life, rugby and everything else by one of South Africa’s true rugby legends …

Theuns Stofberg’s illustrious rugby career spanned from 1976 to 1985, and he is commonly considered one of the all-time Springbok greats. As the 36th captain of the Springboks, one of only 56 players to be given this honour, he was tough and uncompromising on the field but a true gentleman and great raconteur off it, which he proves with the anecdotes collected in this book.

In Stories from the Touchline, he takes the reader behind the scenes, from his childhood days as a schoolboy rugby player to the 1981 flour-bomb tour of New Zealand and winning the Currie Cup for three different provinces – a feat unmatched to this day. He also writes about what it was like playing with legends such as Morné du Plessis, Gerrie Germishuys, Schalk Burger Sr and Gysie Pienaar, marvels at the fans’ odd and often colourful behaviour, and affords readers a fascinating glimpse into the amateur days of rugby in South Africa. He also shares his personal struggles with a speech impediment and ill health, and coping with family tragedy, in his own inimitable way. By turns deeply personal, amusing and nostalgic, this book will be treasured by each and every South African rugby fan.

Also available in Afrikaans as Stories van die kantlyn.

About the author

Theuns Stofberg is the only player in the history of South African rugby who won the Currie Cup for three different provinces: Orange Free State, Northern Transvaal and Western Province. In the 10 years that he played senior rugby, his side always advanced to the Currie Cup final, winning six and drawing one. He became a Springbok at the age of only 21, replacing the legendary Jan Ellis in the second Test against Andy Leslie’s All Blacks in 1976. He scored six tries in his 21 Test matches and captained four international matches, against New Zealand, England and South America. He and his wife Martie live on Rouana, a small wine farm among the vineyards of Stellenbosch.

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Don’t miss the launch of Flame in the Snow: The Love Letters of Andre Brink and Ingrid Jonker at The Book Lounge

Invitation to the launch of Flame in the Snow

Flame in the Snow: The Love Letters of André Brink and Ingrid JonkerUmuzi and The Book Lounge invite you to the launch of Flame in the Snow: The Love Letters of André Brink and Ingrid Jonker.

Breyten Breytenbach will facilitate the conversation between Karina Brink, Simone Venter (Ingrid Jonker’s daughter), Francis Galloway and Karin Schimke.

The launch will take place on Wednesday, 16 March. Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 16 March 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge
    71 Roeland St
    Cape Town | Map
  • Facilitator: Breyten Breytenbach
  • Refreshments: Refreshments will be served
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge,, 021 462 2425

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Lees ’n uittreksel uit Bettina Wyngaard se nuwe roman Slaafs

SlaafsSlaafs deur Bettina Wyngaard het pas by Umuzi verskyn.

Wyngaard is die skrywer van Troos vir die gebrokenes (wenner van die Jan Rabie Rapport-prys) en die misdaadroman Vuilspel.

Wyngaard gesels môre (10 Maart) by Woordfees oor haar nuutste roman. Besonderhede hier.

Die speurspan van die Khayelitsha-polisiestasie in haar nuwe riller is mense van vlees en bloed wat diep voel, in intense verhoudinge tot mekaar staan, liefhet, verliese ly en die hart aangryp.

Lees ‘n uittreksel uit hierdie nuwe roman:

* * * * *

Nicci glip by die oop deur in, laag en vinnig om haar so ’n klein teiken as moontlik te maak. Sy druk haar rug teen die muur en staan stil, kop na een kant gekantel om te luister. Al wat sy egter hoor, is haar eie hortende asemhaling binne die masker. Dis vir haar eie beskerming, maar die masker verwring alle geluide en beperk haar visie. Sy begin wonder of die kool die sous werd is.

Die dak en vensterrame van die bouval waarin sy haar bevind, is lankal daarmee heen. Die deur is verrot en hang aan ’n enkele geroeste skarnier. Bome groei tot teenaan die gebou. Takke beur deur die openinge waar die vensters was, en jong lote skiet selfs deur krake in die gebarste sementvloer in die vertrek op. Dit is nog oggend, maar geen sonlig dring die donker gebou binne nie. Die huisie is boonop in die skaduwee van ’n heuwel gebou, wat dit selfs meer neerdrukkend maak.

Sy kan haar hand nie voor haar gesig sien nie. Sy tel versigtig. In die derde vertrek aan regterkant is daar volgens haar inligting ’n perdebynes in die hoek oorkant die deur.
Sy is nou in die tweede vertrek.

Haar voet is reeds opgelig om vorentoe te trap toe sy die effense skuifelgeluid hoor. Só ’n klein geluidjie, sy het dit amper gemis. Sy versteen en druk haar selfs platter teen die muur, hart galoppend soos ’n wilde perd. Sy hoor egter niks verder nie. Wie ook al agter haar is, staan nou stil. Sy hou die kolf van haar geweer stywer vas, gereed om te skiet.

Skielik verskyn die buitelyne van ’n kop by die deur. Die man het so sag nader gekom dat sy hom nie gehoor het nie. Haar vinger begin reeds verstyf op die sneller, toe hy sy kop draai en sy Blackie Swart, haar kollega, in die halfdonker herken.

Sy laat sak die geweer en beduie met haar regterhand. Twee. Verder die bouval in.

Hy knik sy kop, en verdwyn weer so geruisloos soos wat hy gekom het. Hy is ’n groot man wat in staat is om verbasend lig soos ’n skim te beweeg.

Nicci glip agter hom aan toe ’n beweging uit die hoek van haar oog haar aandag trek. Iemand agter Blackie. Die persoon is so goed verskuil in die skadu’s dat Blackie hom gemis het. Instinktief pluk Nicci haar geweer op, maar toe sy die sneller moet trek, vries sy, die kolf skielik glad onder haar swetende handpalms.

Die onverwagse, onwelkome terugflits na haar dodelike gestoei met Zola Vimbi laat haar huiwer, net ’n oomblik lank. Dis egter ’n oomblik wat sy nie kan bekostig nie.
Die man skiet na Blackie, maar is gelukkig te haastig.

Die skoot gaan skadeloos oor Blackie se kop verby, en hy swaai verras om. Hy trek die sneller in ’n seepgladde, geoefende beweging terwyl hy nog draai en op sy knie gaan, en tref sy aanvaller vol in die bors.
Die geweld waarmee die skoot hom tref, laat die man ’n tree agteruitsteier. Met ’n swetswoord gryp hy na sy bors voordat hy plotseling gaan sit, nie meer ’n gevaar nie. Sy wapen kletter uit sy hande en val skadeloos langs hom neer.

Blackie se oë kreukel in ’n glimlag agter sy masker, voordat hy ’n duim in die lug opsteek in Nicci se rigting.

Hy het nie agtergekom sy het gevries nie, besef sy verlig, en beduie dat hy voor hom moet kyk. Saam deursoek hulle die res van die bouval, maar kry nie die tweede persoon wat sy gesien het nie. Hy moes iewers uitgeglip het. Nou huiwer hulle. Al twee weet die oomblik net nadat hulle die gebou verlaat het, terwyl hulle oë nog aanpas by die son wat buite fel skyn, is wanneer hulle op hul weerloosste is. Enigiemand kan ongesiens in die ruigtes skuil en hulle vanuit die skans aanval.

By die buitedeur sak Blackie op sy maag neer en begin kruip. Hoe hy dit regkry, weet nugter, maar hy maak weer feitlik geen geluid nie. Dit lyk vir Nicci asof selfs die stof om hom saamvou en vir hom ’n sakkie van stilte weef.

Buite die gebou lig hy sy kop op en kyk eers in die rondte voordat hy vir haar beduie dat dit veilig is. Met ’n stywe wysvinger wys hy dat hy in die bosse aan die regterkant in wil gaan.

Nicci kan Blackie se gesigsuitdrukking agter sy masker nie sien nie, maar weet hy is woedend. John Peters, haar kollega, het hulle vroeg reeds verloor, in ’n lokval, gestel deur die man wat hulle nou soek, die meesterbrein van die operasie. Blackie is op wraak uit. Wat van die res van hulle span geword het, weet sy nie. Blackie het radiostilte beveel nadat hulle nog twee lede van die span verloor het. Sover hulle weet, is dit net hulle twee wat oor is.

Sy gaan na aanleiding van sy sein vinnig in die bosse in. Dit duur ’n oomblik voordat sy aan die donker gewoond raak.

In sy kamoefleerdrag smelt Blackie met die skaduwees saam. Sy kan net hoop dat sy ewe moeilik sigbaar is. Toe wys hy haar ’n gebreekte takkie. Sy sou dit nooit eens opgelet het of besef het dat dit belangrik is nie. Gee haar die betonoerwoud en die liggies van die stad, en sy weet presies wat om te maak. Die veld is egter Blackie se domein. Platgetrapte gras en ’n gebreekte takkie vertel vir hom ’n hele verhaal, ’n storie wat oor haar kop heen gaan. Sy knik om te wys sy sien die takkie en gaan dan aan, oë onrustig op die bosse om haar.

Hulle beweeg stadig voort en gaan staan kort-kort om te luister. Plotseling hou die voëltjies op met sing.

Nicci en Blackie versteen in hul posisies. ’n Sagte voetval agter haar.

Sy swaai om, maar selfs terwyl sy beweeg, besef sy sy is te stadig.


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Ryan Sandes will launch Trail Blazer: My Life as an Ultra-distance Trail Runner in Cape Town, Joburg and Durban

Trail Blazer: My Life as an Ultra-distance Trail RunnerDon’t miss Ryan Sandes’s book tour to launch his biography, Trail Blazer: My Life as an Ultra-distance Trail Runner.

Sandes burst onto the trail-running scene seemingly out of nowhere in 2008 by winning the Gobi March, a seven-stage, 250-kilometre race across the brutal Gobi Desert. Proving this was no fluke, he went on to become one of the elite of ultra-trail running.

Trail Blazer recounts the life story of this intrepid sportsman, from his experiences as a rudderless party animal to becoming a world-class athlete, and includes details on his training regimes, race strategies and aspirations for future sporting endeavours.

As Professor Tim Noakes says in the Foreword to this book: “However much we might think we know and understand, there are some phenomena which now, and perhaps forever, we will never fully comprehend. We call such happenings ‘enigmas’. Or even miracles. Ryan Sandes is one such.”

The events will take place in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, and kick off tomorrow evening!

Event Details

Event Details

Event Details

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’n Dag in die lewe van drie speurders van die Khayelitsha-polisiestasie: Slaafs deur Bettina Wyngaard

SlaafsSlaafs deur Bettina Wyngaard is nou beskikbaar op Umuzi se rakke:

’n Dag in die lewe van drie speurders van die Khayelitsha-polisiestasie is nie paintball speel nie. Vra maar vir kaptein Nicci de Wee, “Ounooi” soos haar kollega Blackie haar noem. Haar priestervriendin Sally sal dit beaam en so ook Peters, wat skaars sy oë van Nicci kan afhou.

Want in Khayelitsha is die Jane Does volop: daardie vroueslagoffers wat so sonder naam op die staatspatoloog se outopsietafel beland. Maar waarom was daar vreemde vesels in die keel van ’n meisie wat aan ’n oordosis sterf en hoekom het sy en ’n tweede slagoffer dieselfde tatoeëermerk?

Weldra daal Nicci en haar kollegas af in die donker onderwêreld van mensehandel, begelei deur die enigmatiese, en verleidelike, doktor Gigi Gerber, kenner op die gebied van slawesindikate. En heeltyd, in die agtergrond, staan al die kwesbare ontwortelde mense van die wêreld.

Die speurspan in Bettina Wyngaard se nuwe riller is mense van vlees en bloed wat diep voel, in intense verhoudinge tot mekaar staan, liefhet, verliesely en die hart aangryp.

Oor die outeur

Bettina Wyngaard is die skrywer van Troos vir die gebrokenes (wenner van die Jan Rabie Rapport-prys) en die misdaadroman Vuilspel. Sy het in die regte aan Stellenbosch Universiteit studeer, waarna sy vir etlike jare lank as prokureur gewerk het. Sy woon in die Overberg.


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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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Enough white noise – Evita Bezuidenhout considers racism, inequality and privilege

Evita's BlackBessieEvita\'s Bossie SikelelaEvita se Bossie Sikelela

“Hi, my name is Evita and I’m a racist” – Evita Bezuidenhout has written an article for The Guardian about white privilege.

In the piece, an edited version of a speech given to the Cape Town Press Club, Evita asks whether white South Africans are prepared to take the back seat in South Africa.

Read the article:

The only way for an alcoholic to confront the disease of alcoholism is to admit it: I drink therefore I will not drink. Then surely one way for a racist to confront that disease is to be honest: I am a racist therefore I will not be a racist.

I will not judge people because of the colour of their skin, or how they dress, or what they eat. I will not be a racist in the city traffic when the township taxi cuts in front of me. I will not be a racist when politics passes me by. I will not believe in the innate superiority of my race.

I was born in South Africa in 1935 into a racist family. I went to a racist school and a racist church. My God was a racist and so was his Son. I married into a racist family. I became the wife of a racist member of a racist parliament who served in the racist cabinet of a racist prime minister and praised by a racist press.

My children were brought up as racists. In fact, till my 59th year and the country’s first democratic election, if I hadn’t been a racist I would have been locked up in jail as a communist or a terrorist.

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