Archive for the ‘Academic’ Category
Professor Emeritus Jeff Guy, a colossus on South Africa’s academic scene who reshaped our understanding of KwaZulu-Natal, wrote several distinguished biographies of its colonial inhabitants, and exerted enormous influence on a rising generation of South African historians, has died suddenly in England. He passed away on 15 December. He was 74 years old.
Guy was in London to give an address to a 200 year anniversary conference in honour of John William Colenso – the subject of one of Guy’s books – held at St John’s College, Cambridge. According to a person in attendance, his presentation was among the most insightful he had ever delivered, and drew wide acclaim.
Since the confirmation of his death, tributes and memories have been appearing in social media, as colleagues and students remember Guy, who was known for his gruff humour, and for the unflagging encouragement he gave to his students. The possibility of a scholarship in his name is being discussed.
Guy’s latest book, Theophilus Shepstone and the Forging of Natal, was published by UKZN Press last year and launched at a commemorative event in honour of Killie Campbell. He was perhaps best known for his 1979 work, The Destruction of the Zulu Kingdom, which had a transformational effect on the approach of scholars to questions of colonial conflict, and his 1983 biography of Colenso, The Heretic, which told the fascinating tale of a dissenting bishop’s life at the fringes of the British Empire.
Guy was a professor of history and a research fellow at the Campbell Collections of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. He published widely, focusing on the history of British colonialism and its effects on South Africa, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal. He will be remembered for his invaluable contributions to South African scholarship.
Books LIVE extends condolences to Professor Guy’s family and friends.
Jeff Guy links
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Published in the Sunday Times
The Sunday Times books team asked an array of notable South Africans which books they will be taking with them on holiday.
THE COLUMNIST – Darrel Bristow-Bovey
I’ll be reading Luke Alfred’s When the Lions Came to Town (Zebra Press), about the 1974 British Lions’ tour of South Africa, because Luke is a sportswriter with heart and flair and tells a good story. I also have Paradise by Greg Lazarus (Kwela Books), a smart, funny and cosmopolitan local pair of novelists. Each year for the past two years has seen the release of a new volume of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway (Volume 2, 1923-1925 – Cambridge University Press). Last year’s volume 2 took us to 1925, and I’m desperately hoping volume 3 is about to be released. I’ll also be obsessively re-reading my own book, One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo (Zebra Press), to check for spelling errors and typos.
THE PUBLIC PROTECTOR – Thuli Madonsela
I intend reading these books during the holidays: The Art of War by Sun Tzu (Pax Librorum, R80), Love is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald Jampolsky (Celestial Arts), Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership by Laurie Beth Jones(Hyperion) and The Richest Man Who Ever Lived by Steven K Scott (Broadway Books).
THE TRAVEL WRITER – Bridget Hilton-Barber
First up is Stoep Zen: A Zen Life in South Africa by Antony Osler (Jacana), whose blurb says it’s Lao Tzu meets Oom Schalk Lourens. The question Osler poses is how do we reach down through swirling emotions into a quieter space where we can see a little further and love a little deeper? The other little gem that awaits on my bedside table is an illustrated book called Yoga for Chickens by Lynn Brunelle (Chronicle Books). “Feeling fried? Feathers ruffled? The birdbrained wisdom in this little book will have you clucking like a spring chicken in no time.” And finally, I am going to get stuck into Lost and Found in Johannesburg by Mark Gevisser (Jonathan Ball Publishers).
THE INTELLECTUAL – Eusebius McKaiser
I have already started on my holiday reading because, well, why wait?! I’m halfway through Jacob Dlamini’s Askari: A Story of Collaboration and Betrayal in the Anti-Apartheid Struggle (Jacana). It is narrative writing at its lyrical best, and the moral philosophy student in me is intrigued by the complexity of black people who betrayed black communities during apartheid. I will also read James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time (Vintage Books), a classic on race relations in America. In the wake of Ferguson, revisiting this masterpiece is compulsory.
THE FESTIVAL DIRECTOR – Ann Donald
My summer reading will be a continuation of my reading all year: the books of authors who’ll be attending the Franschhoek Literary Festival in May, including The Facts of Life and Death by Belinda Bauer (Bantam Press), Esther’s House by Carol Campbell (Umuzi), Tales of the Metric System by Imraan Coovadia (Umuzi), Askari by Jacob Dlamini, Unimportance by Thando Mgqolozana (Jacana), and The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (Little, Brown).
THE HISTORIAN – Tim Couzens
For me Christmas starts very early, so I have just read Ray Hartley’s Ragged Glory (Jonathan Ball Publishers), an overview of the last 20 years of South Africa political history, which is characteristically sane and balanced. I am now reading – recommended to me by Corina van der Spoel who ran the Boekehuis before it was closed in act of barbarity not seen since the ransacking of the churches during the Reformation – WG Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn (Vintage Books) which, from the depths of his erudition and his appreciation of the complexities of history, moves seamlessly from the very local to the exciting diversity of the human and natural world.
THE CELEBRITY – Gareth Cliff
Surprisingly, despite starting CliffCentral.com this year, I have found some time to read. From Barry Bateman and Mandy Wiener to Pamela Stephenson to Jerm the cartoonist, there is so much great stuff being published that it’s hard to narrow things down to just one book. But to be really self-indulgent, I have to admit that my current obsession is a book by Sir Hugh Roberts, Director of the Royal Collection, about the furnishing and decoration of King George IV’s private apartments at Windsor Castle. It’s called For The King’s Pleasure (Royal Collection Enterprises Ltd).
THE GONZO ESSAYIST – Bongani Madondo
I will be reading a lot! Ok, maybe I will be lucky to finish at least three of the following: Mandla Langa’s latest novel The Texture of Shadows (Picador Africa); The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown); You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town by Zoë Wicomb (Umuzi); I Would Die 4U: Why Prince Became An Icon by Touré (Free Press), and Stokely: A Life by Peniel E. Joseph (Basic Civitas Books), which is the latest biography of the revolutionary Stokely Carmichael (Miriam Makeba’s one time husband … one of the five exes). I don’t think I will get halfway through the list though. There’s just so much to do, especially with family demanding its pound of flesh of your time.
THE INDIE BOOKSELLER – Kate Rogan (Owner of Love Books)
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (Jonathan Cape). I cannot wait to get my teeth into this. It’s just won the Samuel Johnson prize, which is the biggest thing in non-fiction awards – and it’s the first ever memoir to do so. In a nutshell, Helen Macdonald loses her father, and in her grief, she becomes obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. My ears pricked when someone said it was the next The Hare with Amber Eyes (Chatto & Windus,). Whatever it turns out to be, it’s the kind of book that needs the time I can only give it while on holiday.
THE EXCLUSIVE BOOKS CEO – Benjamin Trisk
Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher Browning (HarperCollins). For students of the Holocaust there is a fascinating debate between Browning and Daniel Goldhagen about the culpability of ordinary Germans caught up in the implementation of the Holocaust. Also in a historical vein is Max Hastings’ Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War (Alfred A Knopf). Hastings concentrates on the accidents of timing and long-held simmering nationalisms that coalesced in that fateful year. I am an adequate amateur cook, love cookbooks, and the best local cookbook that I have seen for a long time is Kobus van der Merwe’s Strandveldfood (Jonathan Ball Publishers). I think it is sensational.
THE TREND-SPOTTER – Dion Chang
I have earmarked the following for my festive break: The latest Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage (Harvill Secker). I am a huge fan and will read anything that he writes. The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal. I’m fascinated by Japanese culture (hence Murakami being on my list) and this biography also explores the exquisite art of “Netsuke” – tiny but intricate wood or ivory carvings. Ai Weiwei Speaks (Penguin Special) – a collection of interviews by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist that follows Weiwei’s incredible installation “S.A.C.R.E.D” at the Venice biennial, depicting scenes from his 81-day incarceration by the Chinese government. Finally, for much needed escapism, I’ll also be tackling The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling, Little Brown).
THE NOVELIST – Imraan Coovadia
I’m reading The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin (Tor Books), a great Chinese science fiction writer, the Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson (Copper Canyon Press), translated by WS Merwin, Microcosms by Claudio Magris (Gallimard Education), Plenty More by Ottolenghi (Ebury Press) and Pereira Maintains by Antonio Tabucchi (Canongate, R180). Five books which promise to be miraculous. I just finished Karl Ove Knausgaard’s Boyhood Island (Alfred A Knopf). Great.
THE MAVERICK – Marianne Thamm
I have quite a neglected stack next to my bed, including Martin Meredith’s The Fortunes of Africa: A 5 000-year History of Wealth, Greed and Endeavour (Jonathan Ball Publishers). This “vast and vivid panorama of history” offers a renewed opportunity to engage with the backdrop to contemporary political developments. I’m halfway through Jonny Steinberg’s extraordinary A Man Of Good Hope (Jonathan Ball Publishers), which charts the journey of refugee Asad Abdullah from Somalia to Cape Town. And in a further attempt at understanding the physical, political and intellectual geography of South Africa, there is Imraan Coovadia’s novel, Tales of the Metric System, Mandla Langa’s The Texture of Shadows and Jacob Dlamini’s Askari.
THE LIT MAG EDITORS
Alex Matthews, editor of Aerodrome
I’m a huge fan of both lighthouses and Marguerite Poland, so The Keeper (Penguin) is therefore an irresistible prospect. I also can’t wait to finish Mark Gevisser’s Lost and Found in Johannesburg, which is an eloquent, vivid merging of maps and memories.
Helen Sullivan, editor of Prufrock
One of the best things about summer for me is magazines. Thick Christmas issues full of beautiful things, and stories and articles that seem to be more moving when it’s the end of a year. I’ll also be looking out for South African literary mags like Prufrock – uHlanga (an anthology of poetry from KZN – R50 on uhlangapress.co.za), Aerodrome (R140 from aerodrome.co.za) and New Contrast (R90 on newcontrast.net).
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The Fortunes of Africa proves that, through the passage of time, man learns little, if anything at all, from history. This epic, partly chronological but intelligently framed around five broad themes — exploration, trade, slavery, conquest and religion — is tragic in its repetitive cycle of greed, exploitation and brutality.
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Alert! Books LIVE can reveal the list of international and local authors confirmed to attend next year’s Franschhoek Literary Festival.
Although a number of authors have committed to the festival, the list is expected to grow a little longer. Keep an eye on Books LIVE in January for the final schedule.
Festival director Ann Donald says: “There will, of course, be many other familiar names from previous festivals, plus a host of new names still to be confirmed.”
The festival will take place from Friday, 15 May, to Sunday, 17 May 2015.
Have a look at the authors involved:
John Boyne (Ireland) – whose latest novel is A History of Loneliness. Boyne will also be at the Book Week for Young Readers with The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
Chris Bradford (England) – author, professional musician and black belt martial artist, here for the Book Week for Young Readers programme, and an event for schools at the main festival, on Friday.
Jackie Kay (Scotland/England) – award-winning poet and novelist, with Nigerian heritage, who will judge the Poetry for Life finals, to be held at the FLF (see www.poetryforlife.co.za for more information).
Eshkol Nevo (Israel) – author of Book Publishers Association Gold Prize and the FFI-Raymond Wallier Prize-winning novel Homesick, as well as World Cup Wishes, and most recently Neuland.
Romain Puertolas (France) – a few months ago Puertolas was still a French border guard, but then he wrote the smash hit The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe.
Sarah Waters (Wales) – award-winning, bestselling author of six novels, often dealing with Victorian society and lesbian relationships. Waters’ most recent novel is The Paying Guests.
OVERSEAS-BASED SOUTH AFRICANS
David Attwell – University of York academic, whose critical biography JM Coetzee and the life of writing, face to face with time is to be published in 2015.
Belinda Bauer – South African-born, UK-based CWA 2010 Gold Dagger Award-winning crime novelist, whose latest book is The Facts of Life and Death.
Lyndall Gordon – Cape Town-born award-winning biographer of Emily Dickinson, TS Eliot, Charlotte Brontë and Mary Wollstone, among others, has recently published a memoir Divided Lives. (She may also be presenting a life-writing masterclass/workshop.)
Marita van der Vyver – France-based novelist and recipe book author. The English translation of her cookbook and a memoir, A Fountain in France, will be published in 2015.
NEW (TO THE FESTIVAL) LOCAL NAMES TO LOOK OUT FOR
GG Alcock, author of Third World Child
Ekow Duker, author of Dying in New York and White Wahala
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, author of A Human Being Died that Night and Dare We Hope?
Daisy Jones, winner of the Sunday Times Best Cookbook of the Year Award for Star Fish
Zelda la Grange, author of the bestselling memoir, Good Morning, Mr Mandela/Goeiemore, Mnr. Mandela
Bongani Madondo, journalist and author of I’m Not Your Weekend Special: Portraits on the Life + Style and Politics of Brenda Fassie
Thando Mgqolozana, author of A Man Who is Not a Man, Hear Me Alone and Unimportance
Emma Sadleir & Tamsyn de Beer (latter still to be confirmed), authors of the vital guide to social media, Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex
Jaco van Schalkwyk, artist and author of The Alibi Club/Die Alibi Klub
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The Nelson Mandela Foundation in partnership with the wRite associates would like to invite you to the Artists’ Tribute to Madiba in honour of the one year anniversary of the death of Nelson Mandela.
The event will take place on Saturday, 6 December, from 11 AM to 1 PM. Everyone is invited, and all poets, authors, musicians, praise singers and performers are welcome to bring tribute to Madiba.
The tribute will be opened by professor Njabulo Simakahle Ndebele, chancellor of the University of Johannesburg and author of Rediscovery of the Ordinary, The Cry of Winnie Mandela and Fine Lines from the Box.
Don’t miss it!
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The new issue of Itch, an online creative writing journal produced in association with the Wits University School of Literature, Language and Media, is available.
Itch issue 13: Detection features writing, poetry and visual art from new as well as established authors and artists.
Read the issue introduction by Itch‘s new editor Elan Gamaker:
“Our intelligence behaves like a detective. It’s sent on a mission, assimilates the available evidence, finds the truth that’s out there and brings it to heel. All narrative is at some level detective fiction. The narrative shape – the dramatic arc – is merely an externalization of this process. All stories aren’t just quests, they’re detections.” 
Welcome to Itch Issue 13: Detection.
The works selected for this issue follow an arduous selection process in which the number of suitable items based on quality alone far surpassed the feasible number a single journal issue could sustain.
Given this remarkable number of impressive submissions, the decision to choose the pieces had to be based on secondary but no less important criteria, namely how the works fitted into the (albeit broad) theme of detection, and how they worked with each other in what remains a curated environment.
Our final selection therefore represents, or at least suggests, a thread that runs through the essence of what the term ‘detection’ means to me. This is close to that given in the quote by John Yorke above. A writer and story consultant, Yorke’s thoughts on ‘detection’, as much as those of his on ‘narrative’, are used in a broad, psychological sense.
In no way did I expect or insist that chosen submissions conformed to a structural or generic understanding of either detection or narrative. Instead, I and the editorial board almost unanimously chose those items whose tone, theme and psychological undercurrent were consistent with the elusive aspects of detection that, at least in one sense, define it: the search, longing, resolution, the ineluctable, catastrophe.
We hope you enjoy the items in this issue. And that you keep searching.
 Yorke, John. 2013. Into the Woods: A Five Act Journey into Story, London: Penguin.
Read an excerpt from “Black City” by Adam Cramb:
Caffeine, codeine, and Benzedrine. American Gothic and dharma desolation. We’d all been outsourced to the North. Doing long hall for 2-4. She had been burning good and long in this cold of September. The dark-side of morning moving aside he comes up on me at top speed over the shoulder. Full rack and healthy stag clipping alongside my speed. He makes a delicate wink at me and feels like childhood. This crisis was sleep deprived.
No choice but to push on a little further down, another 50. Knows there a stop ahead, 100 outside limit of Black City, the shortest route to what things will become anyways. I am full of deer and the altitude, I tell ya pardner, that mind, she’s a hard one to tame, it’s so despairing. The inevitable doom, the inevitable gloom, of Black City up ahead. I pulls her back and she bounds and brakes kind of soft into her knees.
The stop was a regular banality. The only place to go on holiday between the horizon line and Black City. It was a non-functional joint that doesn’t really do anything. It was a kind of longing that starts the process and then someone comes out and asks what you need.
Last time I was through I left my hat behind.
“Check the lost and found shed by the tree.”
Itch back issues, 1-12
Image from “Ponds” by Marisa Culatto
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Verdict: carrot with criticism
One thing I hate is people who spell Africa with a “k.” So the title, Reclaiming Afrikan: Queer Perspectives On Sexual And Gender Identities, when I thought it was “African,” made me think this was a book right up my alley.
I was wrong, but not in the ways I expected.
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Cambridge University Press and Love Books would like to invite you to the launch of Freedom Is Power: Liberty Through Political Representation by Lawrence Hamilton.
Hamilton will be in conversation with Laurence Piper, Professor of Political Studies at the University of the Western Cape.
The launch will be at the Wits Club on Tuesday, 2 December, at 5:30 PM.
See you there!
- Date: Tuesday, 2 December 2014
- Time: 5:30 PM
- Venue: Wits Club
University of the Witwatersrand
Johannesburg | Map
- Guest Speaker: Laurence Piper
- Refreshments: Refreshments will be served
- RSVP: Gillian Renshaw, Gillian.Renshaw@wits.ac.za, 0117174363
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New African, an international magazine focused on bringing news and stories from the African continent and the African diaspora to the world, has announced its list of the Most Influential Africans of 2014.
In the introduction, the editors note that the list reflects the 100 Africans who, in their opinion, have made the biggest impact on the world this year – albeit negative in some cases:
Some may be part of an old guard that just never tires. Some may be children of the future with footprints deeper and weightier than their years. And some you may never have even heard of as they’ve been innovating, creating and debating behind the scenes. But without exception, and in their own way, the people we have chosen – our most influential Africans of 2014 – have left the world a little different this year.
Without further ado, here are the South Africans included in New African’s list of influential figures:
Politics and Public Office:
Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, former president Thabo Mbeki, Economic Freedom Fighter Julius Malema, public protector Thuli Madonsela, chairperson of the African Union Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Johannesburg High Court judge Thokozile Masipa (who sentenced Oscar Pistorius), and recently retired United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
Business and Economy:
Space-travelling businessman Mark Shuttleworth, mining tycoon Bridgette Radebe, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) CEO Elon Musk, Johannesburg Stock Exchange CEA Nicky Newton-King, finance minister turned private advisor Trevor Manuel, Glencore Xstrata CEO Ivan Glasenberg, and Smile Telecoms CEO Irene Charnley.
Civil Society and Activism:
International executive director of Greenpeace Kumi Naidoo, AMCU head Joseph Mathunjwa, Chair of the Board of Directors Partnership Council of GAIN Jay Naidoo, and NUMSA secretary general Irvin Jim.
Religion and Tradition:
Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu.
Science and Academia:
Astrophysicist and founding director of Astronomy Africa Thebe Medupe, and epidemiologist and leader in HIV and AIDS research Quarraisha Abdool Karim.
Talk radio queen Redi Tlhabi, straight-talking puppet Chester Missing, political cartoonist Zapiro, global news reporter Thabang Motsei, Daily Maverick editor Branko Brkic, and City Press editor Ferial Haffajee.
Arts and Culture:
King of comedy Trevor Noah, playwright Athol Fugard, township tech pioneer Spoek Mathambo, award-winning fashion designer David Tlale, house music duo Mafikizolo, and living legend of Afro-jazz Hugh Masekela.
South Africa’s first non-white Protea cricket captain Hashim Amla.
New African has also included many notable African authors on their latest list of Most Influential Africans: Binyavanga Wainaina, NoViolet Bulawayo, Wole Soyinka, Fatou Diome, Teju Cole, Yvonne Owuor and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o – all writers who, in their own right, have made a lasting impact on the world in 2014.
To discover more about these inspiring people, have a look at Books LIVE’s selection of book on or by those included on the list:
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Ons het dalk al baie van dié stories gehoor, soos Reitz se wedervaringe en Churchill se “avonture”, maar nie uit Bossenbroek se unieke Nederlandse perspektief nie. Hy bewys net weer die waarde van ’n professionele historikus se weloorwoë oordeel oor dít wat in die verlede gebeur het; iets wat baie verfrissend is as jy onlangs blootgestel is aan ’n boek wat glo Boereoorlog-mites wou ontbloot, maar verval het in histeriese en onhistoriese kroegargumente.
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