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Check out a Guide to the Best Stargazing Spots in the Southern Hemisphere (Excerpt from Offbeat SA) @PRHSouthAfrica struiktravel.bookslive.co.za/blog/2015/03/2…

Archive for the ‘Academic’ Category

Don’t Miss Nuruddin Farah in Conversation with Achille Mbembe and Mandla Langa at WiSER

Nuruddin Farah

 
Hiding in Plain SightThe Texture of ShadowsOn the PostcolonyThe wRite associates in partnership with the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) invite you to a discussion of prominent Somali novelist Nuruddin Farah’s Hiding in Plain Sight.

Farah will be in conversation with philosopher and political scientist Achille Mbembe (On the Postcolony) and PEN SA executive vice president Mandla Langa (The Texture of Shadows).

The event will take place in the WiSER Seminar Room on Friday, 27 March, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Friday, 27 March 2015
  • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM
  • Venue: WiSER Seminar Room,
    6th Floor, Richard Ward Building
    East Campus
    Wits University | Map
  • Speakers: Nuruddin Farah, Achille Mbembe and Mandla Langa
  • RSVP: info@writeassociates.co.za, 011 791 3585

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Annemarie van Niekerk resenseer Die Boereoorlog deur Martin Bossenbroek

Die BoereoorlogUitspraak: wortel

Ek is my nie bewus van enige ander soortgelyk beeldende en treffende vertelling van die Boereoorlog nie. Die neutraliteit waarmee Bossenbroek skryf, is van so ’n aard dat selfs die-hard ondersteuners van óf die Boere- óf die Britse saak tydens die lees nie ’n oomblik te na gekom sal voel nie.

Ek kyk nou op ’n ander manier na die familiefoto teen die eetkamermuur. Dit is geneem waarskynlik so vier jaar nadat die Vrede van Vereeniging onderteken is. Jy sien hulle het hul beste klere aan vir die foto, maar jy sien dat hulle ten spyte daarvan ’n tikkie gehawend lyk. Soms, as jy lank genoeg kyk, lyk dit of die oumagrootjie se boesem op en af beweeg, asof sy moeilik asemhaal, en of die oupagrootjie sy stram been effens versit. Dis Bossenbroek se skuld.

Boekbesonderhede


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Woordfees 2015: Louise Viljoen gesels met Francis Galloway oor Die mond vol vuur

Die mond vol vuurLouise Viljoen het op Vrydag, 13 Maart met Francis Galloway gesels oor haar boek, Die mond vol vuur: Beskouings oor die werk van Breyten Breytenbach. Die gesprek het in die Boektent plaasgevind.

Die hoofstukke in Die mond vol vuur hanteer elk bepaalde temas, maar poësie staan op die voorgrond. Viljoen het gesê dat Breytenbach nie skroom om te brand en met passie te skryf nie.

Viljoen en Galloway het ook gesels oor Breytenbach se spel met name en sy gesprek met digterlike vaders soos NP van Wyk Louw en DJ Opperman.

Helené Prinsloo (@helenayp) het regstreeks vanaf die gesprek met #Woordfees2015 getwiet:


 

 

Boekbesonderhede


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Catch Jonathan Jansen, Zapiro, Mandy Wiener, Jo-Anne Richards and Many More at the Knysna Literary Festival 2015

Knysna Literary Festival

 
Alert! The sixth annual Knysna Literary Festival kicks off on 18 March, featuring a diverse range of authors and talks. With a Young Writers Awards Ceremony, events around the untold stories of Nelson Mandela and Reeva Steenkamp, discussions of politics, history and sport, and a chance to mingle with the award-winning author Jo-Anne Richards, the programme has something for everyone.

Here are some of the books by authors that will feature at the festival:

To Quote MyselfBehind the DoorCall It Like It IsDragons and ButterfliesThe Great Run
Here I AmOpposite MandelaHow to Fix South Africa's SchoolsIt's Code Red!The Imagined Child

Featured authors include Khaya Dlanga, Mandy Wiener, Jonathan Kaplan, Shani Krebs, Braam Malherbe, PJ Powers, Tony Leon, Graeme Butchart, Jonathan Jansen, Zapiro and Jo-Anne Richards.

Have a look at the programme. Some events are already sold out, so book as soon as possible to avoid missing out!

Knysna Literary Festival Programme 2015 by Books LIVE

 

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“Andre Brink is Not Dead” – Breyten Breytenbach’s Emotive Tribute from the Public Memorial at UCT

Andre Brink, a Portrait

 
Earlier this week the University of Cape Town, where André Brink was an Emeritus Professor at the time of his death, hosted a public memorial in tribute to his life, at which Breyten Breytenbach delivered a stirring and eloquent address.

Vice-chancellor Max Price, who acted as the master of ceremonies for the event, welcomed the large crowd made up of family, friends, students, dignitaries and academics, and introduced the esteemed speakers who had gathered to pay tribute to the late author.

 
Brink’s wife, Karina M Szczurek, spoke first, and began by saying that she was not standing at the podium as a writer, critic, or intellectual, but as “a woman who has lost the love of her life”. She shared a moving letter she wrote to Brink years ago, which he had read before she proposed to him. They were married in 2006 and, as Szczurek said in closing her tribute, “our journey continues”.

Brink’s son Gustav, who bears an startling resemblance to his father, read a eulogy that played cleverly with references to his father’s works, and said “you can never condense his life to seven feet”, referring to Brink’s casket. “26 feet, maybe, one for each novel. But even then I think it would be too small,” he added.

Breytenbach, Brink’s long-time friend and fellow word activist, reminded listeners, “André Brink is not dead.” He explained: “He’d been writing for so long and written so much and so knowledgeably on so many themes and situations that I am sure we’ll find a response, if we were to look, to whatever statement we wish to make about him.”

Euzhan Palcy, the French director responsible for the film adaptation of A Dry White Season, flew all the way from Martenique to honour his memory. She told the audience that they (her, Brink and the rest of the living team) had planned a South African premiere of A Dry White Season for this year – which would have been a first, as the film was banned upon its release, in 1989. Palcy vowed to continue with the plan.

Brink memorialMartin Buysse from Université Catholique de Louvain, where Brink received an honorary degree the day before his passing, came all the way from Belgium for this special occasion, and shared some poignant anecdotes from those precious days before Brink’s final flight. “You died above borders, conflicts, and limits,” he said.

Buysse expressed sincere condolences from his institution in Louvain-la-Neuve and stressed that Brink will forever be part of their community.

Ian Glenn spoke on behalf of UCT, remembering Brink as an educator “sans comparison”. In closing, the former head of the English department, to which Brink was so devoted for so long, said: “UCT, and South Africa, will miss André Brink, deeply.”

Between these tributes, Price shared commendations from past and present members of the Department of English to which Brink was connected, including JM Coetzee, Meg Samuelson and Helen Moffett.

Below is Breytenbach’s tribute, which was delivered both in Afrikaans, English and French (transcribed by Books LIVE):
 

* * * * * * * *

 

Breyten Breytenbach

 
Karina, Gustav, family members of André Brink, Vice Chancellor Price, ladies and gentlemen, friends and colleagues.

I am honoured by this invitation to participate in a tribute to André Brink as a person and a friend and to his work as critic, author and teacher. Permit me first of all to thank his family and publishers who made this possible.

Et madame l’ambassadeur, ça fait plaisir de voir que vous êtes là. Si je savais d’avance on aurait pu essayer de faire l’effort de parler au moins un peu de Français aussi. On a tous le deux un lien tout à fait particulier avec la France. Soyez le bienvenue.

Ek wil begin deur julle te vertel van ’n droom wat ek onlangs ’n paar nagte gelede gehad het. Ek het gedroom ek is terug in hierdie land om deel te neem aan ’n eerbetoon vir ’n vriend wat heengegaan het. Die ontslape vriend se naam is A, en ons het oor ’n lang tyd kontak met mekaar verloor. Hoe ’n mooi woord is ‘ontslapene’ net nie. Hy of sy wat uit die slaap uit gewek sal word, maar ook die oorledene wat nooit weer sal slaap nie. My onmiddelike familie, vrou en kind, was saam met my en eintlik was ons op vlug van onveiligheid na onveiligheid. ’n Veiligheidspolisieman was op my spoor, knaend seder jare. Ek het hom slegs as skadufiguur geken en gehoor daar word na hom verwys as “die oue”. Sy aftree, het ek verneem, was op hande. Hy het afgeskimmel in die tuig van staatsbeskerming. Trouens, hy het net gewag vir daardie een laaste kans om my in hegtenis te neem en so, sy obsessie te les, voordat hy verdwyn in die voue van die geskiedenis.

Die huldiginseremonie sou oor twee weke plaasvind. Dit was byna asof ek die oue, dis byna asof die oue en ek ’n afspraak gemaak het om daar ons trajekte tot volvoering te bring. Ons word tog nie jonger nie. Die land was bar en arm en verwaarloos en ons het van die een skuilplek na die ander beweeg. Vriende van lank gelede het ons onderdak en brood gegee, maar dit was gou duidelik dat die oue op ons hakke is en een van my gashere het verleë gebieg dat hulle eintlik almal gedwing word om informante vir die veiligheidsdiens te wees. Hulle kon nie anders as om my bewegings te rapporteer nie. Dit was immers die tyd van versoening; hulle het gelate aanvaar dat hulle tot ’n vergelyk moes kom met die nuwe realiteite.

In die twee weke wat ons na die verrigtinge op pad was, was aspekte van A se lewe en oortuigings waarvan ek voorheen nie bewus was nie bietjie vir bietjie aan my openbaar. Ek was nie seker of dit die beskaamde informante was wat my die onthullings of die verfyning van kennis ingefluister het nie. Alhoewel niks wat ek in die twee weke half teen my sin geleer het omtrent A my anders oor hom sou laat voel nie, het ek besef dat dit ’n veel komplekser taak sou wees om na behore hulde aan hom te betoon as waarop ek bedag was.

Ek het wakker geword met ’n gevoel van doofheid en van angs. Die oue sou my nie arresteer nie. Die tyd van so voltrekking was verby en die ons was lankal nie meer dieselfde mense as prooi en jagter nie. Hy sou my tien teen een nie eers herken nie. Miskien sou ek ook net die geleentheid bywoon om sy leedwese te betoon en op dié manier ’n hoofstuk klaar te maak. Ek sou egter nie sy hand skud nie. Ek onthou dat ek met die terugkeer in die vroeë negentigs ook nie myself so ver kon kry om as vorige vyande om die nek te val al het die bevrydingsbeweging toé hand om die blaas met hulle gestaan en suip. Die angsgevoel was natuurlik te wyte aan die feit dat ek nie reg kon laat geskied aan A nie.

Now I don’t need to have recourse to Freud’s never-never land of the subconscious that I approach this tribute to Brink with trepidation and a large amount of ignorance. He, Freud, was anyway just a fool writer who thought of himself as a scientist, just like I am now a fool to imagine I can properly and comprehensively talk about André. It should anyway have been an interactive conversation. I am sure there are many people here now in this hall who have far more pertinent and insightful things to remember about the wordmaker. And I may not be telling you what you want to hear. But, as fools, I want to rush in. Let me move in haphazard fashion through some of the terrain we shared and draw a few conclusions that André may well have refuted. Before going there, however, I want to linger a little while on the fact that André is not dead.

We experience by recall. We know by association. We exist by the imagination of others and by the telling of those projections. Rosa Montero in a book called La ridícula idea de no volver a verte – the ridiculous notion that I will not see you again – wrote: “Para vivir, dice la escritora, tenemos que narrarnos.” To live we have to narrate ourselves. Of course, André is not present physically to comment, inflect, calibrate or deny what we collectively and individually imagine and remember of him. Although I am not sure about that. I mean about his ability to participate. He’d been writing for so long and written so much and so knowledgeably on so many themes and situations that I am sure we’ll find a response, if we were to look, to whatever statement we wish to make about him. So no, André Brink is not dead. The narrative may have become more sombre but it is not interrupted. He will continue to take part in a conversation.

The reflections do not take place in a historical void. Environment and circumstances evolve and our interaction with him will evolve as well. Successive generations will select, shape, confirm or discard aspects of what his writing was about. We are cannibals, or survivalists if you wish, so we take what we need and can work with for whatever purpose. Why, we do it even with the living! We pair people down to the manageable simplification of what we consider to be key characteristics exactly as we do with characters in a novel. Perhaps we do this because we fear being dissipated by the ambient chaos if it weren’t for our instinctive filtering of experiences. We continuously fashion our sense of being, we scratch our surface and try to seek patterns. We recount ourselves to ourselves – mostly tragic stories of not being understood, but that’s by the way. We confine in order to focus. We need the tunnel so as to envisage the light at the end of it. When one writes with the passion of André Brink the work will be a thread leading into the heart of being in a labyrinth. So no again, André Brink is not dead.

Let us for a while at least keep alive the richness and diversity and complexity in our reading of him. The wildness. The contradictions. The naivety. The idealism. All the movements of a normal man.

Although he was intensely aware of the image of himself that he projected and often tried to control, for whatever reason, I don’t think he shied away from any of the options or obligations that the writer has at his or her disposal. He was curious, fearless in appropriating whatever was needed for his stories, maybe insatiable in his need for comprehension and above all he had an open mind. Does this sound contradictory? Were these writerly attributes enough to shield him against the cold wind of time?

In a dream, I had an informant host in a temporary refuge ask rhetorically, and I quote: “Did it ever occur to André that he might be wrong about almost everything, and need to rethink it all from first principles?” If by that it is meant that André’s published position was that of a liberal, my informant had a point. Clearly liberalism, or even idealism, had no traction other than being used as leverage to protect the rich. But recognising or not recognising the deadly dead end we are now in does not do away with the need to continue pointing out the injustices of the past.

Dis waar dat ons mekaar oor ’n lang tyd geken het en dat dit veral rondom die middel sestigerjare toe hy by ons tuisgegaan het in Parys ’n seminale tydperk, ’n vormingstyd vir André was soos ook vir my. Ons het die skakeling tussen die tyd waarin ons toé betrokke was teen sensuur, teen die hegemonie van kerk en kultuur en politiek van die Afrikaner establishment, en die groter omvang van die nasionale vryheidstryd begin ervaar. Die nóg groter konteks was die van vryheidsoorloë, gevolg deur onafhanklikheidswording in van die vroeëre Europese kolonies, van werklike internasionale solidariteit en van opstand onder die jeug in groot dele van Europa. Ons het geglo dat ons in die vooraand is en op die voorstoep sit van ’n verskuiwing in internasionale magsverhoudings.

Die wurggreep van imperialisme sou moét verslap die houvas van Stalinistiese kommunisme oor die vakbonde en opstandige studente organisasies oral in die wêreld sou afgeskud word. Agterna gesien is dit duidelik dat ons nie net naïef was nie. Die omswaai in hoe die wêreld funksioneer het toe nié gebeur nie – daarvoor is die mens se drang tot uitbuiting en magswellus miskein te sterk – maar ook a-histories en goedgelowig betreffende die verandering in Suid-Afrika.

Ahistories, omdat ons ons blind gestaar het teen reaksies wat ons aksies teen die apartheidstaat uitgelok het, en maar min aandag gegee het aan die feit byvoorbeeld dat ons swart medeskrywers se werke al lankal verbied was en dat ons swart en bruin landgenote veel swaarder gekry het onder die juk van onderdrukking as wat ooit die geval vir ons sou wees. Goedgelowig, omdat ons nie kon insien dat die bevrydingsbeweging waaraan ons ons steun toegesê het maar net nóg ’n magmasjien sou wees nie. Met die voortekens toé al het die organisasie kernvrottes sonder omvattende visie van die werklike probleme vorentoe en die wonderlike moontlikhede en uitdagings wat bevryding sou kon bied as bevestiging van oorkoepelende waardes en bekragtinge van ons veelvolkere spesifisiteit. En sonder ’n etos. Revolusionêr of andersins, ten spyte daarvan dat die stryd histories legitiem was, en deur byna die ganse wêreld as sodanig gesien is en daarom hoop laat opvlam het elders. Ons het gedog, hier kom ’n ding! En kon nie insien dat ons op sy beste slegs bruikbare hanskakies sou wees in ’n groter stryd om mag en voorregte en byvoordele nie.

Ons paaie, André s’n en myne, het geskei. Hy is terug Suid-Afrika toe en uiteindelik het dit geblyk dat hy veel meer sou vermag, veel meer mense tot ander insigte sou laat kom, veel nader sou beweeg aan die prosesse van versinning wat toé nog nie voltooi was nie en nou nog nie voltooi is nie as wat iemand soos ek ooit sou kon doen.

He was always a single minded writer. Did he accept that his influence as writer, with all the doubts and cussedness coming with the calling, would be more far-reaching and far more enduring than the activism or moral probity ascribed to him by an unenlightened and voracious foreign readership? Ah, we were seduced so easily into thinking of ourselves as victims as well, if not actually as heroes.

The best thing that ever happened to André, perhaps inadvertently, was to not become mixed up in politics. In so saying I am not denigrating the political reach of his positions, or his civic role and influence as angry citizen. Indeed, the values imbued in his work are of existential worth, ultimately far more relevant than those incarnated by a rubber political cast or by the blunted tongues of the ex-believers among us. Particularly we, the expedient whites who sucked the bitter brass of bitter corruptness.

His was a peculiar empathy of the writer. Gutting history for the purposes of a good story, stealing people’s intimate emotions if necessary, and yet, literature survives even with greater truth as history perishes. We will remember and read Victor Hugo long after we have forgotten Napoleon Bonaparte, we turn to Tolstoy if we want to understand what happened in Russia and not to the history of the Tsars and the generals. There is an odd ambivalence here, reality only exists and remains with us to the extent that it is imagined. One could say transformed, and maybe even invented.

Die vryheid en die krag van André was dié van ’n skrywer. Dis waarby ek wil stilstaan. Hy was ’n passeur. Na binnetoe, iemand wat ons bewus gemaak het van wat in ander lande en tradisies gebeur van die groter waardes en implikasies waarbinne die skrywer beweeg. Na buite, dat ons nie almal só is nie. Dat die plaaslike realiteite dalk meer genuanseerd is as wat die buitewêreld gerieflikheidshalwe wil dink. Mens kan selfs sê dat hy paradoksaal die eer van die Afrikaners help red het en daarom, dié van Afrikaans. Hy het die heersende idee van eenselwigheid onder die ortodoksie aan bewind aan die kaak gestel en gewys, in sy stellingnames en skrywer as romansier en essayis en resensent en leermeester, op die anderselwigheid wat daar ook in die land was. Hierin het hy groot voorlopers en baanbrekers gehad aan wie hy ook erkenning gegee het. Van Wyk Louw, Uys Krige, Rob Antonisen, Jan Rabie, iemand soos Peter Blum as skerp digter, Piet Philander en SW Pietersen en Adam Small en Ingrid Jonker, wat vir ons die volheid van die gebroke se bestaan kon verwoord. En ook in Engels. Ek dink aan Alan Paton, maar eweneens aan die Drumgeneration: Es’kia Mphahlele, Lewis Nkosi, Can Themba en andere – al het André eers later van hulle kennis geneem. As volksvreemde kon hy sy denke voed en dit vir ons aangee met die groot voorbeelde uit ander taalgebiede, soos Albert Camus in Frans. Voor hom en die voorlopers wat ek nou hier genoem het was ons dalk minder bewus van die universaliteit van skrywe en die skrywer se rol. Dat die groot taak van skrywers in die geskiedenis nog altyd dieselfde was. Om van hondedrolle van die alledaagse sterre te maak, wat ’n bietjie lig kan werp op die pad wat ons almal bewandel duisternis toe. Maar ook om uit te wys hoe gereeld die sterre dan die hondedrolle is waarin ons trap op daardie sterreweg. Ek dink aan Dostoyevsky, Dickens, Cervantes, Balzac, en die groot Latyns-Amerikaanse voorbeelde.

André is a reminder that a writer is a bulwark against forgetting the need to continue our engagement with matters of concern to the community. We know that we have to fight power word by word, that the area of creating perceptions will always be contested between politicians and those who can transcribe the pains and the aspirations of those citizens. Only too often we slide away in our ivory towers and our walls of learning or hide in our Facebooks.

As a writer, André’s sympathy clearly was always to the downdrodden. Those deprived by systems and policies and religions of the full potential of humanity. The self is an appearance in the shape of a story. They veils we use, the cloths and the stances, may be equated with posts of opposition in a style ethical relationship to contents. But at least potentially this dance is about agency, helping to equip and empower the individual citizen or reader to resist the state and by so doing assuming his or her part of responsibility in conceiving of greater awareness, more justice, better care in compassionate societies.

As dit dan so is dat ons Brink se voorbeeld wil eer, waarnatoe dan nou? Of, soos ’n tweede informant in my droom gesêvra het na sy verduideliking dat ons moet aanbeweeg, dat dit gevaarlik sou wees om daar te oornag: Wat word van die skrywer as openbare intellektueel? Watter belangrike rol het Brink gespeel? En is ’n figuur soos Brink nog denkbaar in ons huidige tydsgewrig? Of eggo elke skrywerstem nou bloot in die klankdigte nis van die kleinende paradogiale letterkunde? Watter impak of verskil kan ’n Afrikaanse skrywer nog maak?

Ek sou graag die antwoord wou hê en die basuin wou kon blaas van ‘ons moet’ of ‘julle behoort’ maar helaas, dis lankal nie meer so eenvoudig nie. Die sentrum, die ideaal van die eties gefundeerde nasie waarvan ons geglo het volledig deel te kan wees, en waartoe ons in alle voortvaarendheid gedink het ons ’n bydrae sou kon maak, het lankal buite bereik verskyf en reageer nou na gelang van belange en ’n verwysingsveld wat vir meeste van ons duister is. Die eie sentrum vanwaar ons reaksies kon loods is lankal verwar, ontbind, afgetakel, en op die winde van depolitisering en dikwels ook blindelingse en hedonistiese eiebelang uitgestrooi.

Ek vermoed dis die inpas, dieselfde kontrastering van onmag waarvoor André ook te staan gekom het. Alhoewel, mens wil nie woorde in die ontslapene se mond loop lê nie want hy is nie daar om te kou en uit te spoeg as dit nodig is nie. Die gegewe is inderdaad moeiliker. Iets is verkeerd in hierdie geweldadige en in wese onregverdige republiek. Miskien is dit nie net die middele wat die doel besmet het nie, maar die basis van aannames waarop dit tot stand gekom het. Ons het te doen met ’n politieke bedeling wat nie ’n dêm omgee vir enige politiese bevraagtekening, wat duidelik nooit nadink oor waardes nie, wat skynbaar seker is omtrent hulle identiteit, met wie jy nie eens in gesprek kan tree nie. Jy kan hulle nie tot verantwoordelik roep in die naam van die nuwe nasie nie – daar is nie so iets nie. En, soos by die vorige regime, is die gryses weér al hoe sterker aanwesig in die skrewe en die nate van die staat; met dieselfde funksies, en ongebreidelde mag, die veiligheidsapparaatjies, hulle wat hulle psigopatiese afwykings strafloos uitlewe en vrye teuels kan gee aan hul verminkte selfbeeld. Hulle is van dieselfde rottenes van sluipers en afluisteraars as hulle voorgangers met die kougomharsings en die donkerbrille met as voorbok: die Nasionale Giggelaar. Die verskil met die vorige regime is dat hierdie een nog wettig is in die historiese proses en met meerheid steun. Hoe beveg mens dit? Uit hoofde waarvan? Met watter hoop op inspraak, indien dan nie saampraat nie?

Dis moeilik om enige protesterende stemme te hoor bo die klankverorberende eindloos trillende web waar alles dieselfde is en niks meer saak maak nie. Of bo die selfverkneukeling van die sogenaamde sosiale media. En tog, die behoefte tot bydrae bly bestaan. Die skeppende persoon wat met die materie van sein omgaan en soms die modder, kan nie anders as om krities ingestel te wees nie. Solank daar ’n ondersoekende bewussyn is, solank daar nog helderte is, en dalk selfs ver verby in die donkerte want wie sal weet en wie kan sê. Soos nog altyd in die seisoene van die menslike bestaan is die vraag nou weer hier en die vraag bly opduik: Wat is die sin van ons bestaan? En in die soeke na ’n tydelike antwoord sal ons bly uitreik na die eenvoud van meervuldigheid, na die verantwoordelikheid en troos van medemenslikheid, na die een word met die ander as oplossing.

Perhaps André would have agreed with me, that the struggle has always been against all forms of hegemony and orthodoxy. In fact, against the very notion of power and repression. That it would be a contest for the unadulterated word, for meaning and accountability, for the right to doubt, for an ethical and creative and transformative imagination, for the fullness of citizenship to be heard away from partisan politics, against the corrupt so-called cadre plundering elite, against snooty multiculturally-correct fundamentalists. For this struggle there will never be a majority, and perhaps not even legitimacy, as usually understood. In a world of monotheist capitalism, that is the consumerist culture, the reification of greed, moral obtuseness, indifference, the stupidity of power – we have to learn again how to be audacious, utopian and daring.

Wat my persoonlik aangaan, en dit is wat ek met André sou wou kon bespreek: In ’n wêreld van doodmaak, van bestaans- en omgewingsvernietiging, waar ons gevier en deel word deur ’n woedende obskurantisme eendersheids en die blinde kapitalisme andersheids wat soos ’n walg al hoe vetter en afstoteliker word, is weerstand dan nie ’n guerilla stryd nie? Ek wil hom belowe dat ek sal bly soek na medepligtiges, hoe verbygaan dinge ook, na makkers met wie ’n mens ten minste nog ’n paar brûe van selfversekerheid kan opblaas, want die senupunte waar mens kan hoop om ontwrigting te kan veroorsaak is nog daar, al is dit moeiliker om by hulle uit te kom.

Intussen sal ons teen die mure moet skryf dat die mens as kermende wese nogsteeds die kardinale verwysing is. Dat niks doodmaak, fisies of die armoede en onkunde kan regverdig nie, en wanneer niemand dit sien nie sal ons klippies gaan pak op die grafte van die engele. Maar ek besef ook dat dit ’n radikale posisie is. En dat ek dalk swig voor die versoeking om kaal soos ’n geplukte kapokhaan sonder kraai of stertvere die wêreld uit te gaan.

I want to conclude with a potpourri of quotes. All those I couldn’t fit into the text. Maybe they will illustrate more clearly than the various facets of my attempted tribute to André Brink. In Vietnam where my wife is from it is customary to put some offering before the altar, often the effigy of the departed one or the ancestor. Cigarettes, whiskey, fresh fruit. What could be more apposite than to leave André with words?

First, Jorge Luis Borges who said somewhere in an interview, and I quote: “Luckily memory is not limited. One may forget in order to create anew, to imagine anew.” And a little further: “Each language is a way of experiencing reality.” And then this: “The gods do something horrible to people so that later generations may have something to sing about.”

André himself, from Devil’s Valley, as Willie Burger reminded us in a recent article in the Sun Independent, and I quote: “Look man, there is nothing you can do about tomorrow, it comes as it must. All you can something about is yesterday. But the problem with yesterday is that it never stays down. You’ve got to keep stamping on it.” And still from the same book: “We fabricate yesterdays for ourselves which we can live with, which make the future possible even if it remains infinitely variable and vulnerable. A whole bloody network of flickerings and intimate lightning to illuminate the darkness inside.” In the paragraph before this the character speaking here Flip Lochner muses, and again I quote: “Who knows, if we understood what was happening to us we might not have needed stories in the first place.”

And finally, I want to read an extract from a piece written by Oliver Sacks and published in the New York Times on February the 19th recently. The piece is called “My Own Life”. I’d like to imagine that this maybe what André would have agreed with, he may even have said it himself. Sacks, whom you may remember as the author of Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat is a neurologist teaching at NYU School of Medicine. He wrote this on learning that he has terminal cancer, terminal metastases in the liver with at best only a few months left to live, and I quote:

“I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.

“I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.

“Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”

Thank you.
 

* * * * * * * *

 
Listen to a podcast of the memorial, recorded and shared by UCT:

 

* * * * * * * *

 
Helené Prinsloo (@helenayp) tweeted live from the event:
 


 

 

* * * * * * * *

 

 

PhilidaDevil's ValleyLooking on DarknessAn Instant in the WindThe Other Side of SilenceA Chain of VoicesOther Lives
Mediterreense herinneringeBidsprinkaanPhilidaDie eerste lewe van AdamastorBidsprinkaanDonkermaanHoud-Den-Bek
A Dry White SeasonInvisible OthersVyf-en-veertig skemeraandsange uit die eenbeendanser se werkruimteDie ongedanste dansDie windvangerTrue Confessions of An Albino TerroristContrary

 

Book details

  • Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life edited by Okwui Enwezor, Rory Bester
    EAN: 9783791352800
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  • Contrary: Critical Responses to the Novels of Andre Brink edited by Karina Magdalena Szczurek, Willie Burger
    EAN: 9781869198466
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Image credits to Victor Dlamini (top), Karina Szczurek (middle), UCT (left)


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Oxford University Press to Sponsor National Literacy Conference in Cape Town

Oxford University Press Southern Africa will sponsor the ninth Pan-African Literacy for All and 10th Reading Association of South Africa (RASA) National Literacy Conference this year.

Richard IIPostcolonial EcologiesA New University Anthology of English PoetryBorn Free and Equal?African VoicesWilliam and Dorothy WordsworthEnglish for Academic Purposes

The conference will take place from 2 to 5 September in Cape Town, and the theme for this year’s event is Imagination and Literacy: Theory and Practice.

Keynote speakers will include International Literacy Association director Marcie Craig Post, Gcina Mhlophe, research professors Barbara Comber (Australia), Viv Edwards (UK) and Kieran Egan (Canada), as well as principal of the St Mary’s Junior School in Waverley, Johannesburg, Desiree Hugo.

The conference programme will be finalised by the 15 April, and the Saturday programme will be finalised by 1 August.

Press release

Oxford University Press to sponsor major African Literacy Conference

Oxford University Press Southern Africa today announced that it will sponsor a major African literacy conference in 2015. The 9th Pan-African Literacy for All and 10th Reading Association of South Africa (RASA) National Literacy Conference will host some of the leading thinkers on literacy in Cape Town from 2-5 September.

The conference theme is Imagination and Literacy: Theory and Practice. It will provide a forum for teachers, teacher educators, writers, librarians, researchers, academics, publishers, parents, children, and local and international development workers to showcase research, practice and innovative literacy strategies that imaginatively engage literacy development across Africa.

The event will begin with three days of talks, academic papers, and workshops on classroom practice. The final day will be open to the public and aimed at community involvement through a series of events including stalls, installations and practical sessions around the theme of igniting imagination.

Keynote speakers will include International Literacy Association Director Marcie Craig Post, South African activist and storyteller Gcina Mhlophe, research professors Barbara Comber (Australia), Viv Edwards (UK) and Kieran Egan (Canada), as well as principal of the St Mary’s Junior School in Waverley, Johannesburg, Desiree Hugo.

Oxford University Press Southern Africa is sponsoring the event in line with its commitment to education in Africa. The South African branch of OUP is celebrating its centenary this year – a 100 years of publishing for Southern Africa – through support to initiatives like this conference.

Steve Cilliers, Managing Director of Oxford University Press Southern Africa notes that: “South Africa’s continued challenge to turn the corner in improving literacy rates requires a redoubled commitment from all role-players which include curriculum developers, teachers and publishers. The challenge of preparing most South African learners for English as the language of learning while they are still mastering their mother tongue makes this particularly challenging. OUP is a global leader in emerging literacy and commit ourselves to sharing this expertise as widely as we can.”

Pan-African Literacy for All conferences, are important literacy events in Africa, providing a platform for literacy professionals and researchers to interface with policy makers in government and the donor community. They have taken place every two years since 1999 in countries including Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda.

This year’s event will be run in association with the International Literacy Association (ILA) and the International Development Committee-Africa (IDC-A). It will be organised by RASA — a leading South African literacy organisation which regularly organises conferences that draw together most of the South African experts on literacy.

Associate Professor Karin Murris, Chair of the RASA/Pan-African 2015 Literacy Conference Committee, said: “To raise standards worldwide it is essential that everyone involved in teaching literacy learns how to engage the imagination systematically and to its full potential. The imagination is tied up with feelings and images, with wonder and excitement. From making learning engaging to making it possible to comprehend and critique a text, the imagination is an educational tool that needs to be nurtured, nourished and invested in. The conference will provide the theoretical and practical ideas to bring more imagination into your teaching, whether in school or at university.”

For further information about the conference go to www.rasa2015.co.za.

Ends

Some Oxford University book details

  • Born Free and Equal?: A Philosophical Inquiry Into the Nature of Discrimination by Lippert-Rasmussen Kasper
    EAN: 9780199796113
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  • A New University Anthology of English Poetry by M Anderson, edited by E Pereira, MC Andersen and SG Kossick
    EAN: 9780195708738
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Amanda Esterhuysen Reviews Forgotten World Alex Schoeman, Peter Delius and Tim Maggs

Forgotten World: The Stone Walled Settlements of the Mpumalanga EscarpmentVerdict: carrot

Forgotten World offers information about and insight into the stone-walled archaeological sites that range across the Mpumalanga escarpment.These spectacular stone circles, terraces and pathways have inspired many exotic and fantastical tales of alien occupation, ancient temples and celestial observatories; romantic tales that take hold of the imagination easily because knowledge disseminated about the people who built the sites has been omitted from the extensive, but often biased, annals of South African history.

Book Details

  • Forgotten World: The Stone Walled Settlements of the Mpumalanga Escarpment by Alex Schoeman, Peter Delius and Tim Maggs
    EAN: 9781868147748
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Helize van Vuuren resenseer Die mond vol vuur: Beskouings oor die werk van Breyten Breytenbach deur Louise Viljoen

Die mond vol vuur: Beskouings oor die werk van Breyten BreytenbachUitspraak: wortel

“Watter doel dien digters in nooddruftige tye?” (“Wozu Dichter in dürftiger Zeit?”) het Heidegger eenmaal gevra. Met Louise Viljoen se verhelderende studie van Breyten Breytenbach se digterlike oeuvre rys ‘n antwoord op dié vraag agter die woorde op: ‘n digter soos Breytenbach se werk funksioneer via die estetiese aard daarvan as die gewete van sy lesers. Want niks wat Breytenbach geskryf het, kan losgemaak word van die politieke bewussyn daarin ingebed nie. Júis omdat hy in Afrikaans skryf vir Afrikaanse lesers, vanaf 1964 (die hoogty van apartheid en Afrikanernasionalisme) tot 2014 (die hoogty van Afrikanasionalisme), is dit opvallend hoe die sosiopolitieke draad regdeur sy werk loop met ‘n bewussynsverruimende effek wat nimmer loslatend is, die leser in sy ban neem en ongeregtighede in die maatskappy bly uitwys.

Boekbesonderhede


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Writing Advice: Oxford University Press Teaches Students How to Study Smart through an Interactive Video Series

 
Starting your university career can be daunting, even more so when you walk through the hallowed halls of your dreams for the first time and realise: I don’t have a clue what I’m doing!

Oxford University Press Southern Africa, the Stellenbosch University Language Centre and A Blind Spot Productions have launched a fun, interactive video series to help students master the ins and outs of university life.

A New University Anthology of English PoetryBorn Free and Equal?African VoicesWilliam and Dorothy WordsworthEnglish for Academic Purposes

Starring Professor Bloom as a somewhat nutty South African version of Dumbledore (minus the white beard), the series follows the lives of three new students – Chris, Lloyd and Litha – who realise that to survive the wonderful world of university they will have to learn some magic tricks.

The first video, entitled “Bloom’s Taxonomy”, introduces the characters as they embark on their new adventure and learn to face their challenges head on. Professor Bloom shows them the ropes and teaches them the tips of the trade.

Watch the video:

YouTube Preview Image

 

The series focuses on the basics of learning – taking smart notes, where to start with assignments and how to reference their work correctly. Each episode is built around a specific theme and shows the students as they grapple with mind-blowing information in an entertaining way.

 

Press release

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS SOUTHERN AFRICA LAUNCHES VIDEO CAMPAIGN TO HELP STUDENTS

 
High school learners aspiring to enter tertiary education often see university or college acceptance as a finish line they need to cross. The issue is that once they arrive at their new institution, it becomes apparent that varsity or tech is itself a brand new starting line, with new rules and new demands. There are so many new and essential skills and learning paradigms beyond the content of a course, and they are often quite elusive to new students.

Oxford University Press Southern Africa, in partnership with the Stellenbosch University Language Centre and A Blind Spot Productions, has created a smart new video series as part of a campaign to help students learn more effectively and equip lecturers to teach better – how to negotiate the world of academia. The videos cover the cornerstones of academic practice such as Bloom’s Taxonomy, in the first video launched last year, and assignment writing, referencing and note taking, in a newly-launched trio.

The series follows the story of three students, each facing their own academic difficulties and learning to #studysmart.

Each video uses a unique, thematic approach to contextualise its subject matter: whether it’s turning assignment writing into a hyper stylised videogame challenge, or portraying the process of managing references by personifying source material as guests at a dinner party. Each theme adds an element of surprise and humour to engage students – while seamlessly illustrating how to “do” each of the study activities. To ensure that students’ learning is entrenched, each video is also accompanied by a visually appealing set of PDF notes.

The video series combines poignant content with stylish delivery and results in the best of both worlds – something that’s educational and entertaining. Lecturers and students will be sure to benefit.

Discover Professor Bloom’s adventures and learn with Chris, Lloyd and Litha at: Learnhow.oxford.co.za

Ends

Some Oxford University book details

  • Born Free and Equal?: A Philosophical Inquiry Into the Nature of Discrimination by Lippert-Rasmussen Kasper
    EAN: 9780199796113
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

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2015 Franschhoek Literary Festival: Confirmed International Authors

FLF 2015

 
Alert! The Franschhoek Literary Festival organisers have allowed Books LIVE to share a sneak preview of the updated list of international authors confirmed to attend this year’s event.

The 2015 Franschhoek Literary Festival takes place from Friday, 15 May, to Sunday, 17 May, and there are a number of big names to look forward to.

Books LIVE revealed the provisional list of authors for FLF 2015 in December last year, but we can now share a more complete list of authors from overseas.

The list includes Nigerian writer Helon Habila, who was announced last night as a winner of this year’s Windham Campbell Literature Prize for Fiction, along with Ivan Vladislavić, who will also be at the festival to talk about his new book of short stories, 101 Detectives.

Keep an eye on Books LIVE over the next few weeks for the full list of local authors!

* * * * *

Updated list of international authors for Franschhoek Literary Festival 2015

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 April.

JM Coetzee
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Belinda Bauer, a British crime writer who grew up in South Africa and England. Her debut novel Blacklands won the British Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger award for the best crime novel of 2010. Read an interview with Bauer here.

The Facts of Life and DeathRubberneckerFinders KeepersBlacklands
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Martin Bossenbroek, Dutch historian whose book De Boerenoorlog has been translated into English and Afrikaans by Jacana Media.

Die BoereoorlogThe Boer War
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chris Bradford, English 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.

GamerBodyguardThe Way of the Warrior
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tim Butcher, English journalist and war-correspondent, and author of the critically acclaimed Blood River, Chasing the Devil and, most recently, The Trigger.

Blood RiverChasing the DevilThe Trigger
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British Military History, based at Stellenbosch University, from the University of Kent.

Dorothy Driver, born in South Africa and now Professor of English at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She is also Emerita Professor at the University of Cape Town, where she retains an Honorary Research Associateship. Driver will be visiting as part of a focus on the 150th anniversary of Olive Schreiner’s birth.

Gavin Evans, born in London but grew up in Cape Town. Returned to London in 1993, where he worked as a freelance journalist (for The Guardian, Esquire, Men’s Health). His memoir Dancing Shoes is Dead was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Prize. His latest book is Black Brain, White Brain.

Dancing Shoes is DeadBlack Brain, White Brain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Eshkol Nevo, Israeli author of the Book Publishers Association Gold Prize and FFI-Raymond Wallier Prize-winning novel Homesick, as well as World Cup Wishes, and most recently Neuland.

HomesickWorld Cup WishesNeuland
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fiona Forde, an Irish journalist based in Cape Town who has for a number of years covered politics and current affairs in South Africa and abroad for print and radio media. Her first book on Malema, An Inconvenient Youth: Julius Malema and the ‘New’ ANC, was released in 2011, and an update version, Still an Inconvenient Youth: Julius Malema Carries On, was published last year.

Still an Inconvenient Youth
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Helon Habila, Nigerian novelist and poet, and winner of the 2001 Caine Prize for African Writing.

Oil on WaterMeasuring TimeWaiting for an AngelThe Granta Book of the African Short Story
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jackie Kay, Scottish award-winning poet and novelist, with Nigerian heritage, who will judge the Poetry for Life finals at the FLF (see www.poetryforlife.co.za for more information).

Red Dust RoadReality, realityAdoption PapersTrumpet
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Boyne, Irish novelist, whose most recent book A History of Loneliness. Boyne will also be at the Book Week for Young Readers with The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

A History of LonelinessThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lyndall Gordon, Cape Town-born award-winning biographer of Emily Dickinson, TS Eliot, Charlotte Brontë and Mary Wollstonecraft, among others, has recently published a memoir Divided Lives. (She may also be presenting a life-writing masterclass/workshop.)

Divided Lives: Dreams of a Mother and DaughterTS EliotCharlotte Brontë
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Romain Puertolas, a former French border guard, who then wrote the smash hit The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe.

Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Morag Styles, Cambridge Professor of Children’s Poetry, who has spent a professional lifetime exploring children’s poetry from every angle.

From the Garden to the StreetBy the Pricking of my ThumbsOpening the Nursery Door
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sarah Waters, bestselling Welsh author of six novels, the most recent of which is The Paying Guests.

Tipping the VelvetThe Night WatchFingersmithThe Paying Guests

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Book details


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