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Alert! The programme for this year’s @OpenBookFest has been revealed! Click here to see it: fb.me/3EVHbDBFa

Archive for the ‘Academic’ Category

Remembering Steve Biko, 37 Years On

Steve Biko Drum magazine

South Africans are united in celebrating the legacy of Steve Biko today, 37 years to the day after his death in police custody.

Voices of Liberation: Steve BikoI Write What I LikeSteve BikoBikoBiko Lives!The Steve Biko Memorial Lectures

The Black Consciousness activist and Struggle hero died at the age of 30 on September 12, 1977, in political detention, after being horrifically tortured.

Then apartheid minister of justice Jimmy Kruger said at the time: “I am not saddened by Biko’s death and I am not mad. His death leaves me cold.”

In a rare television interview shared on YouTube, Biko outlines his hopes for South Africa: “We see a completely non-racial society. We don’t believe for instance in the so-called guarantees for minority rights, because guaranteeing minority rights implies a division of portions of the community on a race basis.

“We believe that in our country there shall be no minority, there shall be no majority, there shall just be people. And those people will have the same status before the law and they will have the same political rights before the law. so in a sense it will be a complete non-racial egalitarian society.”

Watch the video:

YouTube Preview Image

From the Steve Biko Foundation:

In remembering Biko and drawing lessons from his legacy, a number of issues arise. First, because of their violent nature, the circumstances surrounding his death tend to be the predominant context within which he is remembered. Yet, it was in life that Biko made the most profound contribution to the liberation of South Africa.

Secondly, although Biko is often regarded as the father of Black Consciousness, his political contribution extends well beyond black society and its consciousness. By abandoning politics of comfort, Biko challenged liberal white society to revisit its own consciousness. In this way, he contributed significantly to white consciousness and thus to ploughing the ingredients of mutual respect and non-racialism.

Third, by placing emphasis on the individual as well as the collective, his legacy was far reaching in highlighting the inextricable link between history and biography between the struggles of society and the role of the individual.

Lastly, Biko died at the tender age of thirty. Almost as many years later, his legacy continues to stand the test of intellectual inquiry, as South Africa continues to define itself as a nation. Particularly because of his young age, the substantive qualities of Biko’s legacy speak to the responsibility facing youth as custodians of our democracy, perhaps more so than with any other of the founders of our democracy.

Steve Biko is also trending on Twitter this morning, with people tweeting quotes from the man as well as rare interviews and photographs.

Click on the image to view an interactive Google Cultural Institute timeline of Biko’s life between 1965-1976:

Steve Biko

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Image courtesy of South African History Online


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Ashraf Jamal Reviews JM Coetzee: Two Screenplays: Waiting for the Barbarians and in the Heart of the Country by JM Coetzee

JM Coetzee: Two Screenplays: Waiting for the Barbarians and in the Heart of the CountryVerdict: carrot

An internationally celebrated novelist and essayist, who would have thought that JM Coetzee also possessed the talent for scriptwriting?

In his illuminating introduction to the publication of Coetzee’s unproduced film scripts for his novels, Waiting for the Barbarians and In the Heart of the Country, Hermann Wittenberg justly notes that this volume provides “an unusual and unexpected addition to the oeuvre”.

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RIP Mafika Gwala (1946 – 2014)

Mafika Gwala

No More LullabiesMusho! Zulu Popular Praises Legendary South African poet, writer, and activist Mafika Pascal Gwala has died, at the age of 67.

Gwala passed away yesterday (8 September) after battling an illness, according to a statement released by Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.

Mthethwa said: “It is with deep sadness that we learned of the passing of legendary poet and short story writer, Pascal Mafika Gwala, after an illness.

“Gwala was, in his own right, a committed anti-apartheid critic and cultural activist who, from a young age, was part of the Black Consciousness movement that espoused the principle of self-determination for African people.”

Gwala was born on 5 October, 1946, in Verulam, outside Durban, and grew up in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, one of five children. His father worked on the railways and his mother was a domestic worker. After matriculating from Inkamana High School in Vryheid, Gwala dedicated his life and studies to the Black Consciousness movement, and was also associated with the Soweto Poets who included Mongane Wally Serote, Mbuyiseni Mtshali, James Matthews, and Mandla Langa. He earned a Master’s degree in Philosophy at the University of Natal, and continued his studies in adult education at the University of Manchester. Gwala started writing poetry in his twenties and wrote in both English and isiZulu.

According to Poetry International Rotterdam Gwala believed: “You cannot divorce language from power”, and his poetry and short stories were deeply rooted in the Struggle. Gwala was the editor of the literary magazine Black Review in 1973 and published Jo’Liinkomo in 1977, which is no longer in print. Read more about Jo’Liinkomo on Kgebetli Moele’s blog.

Gwala also published a book of Black Consciousness poetry in a collection called No More Lullabies in 1982 and in 1991 co-edited Musho! Zulu Popular Praises with Liz Gunner.

Mthethwa said: “Gwala inspired and mentored many writers who later became household names in the South African literary landscape.”

Read an extract from Gwala’s “Getting off the Ride””

My boots jar me
as I take the corner off Grey Street
Into Victoria’s busy, buzzy Victoria
Beesy Victoria’s market area.
Some black mamas kneeling
their hands on the sidewalk
their second-hand clothes before them,
They kneel as if in prayer.
A white hippie bums towards them
with what shapes into a pair of
fawn corduroy jeans:
‘They are fishbottomed’, the aunt tilts
the deal. The seller hooks a feigned smile
with his cagey chin,
Looks like they both have no choice
So the limp deal is sealed.
With unease the hippie moves off
You’d swear he’s left a bomb to detonate;
I radar his moves
whilst yarning my eyes onto the mama,
the mama still on that solemn kneel
that’s accompanied by somber looks
from close range.
Where’s that hippish fixer?
Into the market lanes for a blow-up;
And the black mama to scrounge a sale
after a wash of these sweaty pants
that can only be bought by some black brother
whose boss won’t give him enough to afford
a pair of decent trousers.
And again I know I’m being taken for a ride.

Ari Sitas, describing Gwala’s published oeuvre, says that he “exhausted the creative limits of the scripted word here: beyond his poetry lies an unknown, an untested terrain, for every subsequent poet in Natal has been consciously or unconsciously writing in his shadow. From the gutsy exuberance of the first work, to the tortured lines of the second, to finally the authority of line, rhythm and sound of the third, we are faced with a complex inheritance.”

* * * * *

Read Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s complete statement:

It is with deep sadness that we learned of the passing of legendary poet and short story writer, Pascal Mafika Gwala after an illness.

Gwala was, in his own right, a committed anti-apartheid critic and cultural activist who, from a young age, was part of the Black Consciousness Movement that espoused the principle of self-determination for African people.

We offer our condolences to his family, relatives, friends and the writing fraternity in the country, continent and all over the world. In fact, his impulse to testify through literature defined the vision for a new society and contributed to the resilient spirit among the oppressed.

Gwala was part of a literary constellation that assumed the responsibility to use literature, especially poetry and prose, as an instrument of the struggle against apartheid. He was committed to document the reality that institutionalised economic inequality, land dispossession, prejudice and discrimination wrought on the private lives of African majority and, at the same, to inculcate values of self-love, pride and resilient spirit among the oppressed.

Thus he was widely acknowledged and recognized during the interregnum as one South Africa’s foremost poets and activists.
Gwala was born in Verulam, North of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal province in 1946. He spent most of his adult life in Mpumalanga Township, west of Durban.

Gwala was in the forefront of the revival of African writing in the 1960s. He published short stories and poems in The Classic magazine, founded by Nat Nakasa in 1963. His generation of writers, including Mongane Wally Serote, Njabulo S. Ndebele, Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali and Sipho Sepamla, among others, became major contributors to the South African literary landscape after the banning of political parties and the imprisonment of many activists in the 1960s.

He authored two volumes of poetry, Jol’iinkomo (1977) and No More Lullabies (1982), and he also contributed to several literary journals, including as the editor for The Black Review in 1973. He co-edited Musho! Zulu Popular Praises with Liz Gunner in 1991.

As a student activist, Gwala was a prominent member of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) in the sixties. Together with Steve Biko, Gwala and others who espoused Black Consciousness broke away to found the South African Student’s Organisation (SASO) in December 1968.

He was a regular contributor to The Black Review and the SASO Newsletter.

Gwala inspired and mentored many writers who later became household names in the South African literary landscape.

At the time of his passing, arrangements were at an advanced stage for him to contribute his wealth of knowledge and skills to the arts fraternity through the Arts in Schools project. This would have provided him with the platform to mentor and impart critical thinking and writing skills to nurture new voices in poetry and prose at schools in the Hammarsdale area.

We convey our deepest condolences to his family and all those who were touched by his work. His passing is a great loss not only to his immediate family, but to South Africa and the world at large.

We find solace in his words which will never die! May his soul rest in peace!

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Image courtesy of Poetry Potion


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My Lost Inheritance: The Stories My Grandmother Never Told

Bontle Senne considers the immeasurable value of South African stories for South African children, and shares some upcoming projects that aim to reinvigorate African oral storytelling for the next generation.

African Myths and LegendsBabalelaRefilweFamous Dinosaurs of AfricaJu|’hoan Children’s Picture DictionaryLet There Be Light

I wish my grandmother had told me stories.

I was often left in the care of my paternal grandmother while both my parents worked full-time jobs. A former domestic worker, she was the kind of granny you see in movies and read about in books, down to her incredible homemade ginger biscuits. As a child, I was obsessed with reading. My parents did not buy me many books but I devoured the fiction section of my primary school library. After I had tired of Babysitters’ Club, Choose Your Own Adventure and Goosebumps, I made my way through Dickens, Austen and other authors who I’m not sure I would have the time or inclination to read now as an adult.

A book was a preferable companion to me than any person or pet but I don’t remember ever reading a South African book outside of school setworks. And even then, our exposure to South African English fiction was limited Maru by Bessie Head who, though born in South Africa, perhaps belongs more fairly to Botswana. My school offered only Afrikaans as an additional language and we read many interesting, complex works in the language. While I enjoyed many of these books immensely, I could not do so without a bit of black middle-class guilt. My father had been among the children who risked their lives in the Soweto Uprising of 1976 protesting against Afrikaans as a language of instruction in their schools and there I was, some 25 years later, happily tucking into Skilpoppe and Vlerkdans. South Africa can be a weird place sometimes.

Had I had the option of taking another indigenous language as a subject, I would certainly have taken it. Had I had any South African or Africa children’s books in my school library, I am sure I read them as enthusiastically as I read Roald Dahl or Jacqueline Wilson. And had my grandmother or mother told me the stories of her grandmother or mother, I think I would have had an even richer relationship with the written word.

The invalidation of oral African storytelling

I understand now why they did not. My work at the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation exposed me to many realities that had never occurred to me as a child. One such reality was that the reason my grandmother did not tell me stories was likely because of the systematic invalidation of African oral storytelling during apartheid and after it.

As my former colleague and current chairperson of the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation, Elinor Sisulu, put it:

“The denial of our own stories was perfectly logical in the education system of a racist settler society but I find it difficult to understand why we remain in the same grey area of confusion in post-colonial societies.

Throughout Southern Africa there is little conscious investment in ensuring that African folklore and traditions are reflected in the literature that our children consume in classrooms.” (Quoted from an article that originally appeared in The Times, 22 January 2013, as part of the of the Nal’ibali ‘Here’s the Story’ series of columns)

The education system that I am a product of did not believe that oral storytelling had a place in our curriculum or as a tool to unlock a love of the written word. My grandmother did not believe that she would add value to my education or literacy with her stories and so she did not tell me any. She encouraged me to read everything I could get my hands on but was never concerned about the Eurocentric nature of everything I had access to. And so, with her passing, I lost the stories that my granny had grown up listening to and loving. I will never be able to tell my future children her stories and history of the Senne family. That link to my heritage and my identity is forever severed.

Bringing our stories back

Today, there is a growing recognition of the role that oral storytelling plays in literacy and the acquisition of complex concepts in home and additional languages. In South Africa, PRAESA and Nal’ibali have done much to stimulate more appreciation for the value of our indigenous stories, sharing their multilingual stories online as well as tips for parents trying to share their own.

Early next year, Puku will host its third annual isiXhosa Children’s Story Festival organised in association with the National Arts Festival and Rhodes University and sponsored by Redisa. SAIDE’s African Storybook Project is working with teachers and parents in South Africa, Lesotho, Kenya and Uganda to turn oral stories into digital ones in print or video format. I could list a half a dozen other organisations involved in similar work across the continent but the real tipping point will be in the home. When someone else’s grandmother starts to believe that her stories are valid and in telling them, she is changing the educational outcomes of her grandchildren forever, that will be the signal that we are really making progress on reviving oral storytelling for both urban and rural African children. Until then, I’ve already made it very clear to my future children’s grandmothers that they should start collecting their stories now because there is no way my children will lose the stories of their grandmothers the way I lost the stories of mine.

Bontle Senne is a Golden Baobab Media Fellow who produces articles on behalf of the organisation to promote and highlight the African children literary scene and Golden Baobab’s work. Golden Baobab is an organisation with a dream of seeing a world filled with wonder and possibility one children book at a time. Bontle is a blogger, web editor, speaker and literary activist on the board of NPO Puku Children’s Literature Foundation and NPO READ Educational Trust. She writes stories for FunDza Literary Trust and regularly speaks on social media and children’s literature at international literary festivals and conferences.

Image courtesy of Golden Baobab

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Leopold Scholtz resenseer Die Bom deur Nic von Wielligh en Lydia von Wielligh-Steyn

Die Bom: Suid-Afrika se kernwapenprogramUitspraak: wortel

Die Von Wiellighs wil hul lesers ten volle inlig, wat beteken dat die verhaal by die begin gehaal word – die eerste kernsplyting, die ontwikkeling van kernwapens in Amerika, die mislukte program in Nazi-Duitsland, die wyse waarop die Sowjetunie die Amerikaners ingehaal het, ensovoorts.

Die bom hoort tuis op die boekrak van elkeen met ’n belangstelling in wat voor 1990 agter die skerms in Suid-Afrika gebeur het.

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Sarah Laurence Reviews How to Fix South Africa’s Schools by Jonathan Jansen and Molly Blank

How to Fix South Africa's Schools: Lessons from Schools that WorkVerdict: carrot

Despite spending the largest percentage of the national budget on education (more, as a percentage of our GDP than any other African country), only 20% of our schools are effective and we consistently appear at the bottom of student achievement league tables.

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Final Author List for 2014 Open Book Festival

 
The final list for the 2014 Open Book Festival has been released, with international authors Billy Kahora, Geoff Dyer, Mike Carey, Philip Hensher, Raymond E Feist, Sefi Atta, Tony Park, Satoshi Kitamura, Kader Abdolah and Keyi Sheng, as well as Johnny Steinberg and Wilbur Smith, all confirmed to be in Cape Town.

Update: Taiye Selasi will unfortunately no longer be appearing at the Festival.

 
This year’s Open Book Festival takes place from 17-21 September at the Fugard Theatre, The Book Lounge, the Homecoming Centre, the District 6 Museum and the Central Library.

The final confirmed complete list is:
Adam Stower, Alison Lowry, Amy Kaye, André P Brink, Andrew Brown, Andrew Salomon, Antony Loewenstein, Ari Sitas, Arthur Goldstuck, Athol Williams, Barbara Boswell, Ben Williams, Bibi Slippers, Billy Kahora, Blaq Pearl, Bronwyn Law-Viljoen, Carol-Ann Davids, Damon Galgut, Dave de Burgh, David Klatzow, David wa Maahlamela, Deon Meyer, Derrick Higginbotham, Diane Awerbuck, Ekow Duker, Eusebius McKaiser, Felicitas Hoppe, Fiona Leonard, Francesca Beard, Futhi Ntshingila, Genna Gardini, Geoff Dyer, Greg Fried, Hakkiesdraad Hartman, Hedley Twidle, Helen Moffett, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Imraan Coovadia, Ivan Vladislavic, Jaco Van Schalkwyk, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Jacqui L’Ange, James Woodhouse, Jesse Breytenbach, Joan Metelerkamp, Joey Hi-Fi, Jolyn Phillips, Jonathan Jansen, Jonny Steinberg, Justin Fox, Kader Abdolah, Karen Jennings, Karina Szczurek, Kelwyn Sole, Keorapetse Willie Kgositsile, Keyi Sheng, Khanyisile Mbongwa, Koleka Putuma, Liesl Jobson, Linda Kaoma, Lwanda Sindaphi, Malaika wa Azania, Mandla Langa, Margie Orford, Marguerite Poland, Marianne Thamm, Marius du Plessis, Mark Gevisser, Mbongeni Nomkonwana, Melissa Siebert, Michele Magwood, Michiel Heyns, Mike Carey, Molly Blank, Nikki Bush, Niq Mhlongo, Oliver Rohe, Olivier Tallec, Philip Hensher, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, Pieter Odendaal, Rabih Alameddine, Rachel Zadok, Raymond E Feist, Rebecca Davis, Richard Calland, Richard Peirce, Sally Partridge, Sampie Terreblanche, Sarah Lotz, Satoshi Kitamura, Sefi Atta, Shabbir Banoobhai, Simone Hough, Sindiwe Magona, Sixolile Mbalo, Songezo Zibi, Susan Hawthorne , Taiye Selasi, Thando Mgqolozana, Tiah Beautement, Tim Noakes, Toast Coetzer, Toni Stuart, Tony Park, Weaam Williams, Wilbur Smith, Zakes Mda, Zelda la Grange, Zethu Matebeni, Zoliswa Flekisi, Zukiswa Wanner.

Naughty KittyThe Other Side of SilenceDevil's HarvestTokoloshe SongProfits of DoomRough MusicTech-Savvy ParentingKwani? 05, Part 2Light on a HillThe Blacks of Cape TownArctic SummerJustice DeniedBetrayal's ShadowSejamolediCobraThe Ghost-Eater and Other StoriesWhite WahalaCould I Vote DA?HoppeThe Chicken ThiefDo Not Go GentleJeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi
ParadiseA Girl Walks into a Blind DateNinevehTransformationsThe FollyThe Alibi ClubHow to Fix South Africa's SchoolsA Man of Good HopeWhoever Fears the SeaShort Story Day Africa: Feast, Famine Invisible OthersAbsent TonguesIf I Could SingRide the TortoiseMemoirs of a Born FreeThe Texture of ShadowsWater MusicHere I AmThe KeeperLost and Found in JohannesburgMbongeni Buthelezi
Garden of DreamsA Sportful MaliceThe Girl with All the GiftsDog Eat DogTaller than BuildingsSister-SisterMagician's EndThe Zuma YearsSharp EdgesWestern EmpiresThe ThreePot-San's Tabletop TalesA Bit of DifferenceInward Moon, Outward SunThe Ugly Duckling
Dear BulletRaising the BarGhana Must GoUnimportanceThis DayReal Meal RevolutionSouth AfricaIn the Heat of ShadowsDark HeartDesert GodRachel’s BlueGood Morning, Mr MandelaLondon – Cape Town – Joburg

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2014 Midlands Literary Festival Programme Features Marguerite Poland and Ashwin Desai

The 2014 Midlands Literary Festival will take place this weekend, with Marguerite Poland, whose new book The Keeper was released a few days ago, Kobus Moolman, who won the 2013 Sol Plaatje European Union Award, Ashwin Desai, whose most recent book is Chatsworth: The Making of a South African Township, and many others in attendance.

ChatsworthThe KeeperThe Abundant HerdsTaken Captive by BirdsLeft OverJu|’hoan Children’s Picture DictionaryField Guide to the Battlefields of South AfricaThe Landscape PainterInterviews with Neville AlexanderOne Hand Washes the Other Into the River of Life

The festival is held on Saturday and Sunday (23 and 24 August) at the Yellowwood Cafe in Howick. Tickets are R50 for the day.

Christopher Nicholson’s debut short-story collection will be launched at the festival, and other notable authors include Nicki von der Heyde, author of the popular Field Guide to the Battlefields of South Africa, Craig Higginson, who won the UJ prize for his novel The Landscape Painter, and Kerry Jones, co-author of the Ju|’hoan Children’s Picture Dictionary, which provides San children with a valuable piece of mother-tongue literature.

Festival director Darryl David says securing a visit from Poland was a big coup: “The exciting news is that after eight long years, I have finally bagged one of the great names in South African literature: Marguerite Poland.”

Other books that I am really looking forward to are Chris Albertyn’s book Keeping Time: The Photographs and Cape Town Jazz Recordings of Ian Huntley (1964-1974), Barbara Siedle’s book Breathe the Dust, Mike Hardwich’s memoir of being a vet in KZN and Kerry Jones with the first picture book dictionary of a San language ever to be published. Famous dancer Tossie van Tonder comes to the Midlands Literary Festival with the most poetic name and a book to match. And Howick High pupil Jonathan William will undoubtedly talk on the most fascinating topic of the festival: a history of Japanese comics. I met Jonathan while buying a bunny chow at Mac Curry in Howick. There was something about how he opened this tome that told me – here was a book lover. A talk not to be missed!

But what fills my heart with pride on this our fifth anniversary is the people who have supported us since year one. The likes of acclaimed Pietermaritzburg poet Kobus Moolman; the legendary Ian Player, a man who should surely be honoured in the Icons of SA project. Judge Chris Nicholson who will unveil his debut short story anthology and Ashwin Desai, undoubtedly the most prolific author in SA. His latest book is definitely going to feature in my top five reads of 2014.

For more information contact Darryl David, on 082 576 4489 or davidd@ukzn.ac.za, or Sandra Murphy, on 033 330 2461.

2014 Midlands Literary Festival Programme

SATURDAY
9 am — 9.30 am: Kobus Moolman – Left Over.
9.30 am — 10 am: Jonathan Williams – A Drifting Life (Japanese comic history).
10 am — 10.30 am: Kerry Jones — There’s a n!aq’u in my dictionary.
10.30 am — 11.15 am: tea.
11.15 am — noon: Marguerite Poland: Nguni — The Abundant Herds and Other Inspirations.
noon — 12.30 pm: Nicky von der Heyde — Field Guide to the Battlefields of SA.
12.30 pm — 1 pm: Craig Higginson — Working as a Novelist and Playwright.
1 pm — 1.30 pm: Beryl Arikum — Pilgrimage.
lunch.
2.30 pm — 3 pm: Di Smith: You’re Awesome — Living a Fulfilled Life.
3 pm — 3.30 pm: Mike Hardwich — The Rhino and the Rat: Further Memoirs of a Vet.
3.30 pm — 4.15 pm: Tossie van Tonder: My African Heart.
SUNDAY
10 am — 10.30 am: Ashwin Desai – The Archi-texture of Durban. A Skapie’s Guide.
10.30 am — 11 am: Darryl David – Interviews with Neville Alexander. The Power of Languages against the Language of Power.
11 am — 11.30 am: Chris Nicholson — Sacred Cows Make the Tastiest Hamburgers.
11.30 am — noon: Barbara Siedle — Breathe the Dust.
lunch.
2 pm — 2.30 pm: Ian Player — Crisis in Rhino Protection.
2.30 pm — 3 pm: Chris Albertyn — Keeping Time: The Photographs and Cape Town Jazz Recordings of Ian Huntley (1964-1974).

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Submissions Now Open for Issue 13 of Itch

Itch

Online creative journal Itch has put out a call for entries for its 13th issue, and has also announced the appointment of a new editor.

London-based writer and filmmaker Elan Gamaker has taken over the reins of the journal, which is published under the auspices of the School of Literature, Language and Media at the University of the Witwatersrand. Gamaker says under his leadership Itch will be turning its focus outward. “While our base remains South Africa, we encourage writers and visual artists from around the world to contribute to what is rapidly becoming the pre-eminent publication of its kind in Africa,” he says.

“While our base remains South Africa, we encourage writers and visual artists from around the world to contribute to what is rapidly becoming the pre-eminent publication of its kind in Africa.

“This being said, it is important to us that we maintain our financial independence and editorial integrity. This is why, in spite of recent changes, we exist entirely thanks to the contributions of our readers.”

The theme for Itch 13 is “Detection”, and those interested have until 1 September (not 25 August as is stated in the press release below) to submit their writing, non-fiction, poetry or visual art.

detection |dɪˈtɛkʃ(ə)n| {noun} the action or process of identifying the presence of something concealed

French philosopher Jean-Pierre Faye once wrote: “Every society emerges in its own eyes by giving the narrative its violence.” I ask: what is that narrative? And what is the violence? Perhaps it resides in the fact that in many ways we live in an unavoidable state of concealment: a domestic and vernacular world of secrets and half-truths, of suspicions nurtured and admissions withheld.

The idea of detection and its associated terms – investigations, clues, concealment, covering, uncovering – is one that has always fascinated us. It is subject of perhaps the most successful literary genre of all, and a key aspect of all our relationships, which derive their meaning from trust. It seems innately human, this desire to get to the heart of the matter, to discover as much as possible, to assume the deception and to resume its unearthing.

And now the nature of something concealed – in our post-Snowden world – becomes ever more elusive. Do we have the right to conceal; is there any privacy left? Have we all become private – and public – detectives?

Press release

itch 13 Open for Submissions by Books LIVE

Image courtesy of Itch on Facebook


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Babatunde Agbola Reviews Africa’s Urban Revolution by Susan Parnell and Edgar Pieterse

Africa's Urban RevolutionVerdict: carrot

Africa’s Urban Revolution, edited by Susan Parnell and Edgar Pieterse, presents a refreshingly new and detailed insight into the origin, growth and rapid expansion of Africa’s cities, the transformation of some of these into mega cities, and the consequences of such transformation. This edited book of fourteen chapters examines different aspects of Africa’s urban revolution starting from a kaleidoscopic analysis of the revolution through conflict and post war transition in Africa’s cities, religion, transport, planning education, infrastructure and economy, to urbanization and policy with a postscript to make the new urban transformation sustainable.

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