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Archive for the ‘Oshun’ Category

A whodunnit with a thousand suspects – Sue de Groot reviews Camilla Lackberg’s latest contribution to the Nordic noir sphere

Published in the Sunday Times

The Girl in the Woods *****
Camilla Lackberg, HarperCollins, R285

Camilla Lackberg has amassed millions of devoted followers with her series of crime novels set in the Swedish fishing village of Fjällbacka – which actually exists in the real world.

It has fewer than 1,000 permanent residents and is deathly quiet in winter, but in summer turns into a playground for Scandinavian tourists.

The Girl in the Woods, Lackberg’s 10th novel featuring author Erica Falck and her police detective husband, Patrik Hedstrom, is set in summer, when the influx of holiday-makers creates a wider pool of suspects.

A four-year-old girl has been murdered, her body found in the same place as that of a similar victim 30 years previously.

The two teenage girls who were accused of the earlier crime are now adults and conveniently present.

One is a Hollywood film star who has returned to her home town for the first time since the incident. The other is married to a sociopathic UN soldier who is on home leave.

Then there are the Syrian refugees, whose safe asylum in Sweden does not come with a warm welcome from all its citizens.

And there are the local high-school kids with too much time on their hands and the usual adolescent problems.

And then – because Lackberg loves to weave ancient history into modern mystery – there is a woman who lived in these parts in the 17th century, when literal witch hunts were all the rage.

Lackberg cleverly connects multiple tales of violence and ostracism in a narrative that climbs to a terrifying crescendo, but there is much light relief in the lives of her extended family of regular characters.

Even police chief Bertil Mellberg displays flashes of charm between being his usual bumbling and graceless self.

He is also the recipient of the best put-down in the book: when he enquires whether refugee children eat cinnamon buns, detective Paula Morales replies tartly: “Of course they do. They’re from Syria, not outer space.” @deGrootS1

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Rethinking Reconciliation answers key questions about the extent of progress in South African reconciliation

South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994 heralded the end of more than forty years of apartheid. The Government of National Unity started the process of bringing together this deeply divided society principally through the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). However, interest in – and responsibility for – the reconciliation project first embodied through the TRC appears to have diminished over more than two decades of democracy. The narrow mandate of the Commission itself has been retrospectively criticised, and at face value it would seem that deep divisions persist: the chasm between rich and poor gapes wider than ever before; the public is polarised over questions of restitution and memorialisation; and incidents of racialised violence and hate speech continue. This edited volume uses a decade of public opinion survey data to answer these key questions about the
extent of progress in South African reconciliation. Leading social scientists analyse longitudinal data derived from the South African Reconciliation Barometer Survey (SARB) –conducted annually by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation since 2003 as well as interrogate and reach critical conclusions on the state of reconciliation, including in the areas of economic transformation, race relations and social contact, political participation, national identity formation and transitional justice. Their findings both confirm and disrupt theory on reconciliation and social change, and point to critical new directions in thinking and policy implementation.

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“Heavyweight” Lebo Mashile’s Retort to Eric Miyeni: “I am not that chick”

In a recent article for the Sowetan, Eric Miyeni, allegedly responding to Lebo Mashile‘s appearance on Karabo Kgoleng’s SAfm Afternoon Talk show – during which Mashile said that she “stands for the big woman” – used the performance poet and TV star as a springboard from which to jump on to a touchy subject: what Miyeni perceives as the problem of, and with, fat people in South Africa.

In a Ribbon of RhythmLebo MashileO'Mandingo: A Poetic JourneyEric MiyeniUnderstandably moved to respond, Mashile thundered off with a reply, an edited version of which appeared in the Sowetan – tipping the scales back in her favour, we daresay.

But the unedited version of Mashile’s full fury has now appeared online – with her blessing – and so we’ve the chance of reading a seriously heavyweight rant, which first appeared on Facebook, courtesy Artslink.

Here’s the complete back-and-forth:

Eric Miyeni uncut:

Under all those layers of fat that she now carries, Lebo Mashile is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met.

I remember that when I first met her the width of her entire body was the width of her one thigh today. S he looked exquisite. Most important of all though, she looked healthy.

I respect Lebo. I think her work is excellent. I love her like I would a sister. I would never have singled her out for this topic had I not caught her on Karabo Kgoleng’s Afternoon Talk show on SAfm, saying proudly that she stands for the big woman and that in time she will do some rhymes for the fat man too since she at present feels she only has energy for the plight of the proud fat woman.

Lebo Mashile uncut:

Eric has never been my friend. We work in the same industry. In the decade that I have shared a social circle with Eric, our interactions have been limited to polite greetings and a few short conversations.

Eric says his piece was inspired by what he heard on SAfm on the 18th May 2010 when I appeared on Karabo Kgoleng’s show. During the interview, several male listeners asked why I never affirm plus-sized men in the same way that I encourage self-acceptance amongst voluptuous women. I conceded to being biased and undertook to create messages in future that would embrace men and women alike.

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Photo of Lebo Mashile courtesy Victor Dlamini

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Interview: Belinda Otas Talks to Lebo Mashile

Flying Above the SkyIn a Ribbon of RhythmLebo MashileAn interview in two parts: Belinda Otas chats to South African poet, Lebogang Mashile about her love for poetry, why it’s her chosen medium and where her inspiration comes from.

Belinda: When did you first discover your passion for the spoken word, poetry and the artistic expression of it?

Lebo: I first discovered my passion for poetry when I was about 20/21, about nine or ten years ago when I was studying Law at university, my BA in undergraduate Law and International relations and realised that I didn’t want to be a lawyer, I didn’t want to be a diplomat and didn’t know what I wanted to do.

Belinda: while you were in the US, what was your take on the artistic scene back home, in South Africa, how did those things inform you in the process of developing as an artist?

Lebo: I grew up in a household where my parents loved literature and music and my dad had an amazing music collection, which was full of South Africa music, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and my mother is an avid reader and we had a big literature collection.

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2010 Sunday Times Fiction Prize and Alan Paton Award Longlists


Alert! The longlists for the R75 000 Sunday Times Fiction Prize and the R75 000 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for non-fiction – Africa’s largest literary prizes for single works – have been announced.

Here are Sunday Times books editor Tymon Smith‘s notes on gongs:

Alan Paton Award

The 21st edition of the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction sees a list of entries that continues to reflect the national concerns of a burgeoning and eclectic group of authors. As always, the judges for this year’s awards faced the difficult task of ingesting the barrage of information provided in the 40 titles in contention for Africa’s premier literary award.


Ficiton Prize

Writers working with the present moment and its uniquely perplexing characters produced a fascinating body of work that examines everything from the cut-throat world of the boardroom in Carel van der Merwe’s Shark to the zany business of being a magistrate with a bodyguard in Zakes Mda’s Black Diamond, the sombre reality of circumcision in Thando Mgqolozana’s A Man Who is Not a Man, the cultural clashes of life as a curry Mafia princess in Zinaid Meeran’s Saracen at the Gates and the plight of post-apartheid refugees in Andrew Brown’s Refuge.

2009′s winners were Anne Landsman (fiction – The Rowing Lesson) and Peter Harris (Alan Paton – In a Different Time). This year, the BOOK SA members on the lists are happily too numerous to mention.

It would not be amiss to observe that Antjie Krog appears twice on the Alan Paton Longlist – for Begging to Be Black and There Was This Goat, the latter written with Nosisi Mpolweni, Kopano Ratele.

The shortlists for the 2010 awards will be announced on Thursday 3 June at a cocktail function in Johannesburg. Here are the longlists, with titles given in the order that they were sent to BOOK SA:

Sunday Times Fiction Prize Longlist

Patterns of ChangeTo Heaven by WaterSummertimeCome SundayBeasts of PreyThe Double CrownSaracen at the GatesBlack Petals

Trinity RisingThe Shape of HimTrespassSmall Moving Parts

The Elephant in the RoomThe Book of the DeadLittle Ice Cream BoySleeper's WakeHouse of WarBlack DiamondKings of the WaterExhibit A

Revenge of KaliThe Bird of HeavenVaselinetjieA Man Who is Not a ManSharkRefuge

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Sunday Times Alan Paton Award Longlist

Fly Fishing for SharksThe Honour to ServeA Fork in the RoadThe Deaths of HintsaBounds of DemocracyCleaner Energy Cooler ClimateThe Maputo ConnectionRadical EngagementsThe Democratic MomentRunning with HorsesPeople's WarHaniThe Lost BoyWire Me a MillionSomething On My Mind - Kate JowellThe Strange Alchemy of Life and LawJohnny Golightly Comes HomeThe Secret ElephantsRose of SowetoBetween the LinesSouth Africa's Brave New WorldWays of StayingEmperor Can WaitSecond is NothingArchitects of PovertyBegging to be BlackAlf KumaloThe Toxic MixThere Was This GoatDonkey CrossingsInvadedSara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus

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  • Wire Me a Million: The Rise and Fall of Multimillionaire Billy Wolfe, the World’s Most Audacious White-collar Crook by Jack Shepherd Smith
    EAN: 9780864867902
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Image courtesy the Sunday Times

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Kalk Bay Books' Cornucopia of Xmas Book Recommendations

Architects of PovertyBegging to be BlackDon't Mess with the President's HeadFirst DraftsInvictusKnowledge in the BloodResident AlienThe Toxic MixWays of StayingSouth African Art NowA Fork in the Road'n Vurk in die padGraeme SmithThe Last ResortSomething On My Mind - Kate JowellThe Strange Alchemy of Life and LawIn the Never-Ever WoodIn die Nimmer-Immer BosBlack DiamondDaddy's GirlSummertime
Tales of FreedomAn Elegy for EasterlyTo Heaven by WaterBakeCooked in AfricaBlokeSouth Africa EatsSumptuousDinosaurs Diamonds and DemocracyThe War ReporterAfricanismoHot AfroGrow to LiveJane's Delicious GardenHyphen
Holding PatternImprendehoraOorblyfsel/Voice overStrange Fruit

Kalk Bay Books – your seaside haven for all things literary – brings you their recommended book list for the Xmas season – a list that contains a heart-gladdening 41 works of SA Lit. (There seems to be one oversight: where’s Kalk Bay favourite Finuala Dowling‘s Notes from the Dementia Ward?)

BOOK SA members André Brink, Kevin Bloom, Margie Orford, Petina Gappah, Francis Wilson, Tania van Schalkwyk, Gus Ferguson and Helen Moffett feature in the mix. Congrats all!

For the complete set of KBK recommendations, see these links:

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