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The winner of the 2014 @City_Press Tafelburg Nonfiction Award is Vashthi Nepaul! #openbook2014 @OpenBookFest

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Open Book 2014: Highlights from Day Two (Evening Sessions)

Rape Crisis Presents: Duker & Mbalo

(Scroll down for coverage of Launch of Ragged Glory by Ray Hartley and Surprising Diversions, with Rabih Alameddine, Geoff Dyer, Deon Meyer and Henrietta Rose-Innes, chaired by Ben Williams.)

Open Book 2014: Rape Crisis
Dying in New YorkWhite WahalaDear BulletThe Ugly Duckling

Ekow Duker, author of Dying in New York and White Wahala, and Sixolile Mbalo, author of Dear Bullet: Or A Letter to My Shooter, spoke to Sindiwe Magona about the rape crisis in South Africa on the second evening of the Open Book Festival.

The writers engaged in an emotional discussion about sexual violence. Duker’s work of fiction and Mbalo’s autobiographical account both deal with the abuse of women, and the authors spoke about how the writing of their books has affected their lives and the lives of their readers.

Read Books LIVE’s Lindsay Callaghan’s tweets to follow the discussion:

Launch of Ragged Glory by Ray Hartley

Open Book 2014: Ragged Glory Launch

Ragged GloryRagged Glory author Ray Hartley spoke to Tony Weaver about his latest book, which examines the presidencies of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, and Jacob Zuma.

Weaver said Ragged Glory reads like a political thriller. Hartley noted that where we are today is the consequence of choices made in the last 20 years. Ragged Glory explores those consequences.

Books LIVE’s Lindsay Callaghan covered the launch:

Surprising Diversions

Open Book 2014: Surprising Diversions
An Unnecessary WomanAnother Great Day at SeaCobraNineveh

Rabih Alameddine (An Unnecessary Woman), Geoff Dyer (Another Great Day at Sea), Deon Meyer (Cobra), and Henrietta Rose-Innes (Nineveh) told Ben Williams about their great passions (other than writing).

The conversation centred around marbles, motorcycles, ping pong, and Arsenal. There was also some mention of a drone.

Books LIVE’s Jennifer Malec tried to tweet the madness that ensued:


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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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South African Writers Take a Stand Against Surveillance in Support of Edward Snowden

Justin Fox, Margie Orford & Adré Marshall

Monday, 8 September, was International Literacy Day. It was also the day that writers, journalists, readers and public intellectuals around the world responded to the call issued by internationales literaturfestival berlin (ilb) to take a stand against surveillance in support of Edward Snowden.

In Cape Town’s AVA Gallery, the Right2Know Campaign hosted an event where a star-studded line-up of writers and activists met. These included Njabulo Ndebele, Christi Van der Westhuizen, Zackie Achmat, Zapiro, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Roberta Nation, Masello Motana, Gabrielle Lubowski, Mandla Mbothwe, Kelsey Wiens and Vinayak Bhardwa.

The Snowden FilesFalls the ShadowNo Place to HideAt Kalk Bay Books, under the auspices of SA Pen, Margie Orford welcomed a gathering of concerned South Africans who had come to hear writers Rustum Kozain, Liesl Jobson, Ken Barris, Karina Szczurek, Justin Fox, Dawn Garisch, Diane Awerbuck, Brent Meersman and Andrew Brown. The readings taking place at both events, supplied by the ilb, were sourced from interviews with Edward Snowden and from the book by Glenn Greenwald, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State. They included his manifesto and related comments.

If literacy skills developed from a basic to advanced level throughout life are – as the UNESCO website states – “part of broader competencies required for critical thinking, the sense of responsibility, participatory governance, sustainable consumption and lifestyles …” then how fitting to be linking around the world to consider Snowden’s revelations on such a day.

Orford, executive president of SA Pen, said the global events honouring Snowden’s immense courage in revealing the “Orwellian” levels of surveillance had irrevocably changed his life. “Julian Assange alerted people to some of the dangers via his Wikileaks exposure, but Edward Snowden showed the extent of surveillance in the USA, as well as surveillance of people everywhere. From that, there’s been revelations of what they’re looking at and our collaboration, often unwittingly and unknowingly in our internet use and how we communicate,” she said.

Orford reflected on how Snowden’s revelations underline the malevolence of a watching state. “He has made us reconsider the notion that just because you’ve done nothing wrong it’s acceptable to be watched. This is absolutely false. A watching eye only sees that you’re good at hiding. Always, you’re hiding something more, something better. You must be guilty, ultimately, if you’re being watched.”

SA Pen stands for privacy and freedom of expression. Orford said, “It’s impossible to think and express yourself freely if you imagine that every single communication and every movement you make is being watched. Referring to the chilling revelations that emerged from the Leveson Enquiry and , she mentioned Paul McMullan’s “Privacy is for paedos” statement that implied that keeping secrets is inherently bad.

“That is not true. That area of privacy is where each of us exists as an individual and as a self. It’s politically important, but creatively it’s extremely important too,” she said. She cited the Pen American Centre’s Report on the damage done to creativity by surveillance: Chilling Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives Writers to Self-Censor. Orford acknowledged the enormous sacrifice that Snowden has made to protect us from not knowing about “Big Brother”: “We have to take that responsibility on.”

Journalist Alexandra Dodd, who organised the R2K event, spoke of the energy each reader brought to the text, enabling all present to inhabit Snowden’s ideas and words. “We could almost feel his spirit in the room,” she said, surprised by the intimate sense of Snowden’s presence in attendance. “That, for me, was one of the most thrilling aspects of the night. On the page and screen, his writing comes across as quite dry, restrained and strictly factual (by necessity, of course, considering the subject matter with which he is dealing), but somehow the readers seemed to key into a tangible sense of the man, the person – Edward Snowden – that came through between his words and between the lines.”

She remarked on the tangible sense of community and connectedness that she perceived as “a crucial antidote to the quite terrifying import of what Snowden has revealed to be true about the breadth and venality of technocratic state surveillance in our world today.”

Kelsey Wiens (@bella_velo) and Right2Know (@r2kcampaign) tweeted from the AVA Gallery using the hashtag #SnowdenReading, while Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) and Karina M Szczurek (@KarinaMSzczurek) tweeted from Kalk Bay Books using the hashtag #WorldWideReading:

Facebook gallery

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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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2014 Open Book Festival Programme (17 – 21 September)

Open Book

Alert! The programme for this year’s Open Book Festival has been revealed, with a number of exciting events on the agenda.

The festival kicks off midweek, on Wednesday, 17 September, and runs until Sunday, 21 September. Events will be held at various venues in Cape Town’s Eastern district, with The Fugard Theatre as the central hub once again. Other venues include The Book Lounge, the Homecoming Centre, the District 6 Museum and the Central Library.

International authors to look forward to include Geoff Dyer, Billy Kahora, Tony Park, Philip Hensher, Raymond E Feist, Mike Carey, Sefi Atta, Satoshi Kitamura, Kader Abdolah and Keyi Sheng, as well as South African authors based overseas Jonny Steinberg and Wilbur Smith. Marguerite Poland, whose The Keeper was published this month, is another name to look out for.

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

Jeff in Venice, Death in VaranasiThe KeeperGhana Must GoThe True Story of David Munyakei, Goldenberg WhistleblowerDark HeartThe Missing InkMagician's EndThe Girl with All the GiftsA Bit of DifferencePot-San's Tabletop TalesThe House of the MosqueNorthern GirlsA Man of Good HopeDesert God

No fewer than seven books will be launched at this year’s festival. On Thursday, Tiah Beautement launches her novel This Day with Zukiswa Wanner, and Ray Hartley will launch his new book Ragged Glory: The Rainbow Nation in Black and White.

On Friday, Wilbur Smith will launch his much-anticipated new novel, Desert God, with Tony Park, while Sampie Terreblanche launches his magnum opus: Western Empires: Christianity, and the Inequalities Between the West and the Rest 1500 – 2010.

Jonny Steinberg’s new book, A Man of Good Hope will be launched on Saturday, Mervyn Sloman.

Finally, on Sunday Songezo Zibi will launch Raising the Bar: Hope and Renewal in South Africa with Richard Calland, and Malaika wa Azania will launch her controversial new book Memoirs of a Born Free with TO Molefe.

This DayRagged GloryWestern EmpiresRaising the BarMemoirs of a Born Free

In the very first session of the festival, Poland will be in conversation with Hensher and Melissa Siebert, in a Book Club Morning chaired by Michele Magwood. Later in the day, Dyer will be chatting to Imraan Coovadia and Hedley Twidle about the “Art of the Essay”. Kahora, who was shortlisted for this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing, will be discussing the “Genius of the Short Story” with Felicitas Hoppe and Karen Jennings in a session chaired by Rachel Zadok.

In the evening, events to look out for include “15 Million Copies Sold”, featuring Feist and Sarah Lotz, and “Author as Ambassador”, in which Zakes Mda and Deon Meyer talk to Margie Orford about representing South Africa to the rest of the world.

Afrikaanse boekwurms kan met André P Brink, Karin Brynard, Henry Cloete, Johan Vlok Louw, Jaco van Schalkwyk en Ingrid Winterbach kuier wanneer dié skrywers by die Fugard Studio voorlees uit hul jongste werke.

And those are just some of the highlights from day one! Check out the complete programme:

Open Book Festival 2014 Programme by Books LIVE

Books from this year’s Open Book authors:

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 GentleParadiseA Girl Walks into a Blind DateNinevehTransformationsThe FollyThe Alibi ClubHow to Fix South Africa's SchoolsWhoever 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 AmLost and Found in JohannesburgMbongeni ButheleziGarden of DreamsA Sportful MaliceDog Eat DogTaller than BuildingsSister-SisterThe Zuma YearsSharp EdgesWestern EmpiresThe ThreeInward Moon, Outward SunThe Ugly DucklingDear BulletRaising the BarUnimportanceThis DayReal Meal RevolutionSouth AfricaIn the Heat of ShadowsRachel’s BlueGood Morning, Mr MandelaLondon – Cape Town – Joburg

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Street Fighter Not Tweet Fighter: Ray Hartley Chats to Tony Leon About Opposite Mandela

By Ray Hartley for the Sunday Times

Opposite MandelaOpposite Mandela
Tony Leon (Jonathan Ball Publishers)

This book represents another step in Tony Leon’s transformation from party partisan to dignified national eminence.

The first step was captured in his book Accidental Ambassador, about his time as Jacob Zuma’s man in Argentina. For the first time, Leon found himself representing the nation, and not a political party, and it was an adjustment he found surprisingly easy to make. When he returned to the country to launch his book, he had mellowed.

Now he has mellowed some more. Opposite Mandela goes back to the uneasy time he spent as leader of the opposition in a Parliament dominated by a man who had for all intents and purposes been canonized for his role in the transition to democracy.

When I meet Leon in the foyer of the Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg, he has a ready anecdote to illustrate his new position above the buzz of party politics.

“Lindiwe Mazibuko, Helen Zille and Mmusi Maimane all attended my book launch in Cape Town,” he says. Mazibuko had resigned from the DA to take up a Harvard scholarship amidst talk that she was to be replaced as parliamentary leader by Maimane. Leon apparently offered all sides refuge from a party where the air was thick with intrigue and hurt.

But he can’t resist getting a mild dig in. “I would have just wished Lindiwe well and moved on,” he says of Zille’s decision to address her party caucus with a list of Mazibuko’s weaknesses.

Leon expresses relief that he was a leader “in a pre-Twitter age”, sparing him Zille’s sometimes ill-considered 140-character responses to some or other baiting on the social network.

“I often felt deeply wronged,” he says. But he had senior party leaders who talked him down before he took the fight to the streets (or, in Zille’s case, the tweets).

In Mandela, Leon found his toughest challenge. “He was the fiercest of ANC partisans and I don’t think any organisation came close to eclipsing it. On the other hand, he genuinely had strong democratic impulses. Mandela was a leader. He was quite prepared to go against the grain,” he says.

Leon lists the events that illustrate this: The decision to begin negotiations with the apartheid government; the decision to wear the Springbok jersey at the 1995 World Cup; His reconciliatory response to the Chris Hani assassination; and his decision to abandon nationalization.

It was, he says a different time. “When Mandela was president, the ANC was just starting out in government and not as surefooted as now. There were titans in the world then – Donny Gordon, Harry Oppenheimer, Anton Rupert. The business community was thought to be a very important stakeholder.”

The DA, which then had the reputation as the party with the ear of business, punched above its paltry 1,7 percent of the 1994 vote. It was, he says, “a small party with all the disadvantages of a large party”.

By the time Mandela’s term of office ended, this had all changed and Leon was the de facto leader of the opposition as the National Party began to disintegrate, caught between its role in the government of national unity and its place on the opposition benches.

The result was that Leon found himself courted by Mandela, who kept in close contact and even once offered him a cabinet position. There are few who would have turned down such an offer from the uber statesman, but Leon said no.

Far from breaking his relationship with Mandela, this had the effect of strengthening it. Mandela knew he was tempting Leon to abandon his principles in exchange for the proximity to power and when Leon turned it down, Mandela respected him more for his stance.

Leon and Mandela shared, it turned out, the desire to take the road less travelled. “Maybe constancy is for the dull,” he says.

Follow @hartleyr

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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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Maarten Mittner Reviews Kruger, Kommandos & Kak by Chris Ash

Kruger, Kommandos & Kak: Debunking the Myths of the Boer WarVerdict: carrot

Most people will groan: “Oh no, not another book about the Boer War”. But this book shows the final word is far from being spoken. Chris Ash, a Scotsman married to an Afrikaner woman, who says he grew tired of all the drunken Boer victory stories he heard in bars, challenges the conventional view of the war as one of brave Boer underdogs pitted against the mighty British Empire.

Steve Hofmeyr won’t like this book. And predictably, the book has been savaged by Afrikaans critics for being a rehash of Victorian British views discredited over time. But few have responded to Ash’s arguments, instead focusing on perceived factual errors.

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Joshua Maserow Reviews Are South Africans Free? by Lawrence Hamilton

Are South Africans Free?Verdict: carrot

In Are South Africans Free?, political scientist Lawrence Hamilton builds a subversive and nuanced argument concerning the state of the nation. He argues that 20 years after democracy arrived, the majority of South Africans are still waiting for the emancipation promised by the end of apartheid. While there may be a good story to tell, it is not good enough.

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Helen Schoër resenseer The Class of 79 deur Janice Warman

The Class of 79: The story of three fellow students who risked their lives to destroy apartheidUitspraak: wortel

Janice Warman vertel die verhaal van drie Suid-Afrikaners wat as jong mense die moed gehad het om hul oortuiging uit te leef. Apartheid was duidelik verkeerd en hulle is genoop om hulself daarteen te verset.

Toevallig was al drie, soos Warman self, Rhodes-universiteitstudente en sy het hulle geken.

Boek besonderhede

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