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Alert! The programme for this year’s @OpenBookFest has been revealed! Click here to see it:

Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Karina M Szczurek Reviews Garden of Dreams by Melissa Siebert

Garden of DreamsVerdict: stick

Melissa Siebert’s debut novel Garden of Dreams is the story of Eli de Villiers, a teenage wannabe rocker from Cape Town who travels to India with his mom Margo, a journalist. They explore the country on their way to Kathmandu, Nepal, where Eli is to visit his estranged father Anton, a world-renowned peacemaker. During their stay in Jaisalmer on the edge of the Thar Desert, Margo suddenly decides to abandon her son in the middle of the night to pursue a story on witchcraft allegations back home in Limpopo. She asks Badresh, the manager of the guesthouse where they are staying, to ensure that Eli is taken to the airport in Delhi to continue his journey north safely on his own. Margo’s staggeringly reckless decision (Eli is not even fourteen!) and blind trust in a complete stranger sends her son on a trip through the hell of child trafficking.

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Kom luister na Ena Jansen se NP van Wyk Louw-gedenklesing 2014 by die Universiteit van Johannesburg

NP Van Wyk Louw Gedenklesing


Versamelde Gedigte: NP van Wyk LouwBriewe van WEG en NP Van Wyk Louw 1941-1970Die Departement Afrikaans aan die Universiteit van Johannesburg nooi jou hartlik uit na die 2014 NP van Wyk Louw-gedenklesing wat vanjaar deur professor Ena Jansen aangebied word.

Die lesing, getiteld “Uit die ban van die stilte” – NP van Wyk Louw en Elizabeth Eybers, neem plaas op Donderdag, 11 September 2014 in die Universiteit van Johannesburg Raadsaal in die Madibeng-gebou en begin om 18:30 vir 19:00.



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Niel le Roux resenseer 80 Gays Around the World deur Brent Meersman

80 Gays Around the WorldUitspraak: wortel

In die voorwoord meld hierdie bekende Mail & Guardian-joernalis dat hy deur 60 lande en sewe kontinente gereis het op ’n sending om uit te vind hoe mans wat seksueel aangetrokke voel tot mekaar in verskillende wêrelddele hulle seksueel uitleef, met homself as aanbod vir seks.

Die eindresultaat is meer van ’n uitstekende reisgids as wat dit die antropologiese verslag is wat die doelwit impliseer.


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Elmari Rautenbach resenseer Diepsee deur E Kotze en ander reisverhale

Diepsee - kortverhale’n Duisend stories oor JohannesburgHierdie LeweJoe SpeedbootUitspraak: wortels

Om te reis deur ’n skrywer se oë; om só ’n bekende stad, streek of land opnuut te ontdek of die onbekende – magies – te sien oopvou. Dis een van die plesiere van boeke, skryf Elmari Rautenbach.

Die digter en letterkundige Petra Grütter het eenkeer gesê Sussie Kotze het amper eiehandig ’n seewoordeskat in Afrikaans behoue laat bly. Maar die dialek, woorde en uitspraak is vir haar “ingegee”, sê sy. “Dis die Weskus, die Sandveld, die Soutpan duskant Lambertsbaai.”


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Twenty in 20 Anthology Launched as National Book Week Kicks Off

Twenty in 20 anthology

Twenty in 20Twenty in 20: The Best Short Stories of South Africa’s 20 Years of Democracy was launched at the start of National Book Week.

The launch was attended by the Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Rejoice Mabudafhasi, South African Book Development Council CEO Elitha van der Sandt, and SABDC chairperson Jane Molony, as well as Twenty in 20 judges Mandla Langa and Karabo Kgoleng.

The Twenty in 20 project, a collaboration between Books LIVE, the Department of Arts and Culture and Short Story Day Africa, kicked off in May, when we made a call for submissions of the finest short stories written in South Africa, in English, since 1994.

After over 200 submissions, judges Langa (chair), Kgoleng, Mtutuzeli Matshoba and Fiona Snyckers chose a longlist of 50, and then a final list of 20 short stories, which have now been collected into an anthology that will provide pleasure for generations to come and serve as a long-standing reference for South African literary posterity. From Chris van Wyk’s 1995 miniature masterpiece, “Relatives”, to Makhosazana Xaba‘s extraordinary 2013 tale of betrayal, “Running”, we hope you enjoy the fruits of the Twenty in 20 project, a Twenty Years of Freedom initiative.

Langa said the collection represented “what it means to be South African, what it means to be creative, what it means to take that journey that South Africa has taken for the past 20 years”.

“When we started on this exercise of looking through the short stories we wanted, as South Africans, to do things right,” Langa said. “To come up with the short stories that best represent the spirit of the 20 years of our democracy.

“We believed in the issue, in the principle, that literature comes from the Latin word ‘literatura’, which means letters, which means we were looking for letters that best help us understand ourselves as South Africans and also material that goes to the spirit of writing, which is being able to imagine to ‘the other’, being able to see the world through the eyes of ‘the other’. And we believe that the empathy that comes out of that is what really brings about peace in any community.”

The Twenty in 20 Continues South Africa’s Great Tradition of Short Story Writing

Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Rejoice Mabudafhasi said she was “delighted” to launch the Twenty in 20 anthology, as it continues a great tradition of short story writing in South Africa.

“In July it was with sadness that we learnt of the passing of the South African literary giant and Nobel Laureate in Literature Nadine Gordimer. She was a renowned anti-apartheid critic and cultural activist who, from a young age, showed principled commitment in an artistic freedom of expression and the ideal of a non-racial and democratic society. Her contribution to the national literary treasury is immeasurable and not even her death can erase it.

“Gordimer saw her fiction as part of the struggle against apartheid; to document the havoc that institutional lies, prejudice and discrimination wrought on private lives.

“But South Africa has a rich tradition of short story writing, with not only Nadine, but also Bloke Modisane, Casey Motsisi, Can Themba, Bessie Head, Es’kia Mphahlele, Njabulo Ndebele, Mbulelo Mzamane and many, many other notable literary voices.

“With this inspirational earlier generation we encourage younger generations to continue with this great tradition while confronting present day challenges.”

Only 6% of Books in South Africa are Published in Indigenous Languages

Mabudafhasi added, however, that South Africa has a long way to go to promote a “culture of reading”, and that the writing community has a responsibility to contribute to its growth.

“In the general sector in South Africa, 49 percent of the books published are in English. 45 percent in Afrikaans. The remaining six percent is shared among the nine indigenous languages,” Mabudafhasi said. “This deep imbalance manifests itself in many ways including economic beneficiation. So we still have a great task ahead of us.

“The writing fraternity has the responsibility to add meaningful value in our endeavour to address the lack of a culture of reading and contribute towards the attainment of a broader imperative of developing a caring society. A thriving literary landscape and a widespread culture of reading can serve as a catalyst for the creation of a prosperous society.

“In the South African context, where our emphasis must be placed on economic growth and development and the creation of sustainable jobs, we need to recognise that the prerequisite for entrepreneurship, inventiveness and innovation is the basic skills of reading and writing.

“Out of reading and writing we also develop our analytical capacity, so that we can address even more complex matters and problems that affect our people and ourselves.

“Reading statistics suggest that only 14 percent of the South African population are active book readers and a mere five percent of parents read to their children. National Book Week is an important initiative to encourage people to value reading as a fun activity and to showcase how reading can be incorporated into one’s everyday lifestyle.

“In the words of our late president Tata Nelson Mandela: ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.’”

Mthethwa: Nat Nakasa Emphasised Shared Nationhood Through Writing

Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa said it is vital for South Africa to “write, tell and read our own stories”.

“National Book Week marks the beginning of Heritage Month in South Africa. This is no accident, as books are an integral part of telling our own stories, celebrating our heroes, and moving our society forward. One of the African proverbs puts it eloquently: ‘Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.’

“As we celebrate 20 years of democracy this year, we must write, tell and read our own stories. The importance of books as sources of knowledge and information makes reading a vital ingredient of developing society. The challenge is for South African writers to use their pen to define our identity, tell South African stories and empower communities.”

Mthethwa referred to the speech made by Nat Nakasa, in his address to the English Academy of South Africa in 1963, before he was forced to leave for Harvard University forever on a one-way exit permit.

“The late iconic journalist and editor Nat Nakasa said: ‘It is the general idea of a shared nationhood, the idea of a common experience, which I want to focus attention upon. I believe it is important for our writers to illuminate all aspects of our life from a central point in the social structure. That is, whatever their colour or views may be, they must accept their presence in the country as members of one community, the South African community. After that they can choose to be what they wish. Without this view of life, the writer will continue to lack closeness to his subject, his work will suffer from the inadequacy of his own insight into the human situations he handles.’

“Ours is a period when few writers can claim to be relevant without clearly defining their role and using their talent to help us find our true identity and where we are going as a nation. As custodians of our nation’s heritage, it is the responsibility of the Department of Arts and Culture to promote the culture of reading and writing, develop a sustainable book publishing industry that encourage the development of all South African languages, and resurrect the memory of our unsung heroes like the legendary Nakasa.”

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Books LIVE, Jennifer Malec, Ben Williams, and others, tweeted from the launch using #livebooks:


Facebook gallery

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Louis Awerbuck gesels oor Robin Williams, selfmoord en keuses (Plus: ’n Lykdig deur Joan Hambidge)

Wie is ek?Naomi Meyer het na Robin Williams se skielike selfmoord met Wie is ek? outeur Louis Awerbuck gesels om uit te vind waarom mense so ontroer is deur hierdie gebeurtenis.

“Wesenlik pleeg iemand gewoonlik nie selfdood omdat hy of sy wil doodgaan nie, maar eerder omdat hy of sy nie meer wil lewe nie. Daar is ’n beduidende verskil tussen die twee motiverings, wat impliseer dat mense oor die algemeen selfdood as ’n opsie kies as daar (na hulle mening) geen beter opsies meer oor is nie,” sê Awerbuck. Hy en Meyer gesels oor die element van keuse as dit by selfmoord, of selfdood, kom en die samelewing se persepsie van dood en selfmoord.

Louis Awerbuck is ’n kliniese sielkundige wat sedert 1995 in privaat praktyk is. Sy boek Wie is ek?, geskryf saam met Lise Swart en gebaseer op hul suksesvolle RSG-program met dieselfde titel, neem lesers op ’n verkenningstog van hulself, hul persoonlikheid en hul menswees.

Louis, Robin Williams het selfmoord gepleeg en die sosiale media gons hieroor. Waarom het spesifiek sý dood soveel aandag getrek?

Hy is bekend daarvoor dat hý óns gelukkig gemaak het, en skielik tref dit ons dat hý nie gelukkig was nie. Mens voel half skuldig! Robin Williams het regoor die wêreld ’n vorm van menslikheid, humor en deernis verteenwoordig wat ons almal graag in onsself of andere wil herken. Vir my was dit nie soseer sy humor nie, maar die hartseer in sy oë ten tye van sy humor wat my knaend sal bybly.

Tog … hy het selfmoord gepleeg. En dis nie ’n onderwerp waaroor mense graag praat nie – of is dit net so as jy self ter sprake is dat die onderwerp doodgeswyg word? Wat dink jy?

Die samelewing is nie gemaklik daarmee om te aanvaar dat selfdood ’n wesenlike opsie is nie, en ons hou nie daarvan om kort-kort daaraan herinner te word dat hierdie ontkenning deur die realiteit weerlê word nie. Wat egter bly staan, is die feite oor hoeveel mense eintlik selfdood pleeg, of dit ten minste oorweeg. In Suid-Afrika is 11% van alle onnatuurlike sterftes in die land weens selfdood.

MeditasiesJoan Hambidge, bekende akademikus en digter van onder meer Meditasies, het ’n lykdig aan Robin Williams op Versindaba geplaas:

“I love you. I miss you.
I will try looking up”, twiet
jy vir oulaas voor jy
hierdie wêreld-en-sy-mense,
wat jy so uniek
kon vertolk, abandoneer.
Russies het jy soos blits geleer
en alle stokkies vir ’n grappie,
selfs eenkeer ’n twyfelende mevrou vertolk.


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Barry Forshaw Reviews Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Broken MonstersVerdict: carrot

There is a bush telegraph that operates among aficionados of the crime novel, and when something particularly special comes along, excitement can build up very quickly. That was very much the case with Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls, which gave the overworked serial killer novel a thorough makeover.

Any fears that The Shining Girls was a one-off are banished when it becomes apparent that Lauren Beukes’ masterly storytelling is firmly in place; Broken Monsters almost matches the achievement of the earlier book.

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Nicola Hanekom en Leandie du Randt kan breed glimlag na 2014 kykNET Silwerskermfees-toekennings

Die pad bysterGemaklik in jou eie lyfDie afgelope naweek is Afrikaanse films behoorlik gevier tydens die jaarlikse kykNET Silwerskermfees se spoggerige toekenningsgeleentheid wat Saterdagaand plaasgevind het.

Tydends die geleentheid het Nicola Hanekom, outeur van Die pad byster wat deur Protea Boekhuis gepubliseer is, die toekenning vir Beste Kortfilm Aktrise ontvang vir haar spel in Trippie – ’n verwerking van haar suksesvolle gelyknamige toneelstuk waarvan die teks ook in Die pad byster verskyn. Stian Bam, wat teenoor Hanekom te sien is in Trippie, het op sy beurt die prys vir Beste Kortfilm Akteur ontvang.

’n Ander skrywer wat ook breed kon glimlag na die glansgeleentheid is Leandie du Randt, outeur van Gemaklik in jou eie lyf (Struik Lifestyle), wat kan spog dat sy nie net in die rolverdeling van die beste kortfilm (Vuil Wasgoed) te sien is nie, maar ook deel van die twee speelfilms wat uitgestaan het op dié aand: Hollywood in my huis en Die Windpomp. Laasgenoemde het onder meer die toekennings vir Beste Film, Regisseur, Teks en Oorspronklike Musiek ingepalm terwyl Hollywood in my huis, wat tydens die fees vir die eerste keer aan ’n gehoor vertoon is, vereer is as beide die kenners én gehoor se gunsteling speelfilm. Hanekom speel ook in Hollywood in my huis.

Baie geluk aan al die wenners! Books LIVE sien uit om te hoor of enige romans uit hierdie opwindende films sal spruit …

* * * * * * * *


Die wenners van die kykNET Silwerskermfees is vanaand by ’n glansgeleentheid in Kampsbaai bekendgemaak. Die komediante Anne Hirsch en Francois Toerien, wat die gashere vir die aand was, het die gehoor laat skaterlag met hul weergawe van ’n Afrikaanse Oscars.

Karen Meiring, MNET: Direkteur van Afrikaanse kanale, het tydens haar toespraak kykNET se 15de verjaardagvieringe geloots met ’n terugblik op die geskiedenis van kykNET.

Die toekennings is hierdie jaar in twee afdelings verdeel. In die eerste afdeling kom die volledige
aanbod van Afrikaanse filmvrystellings vanaf 1 September 2013 – 31 Augustus 2014 in aanmerking vir die Jaarlikse Nasionale Silwerskermtoekennings. In die tweede afdeling is die films wat by die fees geloots is, asook die kortfilm kategorieë. Die kortfilms word gedurende die fees deur ’n paneel beoordeel terwyl die feesgangers vir die beste feesfilms gestem het. Die nominasies is op Saterdag 30 Augustus 2014 bekendgemaak en sluit kategorieë in vir Beste kortfilm, Beste Feesfilm asook Kykerskeuses.

Die wenners is:


Beste Kortfilm
Vuil Wasgoed

Kortfilm Regisseur
Travis Taute en Nosipho Dumisa
Nommer 37

Kortfilm Akteur
Stian Bam

Kortfilm Aktrise
Nicola Hanekom

Kortfilm Teks
Daryne Joshua
Nommer 37

Spesiale Benoeming: Nuwe Ikoon
Albert Pretorius


Beste Film
Die Windpomp

Etienne Fourie
Die Windpomp

Vroulike Byspeler
Marga Van Rooi: Die Windpomp

Manlike Byspeler
Marius Weyers
Pad Na Jou Hart

Louw Venter

Anna-Mart Van Der Merwe
Stuur Groete Aan Mannetjies Roux

Oorspronklike Musiek
Johnny De Ridder
Die Windpomp

Etienne Fourie
Die Windpomp

Dwaine Faria Carrao
Pad Na Jou Hart

Beste Film Nie In Afrikaans
Forgotten Kingdom

Speelfilms By Fees

Kenner Keuse
Hollywood In My Huis

Hollywood In My Huis

Gehoor-Gunsteling Aktrise
Christia Visser
Hollywood In My Huis

Gehoor-Gunsteling Akteur
Deandre Reiners



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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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Riëtte Grobler resenseer Ctrl Z my lewe deur Cheréne Pienaar

Ctrl Z my leweUitspraak: wortel

Ctrl Z my lewe, oor ’n tienermeisie wat ná haar matriekjaar by haar vervreemde pa in die Spaanse stad Barcelona gaan woon, is so ’n bietjie soos ’n Vrydagaand se aksiefliek.

Nes enige goeie aksiefliek is die bestemming eksoties, ontvou die storielyn vinnig, is die skurke so goor as kan kom en van die karakters nie wie hulle voorgee om te wees nie.

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