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.@TheFolioPrize 2015 Longlist Revealed, Including Damon Galgut, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor and @dinawmengestu:

Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

The New Yorker Features New Fiction by Nuruddin Farah: “The Start of the Affair” (Excerpt, Interview and Podcast)

Nuruddin Farah

Hiding in Plain SightCrossbonesFrom a Crooked RibMapsKnotsSecrets

The latest issue of The New Yorker features new fiction by Nuruddin Farah, and an interview with the author about his life and work.

The story, entitled “The Start of the Affair”, is about a retired professor of politics at Wits who owns a North African restaurant in Pretoria. Farah says the idea for the story came to him soon after he had finished his most recent novel, Hiding in Plain Sight, “More or less out of the blue, you might say.”

Farah, along with Njabulo Ndebele, was recently presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the South African Literary Awards. He was born in Somalia, but now divides his time between South Africa and New York, where he teaches at Bard College. He still travels frequently to Somalia, but tells The New Yorker it has been a “deliberate decision” to set his novels outside of his home country, both for political and stylistic reasons. However, although he agrees that he now feels at home in New York, he says he is unlikely to set his work there.

Read the interview:

It is one thing to feel at home in a place; it is altogether another matter to set one’s fiction there. After all, there are stages of feeling at home in a place. Anyhow, I doubt I will set my fiction in upstate New York in the near future. My attitude towards setting my fiction anywhere in Africa is entirely different, because it is as if the continent is mine to write about.

Listen to Farah reading the story:

Read the story on The New Yorker website:

“The Start of the Affair”

At a fire sale a few years ago, James MacPherson, a retired professor of politics at Wits, Johannesburg, known for his seminal work on the Frontline States’ war of attrition against the apartheid regime, bought a restaurant in Pretoria specializing in North African cuisine. His knowledge of Africa was extensive, a result of having lived in various places around the continent for a number of years, most notably Zambia and Tanzania, and of having travelled frequently to the neighboring states.

Now he spends much of his time at a corner table in the restaurant, surrounded by the papers on which he has scribbled notes for a book he intends to lick into shape. He seldom interferes with the business side of the restaurant, allowing the manager, Yacine, a Moroccan, full authority to deal with most problems. And, on the rare occasion that Yacine seeks his input, James defers to him, saying, “It is your call.”

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Sue Townsend Reviews It’s a Black/White Thing by Donna Bryson

It's a Black/White ThingVerdict: carrot

Donna Bryson has written a thought-provoking book. Given our obsession with race (and that’s what this book is all about), it should be mentioned that Bryson is an African American journalist who has lived in South Africa – in the late 1990s and again from 2008 – 2012. She brings her own experiences to the table as well as many interviews with students, academics and administrators at the University of the Free State.

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Elsabé du Toit resenseer ’n Huis vir Ester deur Carol Campbell

'n Huis vir EsterUitspraak: wortel

Dis moeilik om die boek neer te sit – dit lees soos ’n spanningsroman en jy kan nie wag om te verneem of Ester haar huis gaan behou en of sy uitgesmyt gaan word nie.

En gaan die korrupte amptenaar en sy seun wegkom, selfs met moord?


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Madelein du Toit resenseer Zackie Mostert en die meisie-moles deur Jaco Jacobs

Zackie Mostert en die meisie-molesUitspraak: wortel

In Zackie Mostert en die meisie-moles maak Zackie kennis met die onbekende wêreld van die teenoorgestelde geslag. Vrouens is vreemd, moeilik, vol draadwerk en moet liefs nie vir die gek gehou word nie. Maar dan ontdek hy dat hulle gemeenskaplike belangstellings het en skielik is meisies nie so heeltemal JIG as wat hy gedink het nie.


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Nelson Mandela Foundation Reveals First Pages of Sequel to Long Walk to Freedom

Sequel to Long Walk to Freedom

Long Walk to FreedomLong Walk To FreedomLong Walk to FreedomLong Walk to FreedomLong Walk to FreedomLong Walk to Freedom

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has revealed that it plans to publish a sequel to Long Walk to Freedom in 2015.

In his introduction to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture on Monday, Njabulo Ndebele said Mandela had been working on the project, provisionally entitled “The Presidential Years”, from 1998 till 2002, when he “ran out of steam”.

Madiba passed away last December aged 95.

The foundation has released the first two hand-written pages of the book. On the first, Mandela writes a list of the people who were to be given the first 10 chapters of the manuscript: John Samuels, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mac Maharaj, Joel Netshitenzhe and Jacob Zuma.

On the second page, dated 16 October, 1998, Mandela writes:

“Men and women, all over the world, right down the centuries, come and go.

“Some leave nothing behind, not even their names. It would seem that they never existed at all.

“Others do leave something behind: the haunting memory of the evil deeds they committed against other people; gross violations of human rights, not only limited to oppression and exploitation of ethnic minorities or vice versa, but who even resort to genocide in order to maintain their horrendous policies.

“The moral decay of some communities in various parts of the world reveals itself, among others, in the use of the name of God to justify the maintenance of actions which are condemned by the entire world as crimes against humanity.

“Among the multitude of those who have throughout history committed themselves to the struggle for justice in all it implications, are some who have commanded [...]”

From Ndebele’s speech:

[T]onight is significant for two other reasons. Firstly, it coincides with the 20th anniversary of the publication of that seminal work Long Walk to Freedom. Not only has it become one of the world’s all-time bestsellers, it is also arguably our post-apartheid South Africa’s founding narrative. Later this week the Foundation will be placing online a feature about the writing of Long Walk, which began in 1976, and the text’s long journey to publication in 1994.

It is not widely known that Madiba intended to write a sequel to Long Walk. Indeed, in 1998 he started the manuscript of a work he provisionally titled “The Presidential Years” and kept working on it sporadically until 2002, when he finally ran out of steam. Here in the Centre of Memory’s archive we have versions of ten chapters from that work.

I want to announce tonight that the Foundation has embarked on a project to see the completion of The Presidential Years as an authorised account of Madiba’s presidency. The work on the manuscript is painstaking and calls for the most rigorous collaborative work. We aim to publish the work in 2015.

Long Walk to Freedom, which was originally published in 1994, covers Mandela’s early life and 27 years in prison, It sold millions of copies and was turned into a Hollywood film starring Idris Elba last year.

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Art-Movie-Book Reviews Devilskein and Dearlove by Alex Smith

Devilskein and DearloveVerdict: carrot

I’m not usually a big fan of the fantasy genre, but I loved this adventure. I found the balance between the real world and the fantasy world quite intiguing and was never quite sure whether the world of Mr Devilskein existed only in Erin’s unstable psyche or whether it was part of reality

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Karin Brynard Describes the Challenge of Translating Griqua-Afrikaans in Weeping Waters

Published in the Sunday Times

karin brynardWeeping WatersMy father must be turning in his grave, I thought, when I saw the first copy of Weeping Waters, the English translation of my crime debut, Plaasmoord.

Right there, where he’d been making old bones for the past 42 years, in a dusty graveyard in the far Northern Cape.

He was a typical Boere-oom. Stern, strict, conservative, an NG Church elder attending Sunday services in a long black tailcoat. Weekdays he worked for a farmers’ co-op in the rural towns of Griqualand West: Postmasburg, Olifantshoek and Daniëlskuil. And, come Saturday evenings, he was king of the braai in our stony backyard. He’d be on his own by the fire, quietly dancing to the haunted howls of the “donkey lung” concertinas of the Boere musiek they played over the radio.

He was a hard man, my father, born dirt poor on a farm in the Hantam Karoo in the late 1920s and pulled from school at an early age to go to work.

He chased away my first teenage sweetheart because he was English speaking, sternly reminding me of the concentration camps of the Anglo-Boer War. I almost died of shame. Felt like a Boere-Juliet, tragically wrenched from the clumsy embrace of my Romeo, the youngest son of Mister Shone of Shone’s Garage in Postmasburg.

The one thing my father was soft on, however, was the colourful culture of the Griqua people among whom we lived. He loved their artistic way with words, their stories and fables and he could mimic the theatrical way in which they told them.

By the time I started writing crime, I naturally returned to this landscape for some of the characters. And to the pure poetry of the language with its expressive and often wickedly ticklish sound.

But when it came to translation, Griqua-Afrikaans turned out to be quite a challenge. Thank goodness there were two excellent translators – Maya Fowler and Isobel Dixon – to hand. Simple, everyday words were often difficult to translate – like “hoeka”, meaning either “a long-long time ago” or “already” or anything ranging from “of course, yes” to “I totally disagree”.

You have to know your way around diminutives too, sometimes used in triplicate – “klein ou hysietjie” meaning “tiny-small little old house”. And then you get your piled up verbs, like “hy’t geloop staat en droogmaak”. Literally meaning “he went to stand and make dry”, in other words “he bungled”.

In the end Maya and Isobel managed to tell the story in an authentic and uniquely South African English voice. Heaven knows what the French and the Germans and Dutch, to whom it had been sold, will make of it.

And I know for sure that the shifting of my father’s bones isn’t a sign of displeasure. Oh, no. He’s simply turning to get comfortable, in order to start reading.

Follow the author on Twitter @karinbrynard

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Rebecca Davis Reviews Askari by Jacob Dlamini

Askari: A story of collaboration and betrayal in the anti-apartheid struggleVerdict: carrot

Perhaps it’s a sign of our growing historical distance from Apartheid’s formal structures – though not from its legacies – that our democracy can begin to countenance narratives that destabilise certainty about the identities of perpetrators and victims. Jacob Dlamini’s Askari might be the most intriguing, provocative book you’ll read all year – but its account of betrayal and collaboration under Apartheid is also deeply discomfiting.

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Debbie Loots resenseer The Reactive deur Masande Ntshanga

The ReactiveUitspraak: wortel

Masande Ntshanga woeker as dit kom by woorde. Nie net het hierdie jong skrywer van King William’s Town in die Oos-Kaap verlede jaar die internasionale PEN New ­Voices-prys vir sy kortverhaal “Space” verwerf nie, sy debuutroman, The Reac­tive, is nou vars op die rakke.

Die bekroonde Suid-Afrikaanse skrywer Imraan Coovadia beskryf sy styl as nuut, opwindend en gewaagd. Coovadia was sy studieleier toe Ntshanga sy meestersgraad in skeppende skryfkuns aan die Universiteit van Kaapstad voltooi het.


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Ruan Fourie resenseer Gerook deur Eldridge Jason

GerookUitspraak: wortel

Die storie van hierdie boek is gebou rondom Cobie, wie se Desember-skoolvakansie anders as beplan begin, verkeerd loop en dan nog meer verkeerd loop. Alles is altyd die een of ander secret. Selfs met Cobie se mislike ouma en die klein dorpie Vaalberg. Die laasgenoemde lyk op die oog af baie eenvoudig, maar onderlangs is dié dorp ’n uitloper van ’n gevaarlike metamfetamienfontein.


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