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“I Remember You from Our Days in Mozambique”: Jacob Zuma Responds to Mia Couto in an Open Letter #Xenophobia

Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Fiction Friday: Read an Excerpt from Tiah Beautement’s Barry Ronge Prize-Longlisted Novel, This Day

Open Book 2014: This Day

This DayA long weekend, the perfect time to catch up with reading. Why not start with this excerpt from This Day by Tiah Beautement?

This Day is Beautement’s second novel, published by Modjaji Books, and was recently longlisted for the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize. (See the full longlist here.)

The novel takes place during a single day in the life of Ella Spinner, who has suffered a loss that has left her alone to care for her clinically depressed husband, Bart. Sarah Lotz calls it: “A searing and sensitive exploration of grief and loss”, adding “This Day held me in its thrall in one sitting and will haunt me for a long time. The writing is pitch-perfect, beautifully crafted, and full of acute and witty observations.”

Read the excerpt:

Turning to go into the house, I spot the remaining chard, still waiting to be planted. I rush over, kneeling down beside their wee leaves with red and yellow stems. Footsteps come up behind me. ‘Ma’am, I would be happy to do that as well, if you wish.’

I glance over my shoulder. ‘No, I’m fine. Thank you, but no. It will only take me a moment.’

His expression is unreadable, but I am sure I must sound barking mad. How to explain? I can’t. As the headmistress at my boarding school used to say, ‘Discretion is a virtue too often overlooked.’ I say nothing. Thankfully he does not press the point and, without further comment, returns to the lawnmower.

The moment leaves me exhausted, sad. A desire to quit beckons. My eyes sting, willing me to give in. Pressing my teeth firmly down on my tongue I mentally begin stacking the bricks, focusing on this day’s plans: Kamala this morning, the meeting at noon, Luxolo at three. I repeat the mantra over and over again, stacking the bricks higher. My heartbeat slows. A deep breath and then another. At last the final chard is planted without incident. Each one receives a gentle pat with the edge of my fingertips before I dash indoors.

For a moment the location of my camera eludes me. It has been so long. There was a time when it lived around my neck. I wanted to hold every moment. Show everyone how the world looks through my eyes. Beauty was everywhere, even in the wrinkle of flesh or a can abandoned in the gutter. I wanted to treasure all of it as the lens pulled me through each day, providing an avenue through which to interact with South Africa.

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Ben Okri to Feature as African Representative at 2015 Sydney Writers’ Festival

The Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF) – set to take place from 18 to 24 May 2015 – will feature Ben Okri as one of the international highlights on the programme. He will be the only representative from the African continent.

Ben Okri at the Festival of Ideas
The Age Of MagicIncidents at the ShrineTales of FreedomSongs of EnchantmentStarbookWild
Astonishing the GodsStars of the New CurfewDangerous LoveA Time for New DreamsInfinite RichesThe Famished Road

Okri has published nine novels, including The Age of Magic and the Booker Prize-winning The Famished Road, as well as collections of poetry, short stories and essays. His work has been translated into more than 26 languages. Okri is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has been awarded an OBE and has won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa, the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction and the Chianti Rufino-Antico Fattore International Literary Prize. He was born in Nigeria and lives in London.

He will be speaking at four events:

SWF features an incredible line-up of international literary stars, including Mohsin Hamid, Helen Macdonald, David Walliams and Alan Cumming, Richard Flanagan, James Petterson, David Mitchell, Michael Connelly and Anthony Horowitz among others.

  • Dates: Monday, 18 May to Sunday, 24 May 2015
  • Venues: Sydney Writers’ Festival’s main precinct is at Walsh Bay. This comprises venues at Pier 4/5, Pier 2/3 and Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay. Events are also held at venues throughout the city, and in suburban Sydney and regional NSW. Detailed information on how to get to venues is available from individual event pages.
  • Ticket cost: Free to $25
  • More information: SWF
  • Follow: Twitter / Facebook

For more information on the festival visit the SWF website, or read the press release sent out by the SWF organisers:

2015 Sydney Writers Fesival Press Release

Links related to Ben Okri:


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Ainehi Edoro Reviews Terra Incognita by Nerine Dorman

Terra IncognitaVerdict: carrot

The idea was to explore African life beyond the realism of the everyday. And the outcome is a mouth-watering collection of titles featuring “vampires, tokoloshi, ghosts, unnatural obsessions and the unspeakable things that lurk beneath land and in the water.”

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Andre Bartlett resenseer Die dans met God deur Abel Pienaar

Die dans met GodUitspraak: wortel

Desnieteenstaande lewer Pienaar met hierdie boek ’n boeiende bydrae tot die gesprek tussen verskillende denktradisies en hul soeke na antwoorde op die groot lewensvrae.


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Sarie-lesers resenseer romanses, onder meer Afdraaipad deur Elaine Marais en Goue dagbreek deur Bets Smith

AfdraaipadLiefde in die skemeringOnder 'n sterrehemelGoue dagbreek
Stiletto's van staalSister Moon

Uitspraak: wortels

Toe Lize vir Conrad een aand verras met ’n eg Suid-Afrikaanse ete, verloor hy sy humeur. Dis die eerste keer dat hy sy hand vir Lize lig. Vasgevang in ’n maalkolk van begeertes en seerkry, word Lize op haar knieë gedwing. Hoe vind sy weer hoop en vertroosting by God nadat sy die afdraaipad weg van Hom gekies het? Daar is net een manier – maak jou oë toe en bid.

’n Boeiende boek wat my diep geraak het.


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Adam Small, Siener in die suburbs en Santa Gamka: Suidoosterfees 2015 is om die draai!

Dit is weer tyd vir die jaarlikse Suidoosterfees!

Nou in sy twaalfde bestaansjaar, bied die fees weer ’n opwindende program vol plaaslike en nasionale produksies en bekende kunstenaars van oral oor Suid-Afrika.

Vertonings vind plaas by verskeie teaters in Kaapstad, insluitend die Fugard Studio en Baxterteater. Die fees vind plaas vanaf 28 April tot 3 Mei en vanjaar se tema is “Winde van verandering”.

Boekwurms kan uitsien na verhoogproduksies van Siener in die suburbs deur PG du Plessis en Santa Gamka deur Eben Venter, asook ‘n voorlesing uit Adam Small se jongste digbundel, Klawerjas.

‘n Groep genaamd Die Argitekbekke bied ‘n wonderlike produksie met uittreksels uit die bekroonde dokumentêre film van Dylan Valley met (wyle) dr Neville Alexander – ’n Hip-hop-era-teaterproduksie wat die wortels van die Afrikaanse taal terug na die slawe en inheemse mense van die Kaap naspoor. Vir meer oor Alexander en sy besonderse bydrae tot taal in Suid-Afrika kan jy gerus Interviews with Neville Alexander: The Power of Languages Against the Language of Power en Language policy and the promotion of peace: African and European case studies lees.

Chester Missing, die uitgesproke pop wat onlangs in die sop beland het, tree ook op tydens die fees. Sy boek, Chester Missing’s Guide to the Elections ’14, het verlede jaar verskyn.

Moet dit nie misloop nie!

KlawerjasSiener in die suburbsSanta GamkaInterviews with Neville AlexanderLanguage policy and the promotion of peaceChester Missing's Guide to the Elections '14


Loer na die program vir meer besonderhede oor hierdie vertonings:

Siener in die Suburbs
28 April – 3 Mei | R120
Met: Shaleen Surtie-Richards, Christo Davids, Brendon Daniels, Ivan Abrahams, Crystal-Donna Roberts, Dann-Jaques Mouton, Andrea Frankson

Ek wil van geweet wees, Ma, ek wil nie vrek soos ’n hond nie, ek wil van geweet wees.” So klink die wanhopige kreet van Tiemie die pragtige meisie (soos vertolk deur Crystal-Donna Roberts) in hierdie Hertzogprys-bekroonde drama (1971). Siener in die Suburbs speel af teen die agtergrond van maatskaplike verval, maar die fokus bly op die komplekse onderlinge menseverhoudings. “Dis nie ingewikkeld nie, nie hoogdrawend, betogend nie, dis sonder etikette, so inheems soos die skrywer self, dis komies en ontroerend.” (Chris Barnard)


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Calling All Writers, Artists and Activists to Unite Against Xenophobia at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

wRiters Artists Activists: No To Xenophobia

The wRite associates, in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and the Miriam Tlali Reading and Book Club, call on all writers, artists and activists to come together and say no to xenophobia.

The protest will take place on Saturday, 25 April, at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Houghton from 12 to 3 PM.

Nelson Mandela: By Himself - The Authorised Book of QuotationsGood Morning, Mr MandelaLong Walk to FreedomIf I Could SingThis Way I Salute You

Poet laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile says: “The Freedom Charter tells us that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. We also talk about Ubuntu, yet we do not embrace fellow Africans. The barbaric violence of xenophobia makes a mockery of everything we claim to value. It is time for every South African who can claim to have a conscience.”

Join the protest against xenophobic violence in our country.

Event Details


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Eugene Goddard Reviews Weeping Waters by Karin Brynard

Weeping WatersVerdict: carrot

Brynard, however, doesn’t allow dissection to stand in the way of a good story. With Weeping Waters she doffed her journalism cap for the art of story telling, forsaking factuality for the benefit of nuance, intrigue, and slow-burning revelation.

Like a master she walks a thin line between parody and pathos as she turns one farm murder inside out.

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Penny de Vries Reviews Penumbra by Songeziwe Mahlangu

PenumbraVerdict: carrot with criticism

I still have not figured out what the over-riding thrust of this book is meant to be. I do not mind the lack of plot so much as the lack of focus. The depiction of Mangaliso’s mental turmoil is excellent but there is little context or understanding of its provenance. The same applies to all the characters in the book where elements are introduced that seem to go nowhere.

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Ilse Salzwedel resenseer Skuldig deur Martin Steyn

SkuldigUitspraak: wortel

Martin Steyn se Skuldig is die soort boek wat maak dat mens alles opsy skuif om te lees. Ek wou eintlik hierdie maand oor ʼn ander boek geskryf het, maar dink dis belangriker dat Afrikaanse lesers behoorlik kennis neem van Steyn.

Mens kan nie wag om te sien wat op die volgende bladsy van dié speurroman gebeur nie, maar hoop tegelykertyd dat die einde sommer nog ver in die verskiet lê – presies wat mens soek in ʼn goeie boek, maar ʼn rare talent in ʼn skrywer.


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