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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Join Susan Levine for the Launch of Children of a Bitter Harvest at the Centre For African Studies, UCT

Children of a Bitter Harvest: Child Labour in the Cape WinelandsBest Red invites you to the launch of Children of a Bitter Harvest: Child Labour in the Cape Winelands by Susan Levine at the Centre For African Studies on the UCT campus.

The event takes place on 23 April 2013 and starts at 4:30 for 5 PM.

Crain Soudien will deliver the welcoming address.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 23 April 2014
  • Time: 4:30 PM for 5:00 PM
  • Venue: Centre For African Studies, UCT,
    Harry Oppenheimer Institute Building
    Level 3, Engineering Mall Road
    University of Cape Town
    Upper Campus
    Cape Town | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Crain Soudien
  • RSVP:

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Craig Laurence Reviews What’s Gone Wrong? by Alex Boraine

What's Gone Wrong?Verdict: carrot with some criticism

When a current South African political commentary carries the sub-title On the brink of a failed state, it behoves the reader to sit up and take notice. Even more so when the author is Alex Boraine — the former opposition politician, co-founder of IDASA and deputy chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a man whose experience, acumen and humanity have earned him serious credibility.

What’s Gone Wrong? is compelling reading. It adds a significant contribution to the mounting literature from political commentators who are concerned — even shocked and horrified — at the way the ruling party is running roughshod over the South African political landscape.

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Join Ferial Haffajee and Mbongiseni Buthelezi for the Launch of The Cambridge Companion to Nelson Mandela at WiSER

The Cambridge Companion to Nelson MandelaWiSER and the Nelson Mandela Foundation invite you to a reopening of the Mandela archive, in the form of the launch of a new scholarly work, The Cambridge Companion to Nelson Mandela, edited by Rita Barnard.

The event will take place in two parts: In the first, Ferial Haffajee (City Press) and Mbongiseni Buthelezi (Centre for Law and Society, UCT), will speak to the spectre of Mandela, and the project of future freedom, on the eve of the South African elections. In the second part, Verne Harris (Nelson Mandela Foundation) and Rita Barnard (UPenn), will speak about the book and its significance. Achille Mbembe (WiSER) will chair the event.

See you there!

Event Details

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The 2014 Writivism Festival Short Story Prize and Call for Volunteers

The closing date for the 2014 Writivism Festival Short Story Competition is fast approaching.

This year the competition involves the whole of Africa, and regional prizes will be awarded, as well as the overall prize. The panel of judges will be chaired by Ellen Aaku-Banda, and comprises Zukiswa Wanner (Chair 2013 Prize panel), Emmanuel Sigauke, Glaydah Namukasa and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim.

This year submissions will be accepted up to 30 April, and can be submitted to

Writivism organisers have also put out a call for volunteers to help run the festival.

Press release:

The Writivism Festival is set to start in exactly two months (June, 18-22, 2014) in Kampala, Uganda and we want you to follow us as we prepare for this journey.


The Writivism 2014 program is on its way and we need fantastic people like you to join in making the Festival, the ultimate final stretch of the program, successful.

Our team needs enthusiastic volunteers who wish to donate their time and skills in:
-Marketing and Sales
-Public Relations
-Communications etc

We, Center for African Cultural Excellence (CACE), shall brief the volunteers on the various tasks, which commence in April 2014. The volunteership period will be three months (ending June 2014).

If interested, write to us at and copy to and, explaining in less than 400 words why you are interested in volunteering with us.


Image courtesy of Win Zimbabwe

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Maggie Marx resenseer Veelvuldige gebruike vir huishoudelike toestelle deur Andries Bezuidenhout

Veelvuldige gebruike vir huishoudelike toestelleUitspraak: wortel

Bezuidenhout – ’n bedryfso­sioloog, skilder, fotograaf, musikant en ook digter – trek al die dimensies van sy bestaan in sy poësie saam en hoewel hy hoofsaaklik van vrye vers gebruik maak, verleen sy verdeling van strofes, die binnerym en sterk ritme wat deurskemer, tog struktuur aan die onderskeie gedigte en die bundel as geheel.

Die openingsvers, “Kombuiskomplot” (9), voer die toon vir Bezuidenhout se poësie in die bundel aan. Met ’n aanhaling uit Cormac McCarthy se The Road (“He’d not have thought the value of the smallest thing predicated on a world to come”) en in die gedig self sinspeel Bezuidenhout nie net op die onsekerheid van die toekoms en selfs die hede nie, maar ook op die verwagting van die toekoms se kontinuïteit.


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Gert van der Westhuizen resenseer Doing Life with Mandela deur Christo Brand en Barbara Jones

Doing Life with MandelaUitspraak: wortel

Sedert sy dood einde verlede jaar het ’n handvol boeke oor oupres. Nelson Mandela reeds die lig gesien en baie sal seker nog in die toekoms op die winkelrakke pryk.

’n  Mens is soms skepties oor sulke boeke omdat jy die idee kry dit word uitgegee net om munt uit die Mandela-naam te slaan. Dit was ook my eerste gedagte toe ek Doing Life with Mandela die eerste keer in ’n boekwinkel sien.


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Join Kholofelo Maenetsha for the Launch of To The Black Women We All Knew

To The Black Women We All KnewLove Books and Modjaji Books invite you to the launch of Kholofelo Maenetsha’s To The Black Women We All Knew, a novel about love and life in a modern township.

The book explores the capriciousness of life and love in South Africa now, and the strength of a group of women friends in the face of a crisis.

Don’t miss the launch of this exciting new novel!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 23 April 2014
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Love Books
    The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre
    53 Rustenburg Road
    Johannesburg | Map
  • RSVP:, 011 726 7408

About the book

“Ama knew what this quilt represented to the women. It was their love for each other, stitched together to form a symbol of their love and a blessing for the union of love between Ama and Thabo. For a moment, she clutched it to her breast, before carrying it over to the stunned group.”

As Ama’s wedding day approaches and her friends – Beauty, Matlakala and Pamela – are there to lend varying degrees of support. But when tragedy strikes and spreads to every corner of the group’s lives they hold on each other to survive. Will their misfortunes bring them closer together or will it tear the quilt of their friendship apart? In To The Black Women We All Knew, Maenetsha showcases the modern township existence and its weakening yet ever-present link to tradition. Her vivid writing tells of the capriciousness of life and love and the strength of women in the face of a crisis.

Book Details

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Redi Tlhabi Responds to Endings and Beginnings Controversy on Twitter


Endings and BeginningsSomething of a controversy has broken out around Redi Tlhabi’s 2013 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award-winning book, Endings and Beginnings: A Story of Healing.

Tlhabi’s debut book details the uncomfortably close friendship she formed with a much older neighbourhood gangster, identified only as Mabegzo, when she was just eleven years old. Tlhabi unpacks their relationship, which began after the murder of her father, but also examines the larger social context of a South African society beset by gender violence. In an interview with Antony Altbeker for the Sunday Times Lifestyle Magazine last year, Tlhabi explained that it was a combination of both factors that compelled her to write the book: “The fact that the world is still so hostile to women, to young girls and to the poor, persuaded me that I should share my story.”

Mabegzo is eventually killed, and Tlhabi describes coming across his body while walking home from school in Orlando East in 1989. However, according to a report in The Citizen, the murder is “fictional”.

This follows a previous article in which The Citizen spoke to a woman claiming to be the “real family” of Mabegzo, who called Endings and Beginnings a “complete lie”, and denied details given in the book, such as that she was “raped or had abandoned any of her children”. In response, Tlhabi said the names in the book were fictitious. The Citizen has now investigated further and claims to have found no police record of a murder as described in the book. In addition, the newspaper reports that residents dispute that “there was ever a body left for dead on any of the road’s intersections in 1989″.

Soweto police spokesperson Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said: ‘There is no such a case in our files for that date and that street or the nearby areas. We have looked into three dates, October 25, 26 and 27 (1989), but still there is nothing of that nature.

‘The case would have been registered as a murder due to the wounds found on the body, but there is nothing like that,’ he said.

Tlhabi, a popular radio and television personality, reacted to the news on Twitter, promising a more “comprehensive” response soon:

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Image courtesy of The Times

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Win a Hamper of Books on Books LIVE’s Seventh Birthday!

Book Cake

Alert! It’s World Book Day – and Books LIVE’s birthday! Happy birthday to us! And to William Shakespeare, who would have turned 450 today, if only playwrights lived that long!

(Incidentally, Shakespeare’s exact birth date is unknown, but is surmised to be today. He also died on April 23rd – and today is also nominally the day that Cervantes died, a fact that helped sparked the World Book Day tradition. But because of the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the synchronicity between the two death dates is more seeming than actual. And now you know.)

To celebrate Books LIVE’s seventh – seventh! we’re right behind you Willy! – birthday we’re giving away a fantastic hamper of books, including a copy of Ghana Must Go signed by Taiye Selasi.


The Books LIVE birthday hamper includes Ghana Must Go, A Girl Walks into a Wedding, by Helena S Paige, Whoever Fears the Sea, by Justin Fox, A Passion for Freedom, by Mamphela Ramphele, The Quiet Violence of Dreams, by K Sello Duiker, October, by Zoë Wicomb, Thoughts in a Makeshift Mortuary, by Jenny Hobbs, A Rumour of Spring by Max du Preez, Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulkes and Barracuda, by Christos Tsiolkas.

Ghana Must GoA Girl Walks Into a WeddingWhoever Fears the SeaA Passion for FreedomThe Quiet Violence of Dreams

OctoberThoughts in a Makeshift MortuaryA Rumour of SpringJeeves and the Wedding BellsBarracuda

To stand a chance of winning the hamper, wish us a happy birthday on:

Take a walk down our digitised memory lane with the links below, back to when Ben Williams launched the site as BOOK SA seven years ago (it’s worth it just to see Ben’s amazing 2006 fringe).

Book details

Image courtesy Cake Central

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Margaret von Klemperer Reviews October by Zoë Wicomb

OctoberVerdict: carrot

It has been a while since we have had a full-length novel from Zoë Wicomb, the South African-born writer who now lives in Glasgow and is emeritus professor at the University of Strathclyde.

Like her creator, Mercia, the central character of October is a Glasgow-based academic, but with roots deep in the dry Namaqualand soil.

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