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Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

Read an excerpt from Nick Wood’s debut Azanian Bridges, an alternate reality thriller where apartheid still rules

Read an excerpt from Nick Wood’s debut novel Azanian Bridges, where apartheid rules in a dark alternate reality
Azanian BridgesAfrican MonstersAfrosfv2The Stone Chameleon

Azanian Bridges, Nick Wood’s debut novel, is published and due to be launched at the British Science Fiction Association Convention this Easter, and the author has kindly given Books LIVE an excerpt to share.

Wood is a South African-British clinical psychologist, researcher and genre writer, with stories in two recently published anthologies, Afrosfv2 and African Monsters. His Young Adult novel The Stone Chameleon was published in 2004. He is also a reader for the Short Story Africa Day Prize.

Like Nikhil Singh’s Taty Went West, which we featured as our Fiction Friday recently, Azanian Bridges was longlisted for the inaugural Kwani? Manuscript Prize in 2013. It has impressive shouts from authors such as Sarah Lotz, Ian Watson and Ursula K Le Guin, who says: “I read Bridges with much pleasure … chilling and fascinating.”

The novel’s cover art is by Capetonian illustrator Vincent Sammy.

Azanian Bridges is a socially acute fast-paced thriller that takes place in an alternate modern day South Africa where apartheid still rules, and a young man, Sibusiso Mchunu, finds himself in possession of a secret that could offer hope to his people. Pursued by the ANC on one side and Special Branch agents on the other, Sibusiso has little choice but to run.

Wood explained a little bit about the process of writing the novel, and his decision to partner with Long Story Short.

“Busisiwe Siyathola, a clinical psychologist working at the hospital where some of the novel’s scenes are set (I worked there too, a good few years ago now), helped with beta advice, particularly with Sibusiso and all the Zulu references.

“I also agreed to share author royalties with Long Story Short as it felt unethical for a white writer to solely benefit from a tale around apartheid.”

Read the excerpt:

* * * * *


Chapter 1 – Sibusiso’s Start

I never knew it would be so hard to say goodbye – especially to my father. (I leave him until last.)

         “Sala kahle, tata!” I say, bowing my face so he cannot see my eyes.
         For a brief moment, he holds me close to him and I can smell the Earth, sweet, sharp sweat and the decades of cattle manure on his skin. His jacket buttons poke into my stomach – he has indeed dressed for this occasion too. He is so like a fragile bird – a kiewietjie comes to mind for some reason – but then he pushes me away, turns and walks off in a hurry and without looking back. He has left me with a little gift, a small beige plastic digi-disc, on which I can record the happenings in my life. I put it in my pocket.
         Since when did my father get so old, so delicate, so suddenly?
         I look over my brother and sisters’ heads to watch his stiff blue-jacketed back disappear into the house. The brown door shuts against yellow brick and the late afternoon sun glints off the corrugated silver eaves and roof.
         Behind our master’s house, I hear the cows sounding out as a dog barks, unsettling them.
         Lindiwe is crying openly but I keep my own eyes dry. I am the eldest son; I am strong.
         There is time for one last hug before the taxi arrives.
         Mandla grips my arm tight. ”Careful brother,” his eyes are almost on a level with my own, despite the three years I have on him, “There is much danger and distraction in the city.”
         I nod and brush my lips with the back of my left hand to hide my smile: “I hear what you say, Mandla – you repeat father too – but I will be careful.”
         He grins and puffs his 15-year old chest, which looks increasingly like a solid drum of utshwala besizulu – but only the finest of beer.
         There is a high-pitched car hooter sounding behind me. Father had to pay much to have the man detour off his route to come here.
         My five sisters wave as I step with difficulty into the crowded taxi; the door is slid fully open, the minibus is silver and muddy brown from the farm tracks splatter of early-summer showers.
         The driver accelerates before I can sit. I fall into a large woman’s lap and realise there is indeed no seat. She shovels me aside with a large forearm and I sway, trapped between her fat hip and a thin man’s sharp thighbone. He wriggles a bit like a contortionist and my buttocks manage to find some sticky leather to ease the weight off my feet.
         My grey Sunday slacks sticks to the seat, as we sway around and bump over farm potholes.
The ‘gamchee’, as the Cape Coloured people call them, waves a hand towards me from the front seat: “Where you going again, boy?”
“Fundimiso College, Im-, Imbali,” I say, finding it hard to breathe, crushed as I am as the large woman squeezes against me.
         The gamchee turns to the driver, who is accelerating into a violent right-turn onto the tarred road: “Seems like we have a clever boy in our taxi, hey Smokes?”
         Smokes just grunts from under his Man U cap and shakes his dreads. I see he has an OPod plugged into his ears.
         I plug an earpiece into my ears, folding my arms tightly over my old music pod and the rands strapped in a leather purse across my stomach inside my white buttoned shirt, the purse hot and wet against my skin from the late afternoon heat.
         The sky still looks clear – no gathering thunderstorm tonight it seems. I glance across at the passengers swaying and talking in front of me. They’re arguing about the price of bread.
         I am too tired to listen and try to sleep. Keeping my arms crossed across my hidden money pouch, I doze in fits and starts to random braking, accelerations and Church-Rap from the Crischen-Niggaz.
         I finally fall asleep to Muth’fuckas Who Don’t Know Jesus
         The fat woman is climbing over me and I see she has a baby hanging off her right hip, swinging it onto her back as she steps outside. It’s built like me; it keeps right on sleeping …
         Then I see the driver getting out too – what’s his name?
         I look across to the open door and see I’m the last one inside. I stretch and rub my eyes. My OPod has gone silent.
         A big white man with a fierce brown handlebar moustache and blue police cap sticks his head inside: “Out, kaffir!”
         Hayi no, it must be a roadblock.
         I step outside, sweating hard, although the sun is low and the air is cooling.
         There’s a mellow yellow police van parked in front of us. We’re pulled off to the side of the road, traffic whooshing past us and down the hill, down into the smoky valley of umGungundlovu – or Pietermaritzburg as the boere like to call it.
         So close, why did they have to stop us now?
         Fierce-moustache policeman is going through the driver’s papers. Two other black cops are rummaging through our taxi, looking for guns or drugs, probably both.
         “Hey, line up!” the white cop shouts, throwing the driver’s papers back at him – Smokes, that’s his name, catches the papers deftly with a weary shrug of his shoulders and turns back to his cab.
         We stand in a ragged line, all nine of us, as he slowly works his way through our dompas. My hands are clammy as I pull mine out of my hip pocket.
         He moves alongside me and snatches it from my hand; as if angry they’ve all been in order so far.
         I sweat, even though it’s getting cold, the sun sinking below the city’s smog.
         He looks at me and I’m reminded of Ballie Boetze, the big white South African world-boxing champion from several decades ago – whose face has received a nostalgic comeback on TV since his death, advertising Rocket Jungle Weetie-Oats.
         “Hey, why you sweating so much, boy, what you hiding?”
         “Nothing, sir!” I hate my sweat and my use of “sir”, but all I want is to get to College safely.
         “Ach man, they can go!” He slaps my dompas into my open palms.
         I see the two black cops are standing behind him, hands on hips, empty.
         “Next time I’ll give you a bledy fine for over-crowding, hey!” he shouts at us as we climb back into the taxi.
         Smokes lights a cigarette, but no one says anything.
         This time I find a space next to the window and keep my face averted from the others, watching the lights popping up like fireflies, as the quick dusk deepens into murky darkness.
         The rest of the journey is made in a tense silence – as for me, I shake until the end.
         I miss my father already.

Book details

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Winners of the 2015 Bessie Head Short Story Awards announced



Alert! The Bessie Head Heritage Trust has announced the winners of the 2015 Bessie Head Short Story Awards.

The Bessie Head Short Story Awards reward original and unpublished short stories in English, and are open to citizens and residents of Botswana. The facilitators include three past winners: Wame Molefhe, Wazha Lopang and Lauri Kubuitsile.

This year’s award judges were Zukiswa Wanner, Karen Jennings and Fiona Snyckers.

Without further ado:

2015 Bessie Head Short Story Awards winners

  • First place: Donald Molosi, for “The Biggest Continent”
  • Second place: Siyanda Mohutsiwa, for “And Then We Disappeared into Some Guy’s Car”
  • Third place: Vamika Sinha, for “Love and Other Almosts”

Molosi and Mohutsiwa were both recently longlisted for the Short Story Day Africa Prize,

First place prize money is 2 000 pula (about R2 900), second place P1 500, third place P1 000. Prizes have been donated by Diamond Educational Publishers.

The award ceremony is being held on Saturday, 23 January, at the National Museum in Gaborone, at 2 PM, with a keynote speech by Kubuitsile.

Congratulations to the winners!

Go Tell the SunA Memory This Size and Other StoriesSigned, Hopelessly in Love

Book details

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Get your teen novel published – enter the 2016 MML Literature Awards

Pearson has made a call for submissions for the 2016 Maskew Miller Longman Literature Awards (MMLLA).

The MMLLA serve to develop quality literature in all official languages for young readers and to encourage a love of reading in learners’ mother tongues.

Each year a new theme is selected to ensure a wide variety of literature is created and supported. Last year the MMLLA celebrated Children’s Fiction and in 2014 it explored the genre of Drama.

The selected theme for 2016 is Teen Novels, with a call made for original stories aimed at individuals between the ages of 14 and 16. This was also the theme in 2013.

Writers have until 30 April, 2016 to submit their teen novels. Pearson will also be hosting writing workshops in Cape Town for those in need of a bit of extra help. For more information read the press release below:


* * * * * * * * *




Pearson invites experienced, new and aspiring writers to submit their unpublished and original Teen Novels for learners aged 14 to 16 as part of the 2016 Maskew Miller Longman Literature Awards.

Stories can explore the following themes but are not limited to: comedy, romance, fantasy, sport and adventure.

Give South African teenagers the gift of reading in their mother tongue.

Download your entry form here.


  • R10 000 will be awarded to each winner and the winning entries will be considered for publication by Pearson.
  • R3 500 will be awarded to each finalist.

Closing date for entries is on 30 April, 2016.

Applications for the 2016 MML Writing Workshops are now open

Workshops will be held in Cape Town (CBD) on 18 February and Sandton on 25 February, 2016.

To add your name to the list simply download and complete the application email it to

Like us on Facebook to receive important information and competition updates.


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Rus sag, Chris Barnard (1939 – 2015)

Chris Barnard

Een van die reuse van Suid-Afrikaanse letterkunde het gesterf.

Chris Barnard – veelbekroonde en uiters geliefde Afrikaans skrywer van onder meer Paljas, Die rebellie van Lafras Verwey en Die Wonderwerker – het vroeg Maandaggoggend op die ouderdom van 76 aan ‘n hartaanval beswyk, berig Netwerk24.

Barnard was wyd belees en sy boeke word ook deur menigte tweede en derde taal Afrikaanssprekers as gunstelinge uitgesonder. Sy sterfte is ‘n groot verlies vir die boekgemeenskap.

Oulap se blouBunduBoela van die blouwaterMahala
Die wonderwerkerDandaDanda op OudeurPaljasDie rebellie van Lafras Verwey


Vir meer oor hierdie ontslape skrywer, lees LitNet se skrywersalbum waarin hulle sy biografie, belangrike aanhalings en lys van publikasies in vol deel:

In 1999: “Dertig jaar gelede, toe ons jonk en lus was om te eksperimenteer, het die kuns om ’n storie te vertel in die slag gebly. Maar hoe ouer ek word, hoe groter word die uitdaging om ’n roman só te skryf dat die leser dit nie maklik sal neersit nie – nie nét vir die storie nie, maar óók vir die storie.”

“Ek weet uit dure ondervinding ’n roman is op sy heel beste tot nét voor jy die eerste sin neergeskryf het. Daarná, sin vir sin, begin jy sy moontlikhede beperk.” (Beeld, 29 September 1999)

“Om ’n roman te skryf (of enigiets anders), is op ’n manier soos om ’n bergpoel kristalhelder water te sien wat vol weerkaatsings van wit wolke en ’n blou oneindigheid lê en skitter – en te besluit jy wil ’n dubbele handvol van daardie water met alles wat dit weerspieël skep en met jou saamneem om dit vir die res van die wêreld te gaan wys. Jy staan uiteindelik waarmee jy staan: met nat maar leë hande. Dis nie altyd heeltemal so erg nie. Jy ontdek soms iets gans anders in jou hande – nadat die water tussen jou vingers weg is: soms selfs ’n spartelende ghielewientjie of ’n kielierige draaikewertjie wat jy nooit verwag het nie. Maar altyd – altyd – met iets anders as die ding wat jy wou opskep.”

“Hoe ouer jy word, hoe moeiliker is dit om jouself tussen die bladsye weg te steek. Jy gee minder om dat die onderrok uithang. As jong skrywer was dit vir my belangrik om myself te verdoesel. Nou maak dit nie meer saak nie.” (Die Burger, 5 Februarie 2009)


Christian Johan Barnard is op 15 Julie 1939 op ’n lemoenplaas, Mataffin, in die ou Transvaalse Laeveld gebore – die oudste van twee seuns van Flip, ’n sitrusboer, en Hanna. Sy broer, Sam, is gebore toe Chris vyf jaar oud was en omdat hy aanvanklik alleen grootgeword het, het hy geleer om homself te vermaak. Sy ma was ’n nooi Blundell en hy vertel self dat sy ’n gefrustreerde huisvrou was en ’n toegewyde tuinier. Sy behoefte om goed te plant en te sien groei, kom dus van beide ouers af.

Lees huldeblyke aan Barnard op Twitter:



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RIP Chris Barnard (1939 – 2015)

Chris Barnard

Oulap se blouBoela van die blouwaterDie wonderwerkerDandaDanda op OudeurDie rebellie van Lafras Verwey

Afrikaans author and dramatist Chris Barnard has died at the age of 76, according to reports.

Netwerk24 reports that Barnard died of a heart attack in the early hours of Monday morning.

Barnard was born in Nelspruit in 1939. He matriculated in 1957 and completed a BA degree in 1960 at the University of Pretoria. He worked as a journalist for 17 years and as a scriptwriter and film producer between 1978 and 1994. He began farming macadamias in the Lowveld in 1995.

Barnard was one of the most important Sestigers, mainly because of his great versatility. He wrote novels, novellas, columns, youth novels, short stories, plays, radio dramas, essays, film scripts and television dramas. Barnard published over 30 books and received several literary awards, including a brace of Hertzog Prizes, and translated Chinua Achebe and Ernest Hemingway into Afrikaans.

His most recent English publication, Bundu, was first published in Afrikaans over a decade ago, and was met with critical acclaim and commercial success. It was translated by Michiel Heyns, and was shortlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

His Afrikaans psychological thriller classic, Mahala, was released in English in 2009.

Barnard leaves behind his wife, Katinka Heyns, and his sons Simon, Johan, Stephan, Tian and Reghard.

Book details

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Ek was daar – ’n jong Afrikaanse boekjoernalis neem bestek

Toe ek ‘n jaar en ‘n half gelede by Books LIVE begin werk het was my Afrikaans ‘n uitgemergelde dier wat ‘n paar jaar onder ‘n emmer gelê en uitbloei het (geseënde Kersfees, jy wen ‘n aaklige metafoor). Na vier jaar by Rhodes en twee jaar in Suid-Korea (om nie te praat van my Engelsman-eggenoot nie) moes ek van voor af leer hoe om sinne te maak.

Ek kon nie vir ‘n beter leerskool as Books LIVE en die Afrikaanse boekbedryf gevra het nie.

Ek wou nog altyd net boeke gelees het vir ‘n lewe. Ek weet dis ‘n cliché – skuus, ‘n geykte uitdrukking – maar ek kan nie Wiskunde doen nie, ek is nie prakties nie en ek’s te klein en rond vir enigeiets wat fisieke inspanning vereis. So toe ek die Books LIVE-advertensie op Twitter sien, was ek verheug. Dis dit! My droomwerk het in my skoot beland – digitaal, Afrikaans, werk met boeke – perfek.

Die eerste bekendstelling wat ek bygewoon het vir Books LIVE was Bernette Bergenthuin se Stiletto’s van staal by Graffiti Lynnwood Bridge. Ek het so gebewe ek is seker almal kon my knieë hoor klap. Ek het afgespreek om voor die tyd ’n onderhoud met die skrywer te voer, en toe ek haar ontmoet was ek so verskrik ek moes na daardie spesiale plek in my kop toe gaan waar ek vir myself sê: “Jy’s orraait, mense hou van jou, jy’s nie te sleg nie.”

Ek wens ek kan vir jou sê die angs het namate weggegaan, maar dit het nie. Ek het egter geleer hoe om dit weg te steek, of ten minste die draak daarmee te steek: “Hoekom is jy so rooi, Annetjie?” “Ek’s besig met ‘n bestaanskrisis, los my uit.” (Praat ek gedurig met myself)

Kort na my vuurdoop met Bernette het die werk in alle erns begin en angs moes bietjie plek maak vir opwinding: Ek het met Tom Lanoye via Skype gesels oor Sprakeloos wat na Afrikaans vertaal is deur Daniel Hugo (heeveel boeke vertaal Hugo in ‘n jaar? Ek sal graag wil uitvind) en met Marlene van der Westhuizen oor Geheime van ’n Franse kookklas.

Die hoogtepunt van 2014 was egter om Chris Karsten te ontmoet toe hy Die respektabele Meneer Hartslief by die Waverley Biblioteek in Pretoria bekendgestel het. Ek moet bieg, ek het nooit vantevore sy boeke gelees nie, maar sy gesprek met Thys Human daardie aand het ‘n ommeswaai in my houding teenoor misdaad- en spanningsfiksie veroorsaak – en hoe dankbaar is ek nie daarvoor nie! (Later het ek ook Irma Venter ontmoet en haar boeke ontdek, en ek hoop regtig dat meer lesers sal besef hoe blêrriewil goed sy is.)

2015 was ongetwyfeld een van die beste jare in my loopbaan as jong joernalis met drome om eendag boeke te skryf wat mense sal wil lees. Die angswekkende rit van Johannesburg na Pretoria in my skedonk sal sigself eendag ‘n goeie storie maak; Graffiti en Protea Boekwinkel in Hatfield het my tweede huis geword en daar het ek wonderlike mense ontmoet en ‘n blik agter die skerms gekry van hoe die boekbedryf nou eintlik werk.

In hierdie kort tydperk het ek aanskou hoe daar boeke in allerhande genres bekendgestel en – belangrik, want dis tog hoekom ons hier is – gekoop en gelees word. Eendag, wanneer ek oud en bewerig is, sal ek kan terugkyk en sê dat ek deel was van ‘n tydsgees waar goeie Afrikaanse boeke uitgegee en ontvang is.

Ek was daar toe Eunice Basson (Leiboom) en Riël Franzsen (Narokkong) hul debuutdigbundels bekendgestel het. Ek was daar toe Keina Swart haar bundel rubrieke en kortverhale, Die potlooddief se bruid en ander stories, met Martjie Bosman gedeel het. Ek het die voorreg gehad om Pat Stamatélos, asook Peet Venter, Martin Steyn en Henk Breytenbach te ontmoet, en ek was daar toe die deurwinterde joernalis Schalk Schoombie sy boek Boomkastele bekendgestel het.

Ek het ook die voorreg gehad om daar te wees toe Nicol Stassen sy projek van twaalf jaar Die Dorslandtrek: 1874 – 1881 gevier het, en toe Ena Jansen haar insiggewende studie na huiswerkers in stadstekste, Soos familie, bekendgestel het.

Om al die Afrikaanse skrywers wat ek die jaar ontmoet het op te noem sal heelwat plek opneem, maar gelukkig is ons mos nie ‘n koerant nie: Tinus Horn, Pieter Verwey, Irma Venter, Saskia Goldschmidt, Debbie Loots (en gespreksgenoot Niekie van den Berg!), André Krüger, Irma Joubert en Chanette Paul.

Natuurlik is die boekbedryf, soos enigeiets in ons samelewing, nie immuun teen kritiek nie. Myns insiens is daar te min bruin, swart en vroulike Afrikaanse skrywers wat die diversiteit van ons land in Afrikaanse literatuur verteenwoordig. Daar is te veel boeke wat ‘n nostalgiese blik werp op wit mense se triomfantelike verlede, maar swyg oor hoé die plase/rykdom/weelde verkryg is deur die onderdrukking van “die ander”. Jong mense is kwaad, soos Nathan Trantraal ons by die Open Book-fees herinner het en soos ons kon sien in die kwessies wat in 2015 die lig gesien het – #FeesMustFall, #RhodesMustFall, #OpenStellenbosch, noem op.

Die probleem is dat ons (Afrikaanssprekendes) te ordentlik en te bang is vir ‘n ope gesprek oor die dinge wat ons pla. Dit pla my, byvoorbeeld, dat as jy kyk na al die Afrikaanse boekbekendstellings wat ek die jaar bygewoon het, jy sal agterkom dat al die skrywers wit was. Dis ‘n probleem, veral as jy dit vergelyk met die Engels bekendstellings en literêre feeste wat ek die jaar bygewoon het. Dié was ook grotendeels wit, maar daar was ‘n groter bewustheid van die ongelykhede in die Suid-Afrikaanse literêre sisteem en ‘n groter poging om – al was dit by tye lomp en onbeholpe – ‘n beter weg vorentoe te baan. 2015 sal altyd onthou word as die jaar toe die “White Literary System” onder skoot was.

En ek was daar.

Ek het in een week in Maart vanjaar drie uiteenlopende geleenthede bygewoon – ‘n Engelse wetenskapfiksiebekendstelling in ‘n koffiewinkel in Illovo (tydens beurtkrag), ‘n Afrikaanse bekendstelling by die Voortrekkermonument in Pretoria en die bekendstelling van die Long Story SHORT-projek met Hlubi Mboya en Nozizwe Cyntha Jele by die Olievenhoutbosch Biblioteek in Tshwane. Ek het gejubel oor hoe cool my werk is – ek kry die geleentheid om in al die verskillende groepe van ons samelewing te beweeg en in te pas. Tog, kry enigeiemand anders ooit hierdie geleentheid, en wat was die punt as ek nie iets daaruit geleer het nie?

Een ervaring wat my altyd sal bybly is die bekendstelling van Run Racist Run: Journeys Into The Heart Of Racism deur Eusebius McKaiser, waar die skrywer onder meer gesels het oor sy tyd by Rhodes: “I thought I was self-aware but I walked around Rhodes campus with blinkers on … These spaces were always violent.” Sy beskrywing eggo myne; met oogklappe aan het ek die vier jaar omgekuier; en ek was beslis nie so braaf soos die #FeesMustFall-studente nie, al was ek self op NSFAS en het ek amper weens kostes nie my eerstejaar-eksamen geskryf nie. Die skrywer het die geleentheid afgesluit met die woorde: “We are required as writers to engage with these realities; you can’t write poetry about what’s in your garden.” Is dit dan nie ons plig om dit wat ons ongemaklik maak te belig en oop te praat of te skryf nie?

Dit pla my dat wanneer ons (jong mense) oor hierdie dinge probeer praat, ons pogings afgemaak word as “irrasioneel”, “te emosioneel” of – net nie dit nie – onpatrioties, onAfrikaans, of daardie haatlike woord, libtard. Dit pla my dat ek – wit, Afrikaans, 27-jarige vrou – in ‘n sekere kartondoos moet pas en nie my mond mag oopmaak wanneer die wit ooms praat nie. En dit pla my verskriklik dat, een, ek nie heeltemal uiting kan gee aan die dinge wat my pla nie, en twee, ek dadelik om verskoning wil vra aan al die individuele skrywers vir my uitlatings. Want dit gaan nie oor individue nie, dis die sisteem wat foutief is, en ek is onlosmaakbaar deel van daardie sisteem wat wit bevoorregtig laat herhaal.

Dis soos ‘n roof wat oor en oor gekrap word.

Dit was ‘n voorreg.

En ek was daar.


Stiletto's van staalSprakeloosGeheime van ’n Franse kookklasDie respektabele Meneer HartsliefLeiboomNarokkongDie potlooddief se bruid en ander storiesMy groot vet Griekse egskeidingSkuldigPlasentaBoomkasteleBoas Mei is verwardClint Eastwood van Wyk en die moordenaarsklokSkarlakenDie hormoonfabriekSplitDie DorslandtrekSoos familieImmer wesOfferlamKomplotKodenaam IcarusRun Racist Run



Foto’s met dank aan Graffiti Lynnwood Bridge en Protea Boekwinkel Hatfield

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Casting of Noma Dumezweni to Play Hermione Granger Causes Quite a Stir

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneHarry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsHarry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanHarry Potter and the Goblet of FireHarry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixHarry Potter And The Half-Blood PrinceHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The casting of a black actress in the role of Hermione Granger in the West End play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has caused quite a stir.

The play, which has been declared a sequel to JK Rowling’s seven book Harry Potter series, is set 19 years after the last scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. Based on an original new story by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play by Jack Thorne. It is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Noma Dumezweni, who was born in Swaziland to South African parents, has been cast as the middle-aged Hermione alongside Jamie Parker as Harry Potter and Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley.

Dumezweni’s casting has been met with mixed reactions from fans and critics of the Harry Potter franchise, despite being welcomed by Rowling herself. When asked on Twitter “how does she feel about black hermione” (sic), she responded:

Not everyone is buying it, though. Some fans of the series even tweeted an excerpt from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to ‘prove’ that Hermione was in fact written as a white character:

This is not the first time Hermione’s race has been a topic of discussion. Various people have hinted at the possibility that she might in fact be mixed race, with an article by Alanna Bennett that made the most poignant argument in favour of it:

Growing up, the discovery of Harry Potter was nothing short of a revelation.

It revolutionized the way I thought about the world, humanity, and myself.

And like many young girls at the time, I found myself relating quite a lot to the series’ most prominent female character.

Hermione wouldn’t and couldn’t deny her intellect; she was bossy, she had big bushy hair, and she had best friends who loved her even when she was a pain in the ass — and who frequently needed her to save their asses.

She was also a Muggle-born, navigating a world that looked down on her for the situation of her very biology and culture.
As a biracial girl growing up in a very white city, I found myself especially attaching to the allegory of Harry Potter’s blood politics.

The twittersphere could not resist this opportunity to come up with an exciting new hashtag – #BlackHarryPotter – which sees the recasting of the series’ main characters with black actors. Steve Harvey makes an appearance as The Sorting Hat after the Miss Universe debacle and, naturally, Morgan Freeman has been chosen as Dumbledore:


Read some interesting articles from across the on the casting of Dumezweni as a black Hermione Granger and the play in question:

To all the black Harry Potter fans out there, we finally got our black Hermione!

Yes, you read that right! Noma Dumezweni will be starring as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is a short story that takes place 19 years after the last Harry Potter book. Of course, when I heard this, I was beyond excited and I definitely was not the only one. It is about time that we have some awesome women of color in these fantasy books.

Is Hermione Granger black? This is the question prompted by the casting of a black actor, Noma Dumezweni, as Hogwarts’ cleverest pupil in an upcoming theatre production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The answer is twofold. First, why the hell not? Second, what a stupid question!

A better one to ask is whether Hermione – or indeed any fictional character – is necessarily white. The answer is no. The decision to cast Dumezweni, an Olivier-award winning actor currently performing at the Royal Court in a lead intended for Kim Cattrall, challenges our assumption that characters are white unless we’re told otherwise.

J.K. Rowling is more devoted to her fans than most authors: She can regularly be found on Twitter answering questions and weighing in on all things Potter. Frequently, she’s been asked about things that weren’t included in the books — like characters’ backstories, the sexual orientation of Hogwarts students, and the racial identities of supporting characters. Although the textual evidence suggests that the world of Hogwarts is predominantly white and straight, this gives Rowling the opportunity to effectively rewrite the Potter canon to emphasize diversity. Thus, she’s dispensed post-canonical reveals like: Hogwarts had LGBT students; Dumbledore himself was gay; and there were Jewish students at Hogwarts. At this point, no one would bat an eye if Rowling were to tweet, “I just saw Tangerine and it reminded me that there were trans students at Hogwarts!”

In the Harry Potter universe, wizards teleport through fireplaces, people hold conversations with paintings and characters fly on brooms to play a sport that you win by capturing a winged golden orb. Yet apparently it’s a stretch too far, for some fans reacting in social media, that a character in an adaptation be played by a black woman.

Growing up, I never thought that Hermione could be any colour other than black.

Ofcourse Hermione Granger’s black.

Forget being surprised that Noma Dumezweni, who will play Granger in the forthcoming play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is black – I still haven’t got over the fact that Emma Watson, who played Granger in the films, is white.

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Daneel Swart resenseer Jasper op hoërskool deur CF Beyers-Boshoff

Jasper op hoërskoolUitspraak: wortel

Daneel Swart, 11 jaar oud en in graad 5, het Jasper op hoërskool gelees en hier is sy mening:

Die soort boeke wat ek gewoonlik lees, is goed soos Dagboek van ’n Wimp, die Hoe om jou draak te tem-reeks en feiteboeke met prente in, soos die Hoezit-boeke. Ek hou ook baie van die tydskrif National Geographic Kids en boeke soos Guinness Book of Records.

Jasper op hoërskool is een van die dikste boeke sonder prente in wat ek al gelees het. Dit het my so ’n week geneem om die boek klaar te lees, maar toe ek eers oor die helfte was, het ek baie vinnig en lekker gelees.


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7-year-old Athandiwe Sikade is South Africa’s First Story Bosso Winner! – Watch Her Winning Entry

Alert! Seven-year-old Athandiwe Sikade from Chumisa Primary in Khayelitsha has been named the winner of Nal’ibali’s inaugural Story Bosso storytelling competition.

Sikade and her classmates were in for a great surprise today, when legendary storyteller and Story Bosso celebrity judge Sindiwe Magona herself arrived at the school to hand over Sikade’s winnings. Magona also treated Sikade and her class to a special storytelling of her own.

“In books and stories you will find all the dreams you will ever need. You will find all the truth the world can give and all the fun there is for each and every boy or girl, little, or big, or somewhere in between,” Magona said.

Sikade received a R5 000 cash prize, a R1 000 Ackermans voucher and a home library courtesy of Bargain Books, Exclusive Books and local publishers.

Nal’ibali launched the Story Bosso competition during the Literacy and Heritage Month in September this year in an attempt to identify undiscovered storytellers across the country. Over 2 000 participants submitted their audio or video clip submissions and the judges eventually managed to narrow them down to a shortlist of 14 of the country’s best storytellers.

The runner-ups are 12-year-old Atang Makgata, who was selected for her original story, “A Dream About the Enchanted Forest”, and Kerrin Kokot and Jayne Batzofin who entered their bilingual story, “The Lonely Frog”, in English and Sign Language.

“While we are delighted to have discovered so many promising storytellers, Story Bosso is ultimately about helping to root a culture of reading in South Africa,” Jade Jacobsohn, Managing Director of the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, said.

Watch Sikade’s video entry:

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Press release

Seven Year Old Crowned SA’s First “Story Bosso”
Monday, 30 November

Seven-year-old Athandiwe Sikade of Khayelitsha in Cape Town has been announced the winner of Nal’ibali’s storytelling competition, Story Bosso.

The competition, designed as a nationwide talent search to get people of all ages excited about reading and telling stories, invited members of the public to send in audio or video clips of themselves reading or telling their favourite stories.

Jade Jacobsohn, Managing Director of the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, said: “We collected more than 2 000 submissions from across the country. Stories came in from all age groups and in all languages. They ranged from those that made us laugh, to those that made us cry, but best of all, they showed us that a spirit of storytelling – oral, written and in many languages is alive and well, which we can use to inspire children to want to read and write.”

Competing against 14 other finalists for the title of South Africa’s first Story Bosso, Sikade was chosen for her spirited storytelling style and skill relative to her young age. Her entry was an animated retelling of uMboleki, a humorous children’s story with a deeper message about how to behave appropriately in society.

Sikade entered the competition at her school, Chumisa Primary, where Nal’ibali hosted one of 30 Story Bosso pop-up auditions held to source stories directly from the campaign’s network of reading clubs and communities across the country. Partners such as Times Media, National Book Week, Jozi Book Fair, Soweto Theatre, Vodacom Teacher Centres, Mad About Art and Africa Unite also held auditions which served as an opportunity for Nal’ibali to provide caregivers and children across the country with books and literacy materials in their home languages. Over 13 000 books and 26 500 story cards in a range of South African languages were distributed over the duration of the competition.

“While we are delighted to have discovered so many promising storytellers, Story Bosso is ultimately about helping to root a culture of reading in South Africa,” Jacobsohn explained. “Sharing stories builds children’s knowledge, concepts, language ability and imagination. So, growing the storytelling and reading habit at home, is a perfect way to help children become motivated and curious learners with greater capacity to succeed at school.”

To announce her win, Sikade received a surprise visit from renowned local author and Story Bosso celebrity judge, Sindiwe Magona, who treated Sikade and her class to a special storytelling of her own. Magona addressed the class: “In books and stories you will find all the dreams you will ever need. You will find all the truth the world can give and all the fun there is for each and every boy or girl, little, or big, or somewhere in between!”

Sikade is joined by two runners-up: 12-year-old Atang Makgata, who was selected for her original story, “A Dream About the Enchanted Forest”, and Kerrin Kokot and Jayne Batzofin who entered their bilingual story, “The Lonely Frog”, in English and Sign Language.

The finalists will each be receiving cash prizes, Ackermans vouchers as well as a home library with books courtesy of Exclusive Books, Bargain Books, Cambridge University Press, Jacana Media and the Save Our Seas Foundation.

For more information about the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign as well as reading tips and stories in a range of South African languages, visit, or find them on Facebook and Twitter. Nal’ibali is driven by PRAESA, 2015 laureate of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial award for children’s literature and reading promotion.

Here are the books of the authors who were on the judging panel:

Flying Above the SkyChasing The Tails of My Father’s CattleBecomingSouth Africa: A Long Walk to a Free RideEyebags & DimplesOliver’s Outline


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Francois Verster resenseer Lafras Cuyper Kanonnier deur Karl Kielblock

Lafras Cuyper KanonnierUitspraak: wortel

En as jy nie meer so jonk in jare is nie, maar jonk in gees, beveel ek steeds hierdie boek aan. Dit bied meer as blote nostalgiewaarde en dit voel vir my reg dat Karl Kielblock nog nie vergeet is nie. Mag hy deur sy karakters voortleef.


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