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Listen to five short stories by Nadine Gordimer (including Loot read by the author) via @openculture: fb.me/6CqAHMz7y

Thembinkosi Goniwe on the Black Artists of Rorke's Drift who are Yet to be Celebrated

SpaceThembinkosi Goniwe, editor of Space: Currencies in Contemporary African Art, is currently curating an exhibition of work by artists who studied at the renowned Evangelical Lutheran Church Art and Craft Centre, also know as Rorke’s Drift.

The works come from the Jumuna family’s private collection, with a view to showcasing the artists from that remarkable space, where black artists were afforded sanctuary during a time when their artistic expression was limited. The exhibition is entitled “Impressions of Rorke’s Drift” and will be at the Iziko South African National Gallery (ISANG) until 2 November 2014.

“The importance of print rests on its multiplicity: an accessible creative form for art and artists, economic viability and affordability, and reproducibility for circulation to a wider audience,” Goniwe says.

“Significantly too, print has a provocative expression when treated imaginatively and skilfully; and these are some of the qualities most evident in the works of black artists from Rorke’s Drift. In fact, the work produced through the Rorke’s Drift Art and Craft Centre is testimony to the legacy made possible by artistic works of black South African artists – most of whom are yet to be recognised, celebrated and rewarded, not to mention researched and taught in our educational syllabi from primary to secondary to tertiary level.”

For more information on the Centre see www.centre-rorkesdrift.com.

Press release:

Print in the spotlight: Impressions of Rorke’s Drift
15 July 2014

Iziko Museums of South Africa will host an exhibition entitled: Impressions of Rorke’s Drift – The Jumuna Collection at the Iziko South African National Gallery (ISANG) from 23 July until 2 November 2014.

This exhibition has been made possible by sponsorship from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and is curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe. The exhibition includes over 100 works (comprising mainly prints) from 17 artists, who studied at the renowned Evangelical Lutheran Church Art and Craft Centre (known as Rorke’s Drift) in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In conversation with those of the Jumuna Collection are artworks drawn from ISANG’s Permanent Collection.

The centre operated for a mere 20 years (1962—1982), but had a major impact on South African contemporary art. Some of the country’s most influential artists emerged from Rorke’s Drift, including Sam Nhlengethwa, Pat Mautloa, John Muafangejo, Kay Hassan, Dumisani Mabaso, Bongiwe Dhlomo, Azaria Mbatha, Paul Sibisi, Lionel Davis and Sandile Zulu, among others. No complete archive of the phenomenal output of the centre’s artists exists outside of this collection, making it invaluable to the art world.

The Jumuna family have been collecting artworks virtually since the start of the centre in 1962. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the Jumuna family’s private collection. Impressions of Rorke’s Drift offers the chance to see a substantial body of work characterising the Rorke’s Drift legacy, with a view to stimulating discussion on the impact and importance that printing has had on South African art.

“As we celebrate 20 years of democracy, showcasing our artistic and cultural heritage is an important narrative to share. Museums play a key role in development through education and democratisation, while also serving as witnesses of the past; and are guardians of humanity’s treasures for future generations of not only this country, but the world. South Africans from all walks of life have a responsibility to respect and acknowledge the past, celebrate the present and build the future together. It is an honour for Iziko Museums of South Africa to host this exhibition at the Iziko South African National Gallery,” says Rooksana Omar, CEO, Iziko.

ISANG showed an early interest in the Rorke’s Drift Art and Craft Centre, with works by several Rorke’s Drift artists entering the Permanent Collection in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Subsequent acquisitions and bequests have contributed to what is today a significant collection of prints by artists associated with the centre. The curatorial selection here celebrates the work of four key artists: Azaria Mbatha, Eric Mbatha, Dan Rakgoathe and Cyprian Shilakoe.

“The importance of print rests on its multiplicity: an accessible creative form for art and artists, economic viability and affordability, and reproducibility for circulation to a wider audience. Significantly too, print has a provocative expression when treated imaginatively and skilfully; and these are some of the qualities most evident in the works of black artists from Rorke’s Drift. In fact, the work produced through the Rorke’s Drift Art and Craft Centre is testimony to the legacy made possible by artistic works of black South African artists – most of whom are yet to be recognised, celebrated and rewarded, not to mention researched and taught in our educational syllabi from primary to secondary to tertiary level,” says curator, Thembinkosi Goniwe.

The collection arrives in Cape Town off the back of successful showings at the Durban Art Gallery, Museum Africa in Johannesburg, and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Impressions of Rorke’s Drift – The Jumuna Collection is on show at Iziko South African National Gallery, Government Avenue, Company’s Garden, Cape Town from 23 July – 2 November 2014. The museum is open daily from 10h00 to 17h00. For more information see www.iziko.org.za or www.kizo.co.za.

For more information on the Centre see www.centre-rorkesdrift.com.

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Podcast: Greg Mills Believes Leadership is Key to Enabling Economies to Recover from Conflict

Why States RecoverGreg Mills chatted to Ray White on Talk Radio 702 about his new book, Why States Recover: Changing Walking Societies into Winning Nations – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

Mills says leadership is crucial to helping economies recover from war and conflict, and quotes former president Thabo Mbeki, who said: “Conflict is a result of bad leadership.”

“The first lesson is you have to get the politics right,” Mills says. “And then you have to get policy right and you’ve got to have local ownership of the problem as well as the solution. And those three ingredients plus local level securities and security of investment – that’s the basic formula. But absolutely key in all of this is leadership.”

Listen to the podcast:

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Kingsley Holgate Shares Videos and Photos from The Lake Turkana Cultural Festival

Africa: In the Footsteps of the Great ExplorersKingsley Holgate, adventurer and author of Africa: In the Footsteps of the Great Explorers, recently attended The Lake Turkana Cultural Festival in northern Kenya with the rest of the Goodbye Malaria Expedition team.

The annual festival brings together 14 Kenyan communities and features their unique performances and cultural traditions. Watch these two videos of Holgate at the festival and see photographs from the event shared by the Kingsley Holgate Foundation on Facebook:

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Karen Paolillo Describes the Rescue of Two Trapped Leopard Cubs at Turgwe Hippo Trust

A Hippo Love StoryFor the last two decades Karen Paolillo and her husband, Jean-Roger, have been living amongst the wild hippos they have fought to save at the Turgwe Hippo Trust. Paolillo has written about their journey to save these animals in A Hippo Love Story, but she recently shared a story with Care2 about the rescue of a different kind of animal at Turgwe: two leopard cubs that were trapped in their water tank.

Paolillo explains that both she and her husband had malaria at the time and when the man who came to start the water pump called them to say there was a leopard in the tank, only Jean-Roger was strong enough to go. At the tank he realised there was a mother leopard nearby in the bushes and two cubs in the large brick tank. Using the camera that she had insisted he take with him, he managed to take some great photos of the cubs as he helped them out of the tank using a tree they cut down.

Read Paolillo’s story, including how she forgot to put film in the camera before handing it to him …

The downside of living in Africa is not the supposed dangers of animals being red in tooth and claws but instead the little guy that can really bring you down. In this case the malaria mosquito. Normally both Jean-Roger and I get malaria at the same time, the mosquito having made sure it bites both of us! Once, Jean-Roger was nearly recovered but not up to heavy physical work, and I was still in that twilight zone, having to frequently return to a prone position. DaiDai, an African man, had come to start the pump installed in the Turgwe River. This pump used to pump water up a four hundred foot rocky hill into a large brick tank. Water then fed by gravity through another pipe line into man-made pans built for the wild animals.

That morning DaiDai told Jean: “Mr. Paolillo, there is a leopard in the tank and it’s making too much noise!” Well, to say Jean was flummoxed was an understatement, as at that moment DaiDai was pumping. So the eight feet deep tank was filling up and would drown the leopard. He told him to immediately turn it off.

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Nadine Gordimer Tributes: Achebe Family, Gillian Slovo, JM Coetzee Share Their Thoughts and Memories

The family of Chinua Achebe, Gillian Slovo, JM Coetzee remember Nadine Gordimer, who passed away on Sunday, July 13, aged 90.

Lying DaysNone to Accompany MeLife TimesTelling TimesNo Time Like the PresentA Guest of HonourJuly\'s PeopleA World of Strangers

Achebe, who died in March last year, won the Man Booker International Prize in honour of his literary career in 2007. Gordimer was on the judging panel for the prize at the time, calling Achebe “the father of modern African literature” and “integral to world literature”. In turn, a statement from the Chinua Achebe Family and Estate now hails Gordimer’s “tough fighting spirit”, as well as her elegance, calling her a “great supporter of African arts and letters”.

The Achebe family joins the world in mourning the passing of Nadine Gordimer. Precious friend, great supporter of African arts and letters, an elegant soul; we have lost one of Africa’s truly important writers and treasured spokespersons. Nadine will be missed, though we can rejoice that her tough, fighting spirit is at peace, and that her powerful legacy will grow from strength to strength. – Professor Christie Chinwe Achebe for the Chinua Achebe Family and Estate

Meanwhile, in a lengthy piece for The Guardian, which also features tributes from Justin Cartwright and Elizabeth Lowry, Slovo recalls Gordimer’s passion and commitment to fighting injustice, but adds that on meeting the Nobel Laureate she did not expect her to be “so funny”:

The first time I met Nadine Gordimer as an adult was after she won the Nobel prize for literature in 1991. I had heard of her ferocious reaction when anyone dared change a word, or even a comma, of her work, so I expected her to have self-confidence and a sharp tongue. But it had never occurred to me that she would be so funny.

Of the tributes featured on The Guardian Coetzee’s is the shortest by some distance, but stresses Gordimer’s firm role in recording South Africa among the work of the “great realist novelists”:

As a writer and as a human being, Nadine Gordimer responded with exemplary courage and creative energy to the great challenge of her times, the system of apartheid unjustly and heartlessly imposed on the South African people. Looking to the great realist novelists of the 19th century as models, she produced a body of work in which the South Africa of the late 20th century is indelibly recorded for all time.

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Image courtesy of Victor Dlamini

Video: Paul Morris Discusses Back to Angola and Shares Footage of His Return Trip

Back to AngolaPaul Morris went to Angola in 1987 as a reluctantly conscripted soldier, and two years ago he returned to the country to replace the war map of the country in his head with one of peace, writing about these two experiences in Back to Angola.

In this video, shared by Random House Struik, Morris speaks about the intense emotions that rose to the surface while cycling through Angola: “It was like some energy was trapped, which I needed to do something with and this very physical journey, which had this very strong parallel inner journey running alongside it, that really seems to have finished it for me.”

Watch the video:

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