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

Join Tshidi Gule for the Launch of Rough Diamond at Poppy's Cafe in Johannesburg

Rough Diamond invite

Rough Diamond: Your First-Class Ticket to the World of MentorshipJacana and Poppy’s Café would like to invite you to the launch of Rough Diamond: Your First-Class Ticket to the World of Mentorship by Matshidiso Gule.

Rough Diamond is an account of Gule’s journey as Basetsana Kumalo’s mentee and her experience of the incredible value of mentorship. This book was first launched at Mandela Square last month in a conversation with Basetsana Kumalo.

This event will be held at Poppy’s Café at 5:30 for 6 PM on Thursday, 30 April.

Don’t miss out!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 30 April 2015
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6 PM
  • Venue: Poppy’s Café
    Corner of 7th Street and 2nd Avenue
    Melville | Map
  • RSVP:, 011 628 3200

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Taking Cuba off the Terror List: Assata Shakur Could Play Key Role

AssataAccording to The Independent, Assata Shakur could be at the centre of planned discussions between the United States and Cuba.

US President Barack Obama has stated that Cuba has agreed to resolve the cases of several US fugitives living in that country. One such fugitive is Shakur, who was convicted of murder in 1973 and received political asylum in Cuba in 1984.

Shakur is a former member of the Black Panther Party, and was the first woman to make the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list.

Recently she wrote an open letter to students at the University of Cape Town over the “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign, instructing them to “pull down the statue”.

Obama plans to remove Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, and part of that process would involve Cuba resolving and extraditing American fugitives and suspects.

The Independent reports that Obama’s “move to remove Cuba from the terror list has been met with some opposition over the fugitives”.

“Cuba has agreed to enter into a law enforcement dialogue with the United States that will include discussions with the aim of resolving outstanding fugitive cases,” Mr Obama wrote, according to the Associated Press.

“We believe that the strong US interest in the return of these fugitives will be best served by entering into this dialogue with Cuba.”

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Stephen Clingman Presents Birthmark: A Profound Reflection on Vision and Identity

BirthmarkJacana is pleased to unveil Birthmark, a memoir by Stephen Clingman:

When Stephen Clingman was two, he underwent an operation to remove a birthmark under his right eye. The operation failed, and the birthmark returned, but in somewhat altered form.

In this captivating and beguiling memoir, Clingman takes the fact of that mark – its appearance, disappearance and return – as a guiding motif of memory. This is how we remember the worlds we are born into, how they become a set of images in the mind, surfacing and resurfacing across time and space. South Africa under apartheid was itself governed by the markings of birth – the accidents of colour, race and skin. But what were the effects on the mind?

“It was nothing major in the history of the world. It did not compare with what others were suffering all around me in my own country because of the markings of their skin. But in this one body, in this one mind, things had begun to shift, at first imperceptibly, later more noticeably. My new lifetime had begun, my second birth with and without my birthmark, a strange dynamic of presence and absence, of being there and not.”

Here a further motif comes into play, for in the operation Stephen’s vision was affected, and his eyes came to see differently from one another: divided vision in a divided world. How, in these circumstances, can we come to a deeper kind of vision, how can we achieve wholeness, acceptance, find our place in the midst of turmoil and change?

In an enchanting and cumulative narrative set on three continents, Clingman’s story is personal, painful, comic, and ultimately uplifting: a book not so much of coming of age, but the coming of perspective.

Birthmark is a profound reflection on vision and identity. From the minutely observed details of a Johannesburg childhood, through the dark comedy of military service, to the challenges of making a new life as an immigrant scholar, Clingman examines his own perspectives and their origins. How did I come to see this way? How does this way of seeing shape the person I am? Can it be changed? To answer such difficult questions, he must go beneath the shimmering surface to find deeper patterns in his mind and body, and reveal the ‘underlying grammar of things’. The result is a thoughtful, unconventional memoir that will change the reader’s perspective too.
– Ivan Vladislavić

About the author

Stephen Clingman grew up in Johannesburg, where he went to school and attended Wits University. After graduating with a degree in English literature, he won a scholarship to Oxford where he completed a doctorate on the writings of Nadine Gordimer. He has written widely on South African and transnational literature. He is the author of an acclaimed biography of Bram Fischer, which won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award, South Africa’s premier prize for non-fiction. He now lives in Amherst in the United States, where he is professor of English at the University of Massachusetts and directs the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute.

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"We Went Through Difficulties": Mosibudi Mangena Launches Triumphs and Heartaches at The Book Lounge

Mosibudi Mangena

There were many guests at The Book Lounge recently for the powerful and touching launch of Triumphs and Heartaches: A Courageous Journey by South African Patriots by Mosibudi Mangena.

Mervyn Sloman, owner of The Book Lounge, described the book as “incredibly important and particularly prescient, with regard to what is happening in the country currently”. He highlighted the breadth of Mangena’s experience in exile and his involvement in the discussions and debates that had been part of the Black Consciousness movement, the developments in the armed struggle and the enormously difficult decisions that were made in the transition to democracy. “Some of the legacies of compromise that were made during that time are what we are still dealing with today,” Sloman said.

Mosibudi Mangena and Ernest MessinaTriumphs and HeartachesMangena was joined in conversation by Ernest Messina, a local businessman and educationist. Messina noted the presence of Christine Qunta and other authors in the audience. He commented on the significant act of writing the story of a life that has been lived, in particular a life that has had the contour of Mangena’s.

Mangena is the honorary President of the Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO) and served as the Minister of Science and Technology under President Thabo Mbeki. He said writing the book had given him an opportunity to pay tribute to the many remarkable comrades and colleagues he had encountered along the way. “We went through difficulties and times of celebration, like the hosting of the FIFA World Cup. We felt pride at the way the event was hosted, yet at the same time issues of poverty and crime continue to expand. The education system and the criminal justice system are not working properly,” he said.

He hopes the book will spark a debate about how South Africa can get out of the depressing situation it currently faces. “We must not lose sight of the achievements that have made us great in the past. We were able to overcome our difficulties and come to a better place. That can be done again,” he said. “Are we going to march on the spot for centuries?” he asked. “We have been through slavery, colonisation, oppression. These things made us what we are. They also tell us where we should not go.”

Messina said it was significant that the final chapter is titled “The Door of No Return”, and comes out of Mangena’s visit to Gorée Island and the museum and memorial to the Atlantic slave trade. Another powerful chapter was the one in which the author visits the Antarctic, where he reflects on how small and fragile humanity is and how easily and quickly one can be snuffed out.

“Nature is powerful. Humans are nothing. It’s you and your God there. To experience human solidarity there, as people depend entirely on each other for their survival. I saw something similar to that solidarity on Robben Island, how people look after each other, but by comparison, that was nothing,” he said. “Solidarity is not only among our own South African scientists and support staff, but among the Germans, Norwegians and internationally. Nationality disappears. You are all human beings just looking after each other under those circumstances.”

Mangena singled out Kobus Meiring, who was present in the audience, as the scientific innovator who had led the development of the Joule, the South African electric car. He rued the day that the decision was taken to cease production on this, speaking in the strongest terms about this mistaken route the country’s leadership had taken.

Mangena engaged in a lively discussion with the audience. They queued afterwards for their books to be signed, sharing memories of times both distant and recent with the greatly admired man.

* * * * * * * *

Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted from the launch using #livebooks:


Facebook gallery

Posted by Pan Macmillan South Africa on Wednesday, 22 April 2015


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Waar was Eugene de Kock al die tyd?

Eugene de KockEugene de KockEugene de Kock was die afgelope tyd gereeld in die nuus weens sy misterieuse paroolomstandighede.

Sy prokureur, Julian Knight, het verlede maand vertel dat De Kock bloot verdwyn het uit die tronk uit.

Daar was heelwat verwarring rondom De Kock se plasing nadat hy uit die tronk vrygelaat is. Regter Ronél Tolmay het verlede week beveel dat De Kock se prokureur toegang tot hom moet verkry.

Knight het met Netwerk24 gesels oor die onregmatighede in De Kock se paroolvoorwaardes:

Volgens ‘n amptenaar by die hof is die saak nou toegewys aan ‘n ander regter. ‘n Datum vir die aanhoor van die saak oor De Kock se paroolvoorwaardes sal eers volgende week vasgestel word.

Volgens Knight kan De Kock nie aangaan met sy lewe of gaan waar hy wil nie, want hy is steeds onder die bewaking van intelligensiedienste. Die rede hiervoor is glo vir sy eie beskerming teen ’n “regse komplot”. Hy word by ’n geheime plek “aangehou”.

De Kock het verlede naweek aan Netwerk24 vertel dat hy die afgelope paar maande na sy vrylating in ‘n “hellhole” aangehou is.

Herman Scholtz berig dat ‘n familielid wat De Kock besoek het die huis as ‘n tronk beskryf het: “Dis om eerlik te wees ’n morsige huis met tronktralies voor al die vensters en ’n veiligheidshek.”

Lees die artikel vir meer oor De Kock se plek van aanhouding:

Die bisarre omstandighede rondom dié voormalige Vlakplaas-bevelvoerder se vrylating uit die tronk het die afgelope week nóg kinkels gekry.

Julian Knight, sy prokureur, onthul in hofstukke wat eergister voor die hooggeregshof in Pretoria ge­dien het dat De Kock aan die einde van Maart selfs na KwaZulu-Natal geneem is en dáár aangehou is – vermoedelik deur agente van die Staatsveiligheidsagentskap.

Scholtz het ook verslag gelewer oor Anemari Jansen se boek oor De Kock se lewe wat pas verskyn het. Hy vertel dat dit duidelik is dat daar tydens die skryf van Eugene de Kock: Sluipmoordenaar van die staat ‘n hegte vriendskap tussen haar en De Kock onstaan het.

In Jansen se boek, wat ook in Engels beskikbaar as Eugene de Kock: Assassin for the State, vertel sy dat Piet Croucamp haar aan De Kock voorgestel het en dat sy na die vierde ontmoeting besluit het om hom beter te leer ken.

Lees die artikel:

Dis duidelik dat De Kock se fisieke teenwoordigheid haar vroeg reeds oorrompel het: Hy is ’n “lang frisgeboude man met ’n regop houding”. Ingebrand in haar geheue, ná haar eerste ontmoeting, is die “prentjie van sy linkermondhoek wat telkens bitter aftrek wanneer hy oor sekere dinge praat”.

Teen die vierde besoek het sy besluit sy wil hom “beter leer ken”. Vir die volgende drie jaar ry sy dus elke tweede Sondag na die Kgosi Mampuru-gevangenis vir besoektyd.

Lees ook:



Join Hugh Macmillan for the Launch of A Jacana Pocket Biography: Chris Hani in Braamfontein

A Jacana Pocket Biography: Chris Hani

A Jacana Pocket Biography: Chris HaniThe Chris Hani Institute and the Wits History Workshop invite you to the launch of A Jacana Pocket Biography: Chris Hani by Hugh Macmillan.

The author will participate in a panel discussion at The Chris Hani Institute on Thursday, 23 April, at 4:30 for 5 PM.

Come and participate in the conversation between Macmillan and his fellow panelists Mavuso Msimang and Arianna Lissoni.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 23 April 2015
  • Time: 4:30 for 5 PM
  • Venue: The Chris Hani Institute
    COSATU House
    2nd Floor
    Dora Tamana Room
    110 Jorrisen and Simmonds Street
    Braamfontein | Map
  • Panelists: Mavuso Msimang and Arianna Lissoni
  • RSVP: Karin Pampallis,

Book Details