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Alert! The programme for this year’s @OpenBookFest has been revealed! Click here to see it:

Video: Rat Roads-skrywer Jacques Pauw: "Die vrot in ons tronke lê geweldig diep"

Rat RoadsDances With DevilsJacques Pauw, ondersoekende joernalis en skrywer van onder meer Rat Roads en Dances With Devils: A journalist’s search for truth, het met Dagbreek TV op kykNET gesels oor die stand van korrupsie in Suid-Afrika se tronke.

Pauw het vertel dat die Wits Justice Project in Oktober 2013 gevind het dat die Mangaung tronk in die Vrystaat anti-psigotiese dwelms en skokterapie gebruik het om gevangenes in toom te hou.

Pauw het ook na ’n voorval verwys waartydens twee lede van die Waterkloof-vier in hul tronksel alkohol gedrink het, dagga gerook het en hulself met ’n selfoon afgeneem het.

“Die vrot in ons tronke lê geweldig diep,” maan Pauw. “As korrektiewe dienste van korrupte bewaarders ontslae moet raak gaan daar niemand wees om die skurke op te pas nie.”

Kyk na die video:

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Mbulungeni Madiba calls for the Intellectualisation of African Languages at the Launch of Interviews with Neville Alexander

Mbulungeni Madiba, Karen Press and Lungisile Ntsebeza

Interviews with Neville AlexanderMbulungeni Madiba, co-ordinator of the Multilingualism Education Project (MEP) and chairperson of the Pan South African Language Board, spoke recently at the launch of Interviews with Neville Alexander: The Power of Languages Against the Language of Power about the intellectualisation of indigenous African languages.

Alexander, a revolutionary and struggle hero, passed away in 2012, at the age of 75, after a long battle with cancer, but his memory was very much alive at the launch of the book.

Read Liesl Jobson’s tweets from the event, and Madiba’s thoughts after the jump:

Neville Alexander’s Perspectives and Paradigms on Language and Education by Mbulungeni Madiba

Dr Neville Alexander was one of South Africa’s leading and independent scholars with a critical voice. He was someone with a razor-sharp mind that was able to analyse and clarify issues in an extraordinary way. He always wanted people to engage and debate his perspectives and paradigms. On the back cover of one of his latest books, he has the following to say:

“My sincere wish is that readers will consider these thoughts, take a step back and try to get a perspective on what has actually been happening since 1990, when the new South Africa began. Even more optimistically, I hope that such a rethink will inspire the reader to want to find a point of engagement …”

Alexander’ scholarly work is multifaceted and one cannot do justice to try to give a full reflection of all his contributions in just 30 minutes. I will therefore only focus on his contribution to multilingualism and African languages, and more specifically his perspectives and paradigms on these two issues.

Alexander was highly committed and passionate about multilingualism and the development of African languages. His recently published book was an effort to recap on some of the core issues and concerns that he dealt with in his life as a political activist and a scholar. It is important to note that the issue of multilingualism, African languages and the national question runs through the book like a golden thread. Alexander’s book raises some serious questions and concerns about our state of education which he describes as a ‘crisis’ and about the role that language planning can play in this regard:

Some critical questions

1. How can we, through language planning and other interventions, initiate or reinforce changes in the patterns of development and in the dominant social relations?

2. What factors determine, or at least influence, changes in individuals’ attitudes and behaviour?

3. How do we assist in the decolonisation of the mind of the billions of people who are held in thrall by the demonstrable “superiority” of the global languages as propagated and prioritised by their own ruling groups and strata?

4. How can we make the move from the existing situation where the former colonial languages dominate to one where the indigenous languages of Africa become dominant?

Although all these questions are relevant for our engagement with the book, I will only focus on the last question. This question is very pertinent as not much progress has been made on the implementation of language policy for schools and higher education in the last 20 years. As Alexander rightly pointed out, while we have developed good language in education policies, there are no implementation plans to give effect to these policies.

In fact, the existing language-in-education policies, language curricula and language practices in schools and universities show government’s ambivalence towards the use of indigenous African languages in education. While the policy promotes additive bilingualism/multilingualism, that is the maintenance of home language and the learning of at least one additional language, it is not being implemented as many schools have no language policies, and those schools or institutions that have developed language policies, they have no implementation plans.

Alexander’s recent book emphasises his firm belief in additive mother-tongue based bilingual education and the role of translation in the intellectualisation of indigenous African languages.

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Join Malaika wa Azania, Kgalema Motlanthe and Tinyiko Maluleke for a Discussion Around Memoirs of a Born Free

Invitation to the discussion around Memoirs of a Born Free

Memoirs of a Born Free: Reflections on the Rainbow NationThe UJ Deputy Vice Chancellor: Internationalisation, Advancement and Student Affairs Tinyiko Maluleke in partnership with the UJ Library invite you to meet Malaika wa Azania, author of Memoirs of a Born Free: Reflections on the Rainbow Nation.

The event is to be held at UJ this afternoon, at 5pm, with former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe on the panel, and Professor Maluleke as facilitator.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 11 September 2014
  • Time: 4:30 PM for 5:00 PM
  • Venue: University of Johannesburg
    Auditorium (6th floor)
    APK Campus Library
    Corner of Kingsway Avenue and University Road
    Auckland Park | Map
  • Panelist: Kgalema Motlanthe
  • Facilitator: Tinyiko Maluleke
  • RSVP: Theodorah Modise,, 011 559 2264

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Caroline Smart Reviews Good Morning, Mr Mandela by Zelda la Grange

Good Morning, Mr MandelaVerdict: carrot

In her childhood years, Zelda la Grange would play opposite her grandmother’s home on the lawns in front of the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Coming from a staunch Afrikaans family and community which supported the rules of segregation, she would have been astonished to be told that she would later become the highly valued and efficient support of the first black president of South Africa.

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South African Writers Take a Stand Against Surveillance in Support of Edward Snowden

Justin Fox, Margie Orford & Adré Marshall

Monday, 8 September, was International Literacy Day. It was also the day that writers, journalists, readers and public intellectuals around the world responded to the call issued by internationales literaturfestival berlin (ilb) to take a stand against surveillance in support of Edward Snowden.

In Cape Town’s AVA Gallery, the Right2Know Campaign hosted an event where a star-studded line-up of writers and activists met. These included Njabulo Ndebele, Christi Van der Westhuizen, Zackie Achmat, Zapiro, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Roberta Nation, Masello Motana, Gabrielle Lubowski, Mandla Mbothwe, Kelsey Wiens and Vinayak Bhardwa.

The Snowden FilesFalls the ShadowNo Place to HideAt Kalk Bay Books, under the auspices of SA Pen, Margie Orford welcomed a gathering of concerned South Africans who had come to hear writers Rustum Kozain, Liesl Jobson, Ken Barris, Karina Szczurek, Justin Fox, Dawn Garisch, Diane Awerbuck, Brent Meersman and Andrew Brown. The readings taking place at both events, supplied by the ilb, were sourced from interviews with Edward Snowden and from the book by Glenn Greenwald, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State. They included his manifesto and related comments.

If literacy skills developed from a basic to advanced level throughout life are – as the UNESCO website states – “part of broader competencies required for critical thinking, the sense of responsibility, participatory governance, sustainable consumption and lifestyles …” then how fitting to be linking around the world to consider Snowden’s revelations on such a day.

Orford, executive president of SA Pen, said the global events honouring Snowden’s immense courage in revealing the “Orwellian” levels of surveillance had irrevocably changed his life. “Julian Assange alerted people to some of the dangers via his Wikileaks exposure, but Edward Snowden showed the extent of surveillance in the USA, as well as surveillance of people everywhere. From that, there’s been revelations of what they’re looking at and our collaboration, often unwittingly and unknowingly in our internet use and how we communicate,” she said.

Orford reflected on how Snowden’s revelations underline the malevolence of a watching state. “He has made us reconsider the notion that just because you’ve done nothing wrong it’s acceptable to be watched. This is absolutely false. A watching eye only sees that you’re good at hiding. Always, you’re hiding something more, something better. You must be guilty, ultimately, if you’re being watched.”

SA Pen stands for privacy and freedom of expression. Orford said, “It’s impossible to think and express yourself freely if you imagine that every single communication and every movement you make is being watched. Referring to the chilling revelations that emerged from the Leveson Enquiry and , she mentioned Paul McMullan’s “Privacy is for paedos” statement that implied that keeping secrets is inherently bad.

“That is not true. That area of privacy is where each of us exists as an individual and as a self. It’s politically important, but creatively it’s extremely important too,” she said. She cited the Pen American Centre’s Report on the damage done to creativity by surveillance: Chilling Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives Writers to Self-Censor. Orford acknowledged the enormous sacrifice that Snowden has made to protect us from not knowing about “Big Brother”: “We have to take that responsibility on.”

Journalist Alexandra Dodd, who organised the R2K event, spoke of the energy each reader brought to the text, enabling all present to inhabit Snowden’s ideas and words. “We could almost feel his spirit in the room,” she said, surprised by the intimate sense of Snowden’s presence in attendance. “That, for me, was one of the most thrilling aspects of the night. On the page and screen, his writing comes across as quite dry, restrained and strictly factual (by necessity, of course, considering the subject matter with which he is dealing), but somehow the readers seemed to key into a tangible sense of the man, the person – Edward Snowden – that came through between his words and between the lines.”

She remarked on the tangible sense of community and connectedness that she perceived as “a crucial antidote to the quite terrifying import of what Snowden has revealed to be true about the breadth and venality of technocratic state surveillance in our world today.”

Kelsey Wiens (@bella_velo) and Right2Know (@r2kcampaign) tweeted from the AVA Gallery using the hashtag #SnowdenReading, while Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) and Karina M Szczurek (@KarinaMSzczurek) tweeted from Kalk Bay Books using the hashtag #WorldWideReading:

Facebook gallery

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Video: Sam Motsuenyane Speaks About the African Bank and its Problems, Past and Present

A Testament of HopeFrancis Herd of the SABC spoke with Sam Motsuenyane, the founding chair of African Bank and author of the autobiographical A Testament of Hope, about his opinion on the possibility of the bank sustaining itself: he thinks it can and should be revived.

Motsuenyane says he is uncomfortable with the downgrading of banks, and says that the decision to do so has been repudiated. Although he says this is to be expected in our current economic climate, he is nonetheless disappointed by the turn of events. He speaks about the establishment of the African Bank and what went into establishing it. The negative mindset of many people was one of the biggest obstacles they had to overcome.

Watch the video:
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