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

Gripping Excerpt from Sam and Me and the Hard Pear Tree by Jami Yeats-Kastner

Sam and Me and the Hard Pear TreeSam and Me and the Hard Pear Tree, Jami Yeats-Kastner’s gripping true story, is both a personal account of a mother’s ultimate loss and a universal message of growth and hope. It is centred on the loss of their young son, Sam, and the deeply spiritual path that this sets her on.

Yeats-Kastner writes in the introduction: “This book is about so much more than a tree, obvioulsy. It’s aobut how my son Sam sent me a message from the other side, using all his power to make the message strong enough to be captured in this physical world. And that is what finally gave me the courage to share it.”

Start reading the book by flipping through the first part of Sam and Me and the Hard Pear Tree with this extract shared by Jacana Media:

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Podcast: Zelda la Grange Chats to Ryan O'Connor about Her Book and Her Fond Memories of Madiba

Good Morning, Mr MandelaGoeiemore, Mnr. MandelaZelda la Grange, the author of Good Morning, Mr Mandela, which is also available in Afrikaans as Goeiemore, Mnr. Mandela, chatted to Ryan O’Connor on Kfm about the reception of her book and her memories of Madiba.

O’Connor says that this is a “must-buy book”. Her book has been phenomenally well received both in South Africa and overseas.

La Grange says she is somewhat surprised that people find her story so fascinating, because to her it is just her life. This book is a frank account of her personal journey. She says that she did not have tremendous skill and education when she began working as Mandela’s PA, but only dedication to her job and loyalty to Madiba.

Listen to the podcast:

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Pamela Nomvete's Autobiography Dancing to the Beat of the Drum Now Available

Dancing to the Beat of the DrumIntroducing Pamela Nomvete’s autobiography, Dancing to the Beat of the Drum:

The sangomas say that when it is time to connect with your true calling, your true self, you must “dance to the beat of the drum”.

Returning to the land of her parents’ birth in 1994 – after making a name for herself as an actress on the British stage – Pamela Nomvete became a household name as Ntsiki Lukhele, “the bitch”, on Generations. But the mirage of luxury and success in which she lived was just that, a mirage. Behind closed doors she battled her husband’s infidelities, addiction and spiritual confusion. Dancing to the Beat of the Drum details the traumatic personal crisis Pamela went through as her success grew – a crisis which took everything she had worked for from her – and how she came to re-evaluate her priorities and reconnect with the spiritual side of her life – something she had long neglected.

“Pamela Nomvete is back with a bang!” – DRUM

“A standing ovation is in order” – Heiress Lifestyle

“Nomvete pulls no punches” – Blue Ink Review

“An unputdownable read” – The Herald

About the author

Pamela Nomvete has been an actress for 26 years, having graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 1985. She spent 10 years on the British stage before moving to South Africa – her ancestral home – in 1994, where she embarked on a very successful television career. She became a South African icon and ended up as a patron of a Khoisan pageant held in Botswana.

Pamela co-wrote and co-produced a 13-part comedy series for the SABC, appeared in the HBO film Sometimes in April, as the character Martine, and won a best actress award at the Fespaco film festival in 2005 for the role she played in the film Zulu Love Letter.

Pamela went through a very traumatic personal crisis as her success grew and ended up losing everything she had worked for. She spent two weeks living in her car in Johannesburg before returning to London in 2007. Back in the UK she continued her successful acting career, performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Court. Until 2013 she was a regular character in Coronation Street – the longest running soap opera in the UK.

During the time she was living in her car, Pamela learned about detachment from all the external things we often use to define us. She learned that, as long as she was alive, she could survive and handle any situation. She learned about the true nature of the human spirit, which she found among the very ordinary people of South Africa – really the people who made up her fan base. She recognised that she had a mission and that was to encourage people who believed they had no worth to see their value and use it to encourage others like them. Pamela learned that the voice of the “little person” will be heard the loudest and will make the biggest contribution to positive transformation in any community.

Pamela is a Nichiren Buddhist and is working on developing her skill as a writer and learning the ropes around the art of filmmaking. She believes in the power of the human spirit and will continue to work to unleash the hidden potential in herself and others.

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Herman Mashaba Says Pay Deal Spells Doom for Small Businesses

Black Like YouHerman Mashaba is the founder of Black Like Me, author of Black Like You and former chairman of the Free Market Foundation. He has written an article for Business Day about the negative, perhaps catastrophic, impact that a recent labour settlement will have on small businesses.

In the article, Mashaba says that although it seems that the government and just about everyone regards small businesses as vitally important, small business representatives are not given a seat at the bargaining table, and will be put out of business by the impossible demands placed on them by big industry settlements.

Read the article:

The settlement reached between the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA (Seifsa) this week demonstrates the staggering hypocrisy that dominates current discourse about the importance of small businesses to SA’s economy.

This is also at the heart of the Free Market Foundation’s legal challenge to section 32 of the Labour Relations Act.

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Scott Kraft Reviews Lost and Found in Johannesburg by Mark Gevisser

Lost and Found in JohannesburgVerdict: carrot

In his lyrical and achingly touching memoir, South African writer Mark Gevisser taps into a lifelong love of the street maps of his hometown to tell a story that is personal and universal. “Lost and Found in Johannesburg” is a riveting and enchantingly nuanced tale of a young white writer-to-be’s growing understanding of the racially charged land he was born into, as well as a more personal journey: his coming out as a gay man.

The road to self-discovery he traces is all the more compelling because it is set against the broader narrative of modern South Africa — a nation that for years was held hostage by racial division and animosity and yet, curiously, is not the land of stark contrasts that that history would suggest.

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Exploring landscapes and heartspaces

Sonja Kruse is returning to all the uBuntu families to give them a copy of the book. Here she is, pictured with Maryam Alie in Langebaan, whose story appears on pages 71-73.

Sonja Kruse is returning to all the uBuntu families to give them a copy of the book. Here she is, pictured with Maryam Alie in Langebaan, whose story appears on pages 71-73.

Face2Face is the proud publisher of The uBuntu Girl, by Sonja Kruse. Sonja will be signing copies of the book at Exclusive Books in Cavendish Square on Saturday, 30 April, from 11am to 12pm. Here she reflects on her journey across South Africa, and how the book came about.

For many it seems brave to quit one’s job, give one’s car away and to pack a 33lt backpack, a camera, a R100 and walk and hitchhike around South Africa. I think not. For me, it would take bravery to live in a country where I don’t know my fellow South Africans. Because that would make every interaction with others, a trip into the unknown.

Instead I opted to step into a vision that explored the heartspaces as much as the geography of our land. It was to be a journey of discovery – discovery of the sincere hospitality offered by complete strangers and the uncovering of my own fears, apprehensions and preconceived ideas. I left without a tent, sleeping bag or bank cards. Instead I carried a deep belief that I am because of others.

The astonishing reality is that along the unplanned route, 150 families from 16 different cultures opened their homes and hearts to, in essence, a stranger. I stayed in affluent suburbs and dusty townships, in shacks and in mansions; meeting pensioners, school children and students, farmers and labourers, rich businessmen, poor widows, artists, housewives, truckers, curio sellers. And everything in between.

What they all had in common was the spirit of ubuntu that compelled them to reach out to a lonely traveller. In doing so they filled my journey with extraordinary stories, teaching me about humility and grace. From the first night spent in the home of a Scenery Park mother who slept on the floor so that her guest could sleep in her bed to meeting the only white induna in the history of the Zulu Royal House on my last day.

The families taught me that ubuntu is not about your space or mine. It is about our space. And that is how the book – The uBuntu Girl – having generated an energy all of its own, decided that it needed to be written. And so began a whole new journey…

I had to learn to QWERTY type, to write and, more importantly, how to honour each person in our collective story. There were over 14 000 photos to pick from. Because one thing was for sure: our country is not a black and white book with a few colour plates. Our country is full-colour explosive!

To help me on this journey, I was fortunate to find a like-hearted and like-minded editor, graphic designer and publisher who were able to share and expand the vision. And with their guidance, we created a 240 page full-colour book that captures the essence of the journey and the lessons that we can take from it.

This book has been described as a travelogue, but I think it is more of a ‘humanlogue’ – a celebration of the human spirit.


Title: The uBuntu Girl
Author: Sonja Kruse
Publication Date: June 2014
Pages: 240
Size: 244x210mm Portrait
ISBN: 978 0 9922018 3 8
Recommended retail price: R390.00
Published by: Face2Face an imprint of Cover2Cover Books
Websites: /

Available from bookstores countrywide and On the Dot distributors (021 918 8810 or