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Join Dean Allen and Charles van Onselen, with Stephen Grootes and Jenny Crwys-Williams, for Dinner in Johannesburg

Dean Allen and Charles van Onselen Event

Empire, War & Cricket in South AfricaShowdown at the Red LionJenny & Co will be hosting a dinner featuring Dean Allen and Charles van Onselen, authors of Empire, War & Cricket in South Africa and Showdown at the Red Lion: The Life and Times of Jack McLoughlin, 1859–1910 respectively.

The authors will be speaking to Stephen Grootes and Jenny Crwys-Williams. The event is taking place at The Local Grill in Parktown North on Tuesday, 4 August, at 6:30 for 7 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 4 August 2015
  • Time: 6:30 PM for 7 PM
  • Venue: The Local Grill
    40 7th Avenue
    Parktown North | Map
  • Interviewers: Stephen Grootes and Jenny Crwys-Williams
  • Refreshments: Dinner
  • Cover charge: R340
  • RSVP: Jenny & Co,


Book Details

It's time we tackled inequality

WHENEVER I write about race in rugby, I have to brace myself for some particularly nasty hate mail. Suitably braced, here goes.

The recent commemoration of the 1995 Rugby World Cup pretty much summed up rugby’s transformation record in the intervening two decades — lots of glossy, feel-good stuff that tried but failed to smother the elephant in the room: that, 20 years on, a quota system is still required to ensure there are more than a couple of black players in the Springbok team.

One of the main reasons the South African Rugby Union has failed to develop black players in large numbers is that they rely almost exclusively on the 40-odd rugby specialist schools to produce players. These schools are mostly private or former Model C schools. All are based in areas that are still mostly white and therefore attract mostly white pupils. This cements the racial status quo in rugby and intensifies the inequality of opportunity for black children who want to make it to the top.

If Saru had responded appropriately to Nelson Mandela’s challenge in 1995, it would have directed a large proportion of the TV money brought in by the launch of professionalism the following year to developing rugby in targeted schools in black areas.

What is puzzling is that it is still not being done. Ever more ambitious quotas are being set for high-profile teams such as the Springboks but there is no concomitant strategy to give more black players a proper shot at achieving at this level. Saru has set up a couple of academies in the Eastern Cape but they serve a tiny minority of players.

The levels of inequality in SA remain stubbornly high. More middle-class black kids are going to richer schools but the vast majority of black children are in poorer state schools. Few have decent sporting facilities.

Waiting for the government to sort this out is not an option. But, given the will, rugby can make a difference. The obstacle is Saru’s love affair with professionalism.

Each of the 14 unions insists on its rights to field professional teams. This means that, in little towns all over the country, unions are pumping millions of rand into the maintenance of stadiums and salary packets for administrators, coaches, medical teams and squads of players. There is very little left over for development.

Most of the players they contract have been developed by the rugby schools. The same players are then recycled between different unions. The unions themselves do not have to pay for their development. The schools provide that, subsidised by parents and old boys. These are drawn mostly from communities who have a decades-long head start on the accumulation of social and financial capital.

If the French economist Thomas Piketty is right, the imbalance between them and communities who were prevented from accruing capital during apartheid will not change soon.

If Saru is serious about meeting its transformation targets, it might be wise to adopt a model that is better suited to a developing country. Professionalism could be confined to the Super Rugby franchises. They could focus on maintaining a globally competitive layer of players to feed the Springbok and Super Rugby teams.

A substantial portion of Saru’s income should be going into clubs and schools, particularly the black rugby schools in the Eastern Cape.

Now they get nothing from either Saru or the government to develop their rugby talent, and we wonder why, 20 years on from the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the team at the top is still mostly white.

Saru’s contribution is to dust off those hazy memories — which really just serve to remind us of a promise unfulfilled — to invoke rugby as nation-builder.

The teams fielded in Super Rugby this year were, as could be expected, mostly white. Except for the best local team in Super Rugby: the Stormers.

At around the same time that the class of ’95 were being celebrated, SA was waving goodbye to Allister Coetzee.

Coetzee, who routinely fielded 10 black players, dismisses talk of quotas and transformation charters as “utter rubbish”. He has a sophisticated understanding of race dynamics — born of his own experience of racism as an apartheid-era player and that of having to meld a racially diverse team in the cauldron of high-performance rugby.

One can’t pretend race doesn’t exist, he says.

What you have to do is to try to understand where each player is coming from: the white boy from Constantia or Bellville; the African boy from Khayelitsha; the coloured guy from Hawston.

To get the best out of each boy, a coach must work out what his triggers are.

That means making the effort to understand the player’s circumstances.

The coach who expects every boy to conform to his own cultural norms is never going to be able to successfully field a racially diverse team.

This does not mean the coach has to be black: an open-minded white coach prepared to venture out of his tribal comfort zone could also do it.

Critical for Coetzee is to provide role models. If a boy in Khayelitsha sees Siya Kolisi in a Stormers or Springbok jersey, he can see himself in one too. As long as “he is prepared to work his butt off and realise that it is about equal opportunity”, he too can make it.

In other words, don’t even think about making it on the back of a quota.

 *This column first appeared in Business Day

"Writing this Book Wasn't Easy For Me" - Vinod Hindocha Explains Why He Wrote Anni Dewani: A Father's Story

Anni Dewani: A Father's StoryThe Asian Age recently featured an article by Namita Gupta on Vinod Hindocha, father of Anni Dewani, and his motivation for writing Anni Dewani: A Father’s Story.

Gupta writes that “Hindocha screams his heart out in the explosive memoir”. The memoir tells the story of Anni’s life and the aftermath of her death from her family’s perspective.

Hindocha says that he chose to write this book when he realised how many people supported his daughter and were interested the truth about her cruelly early end. He says writing the book was somewhat cathartic, but not emotionally easy.

Read the article:

Although I felt relieved after penning my thoughts, writing this book wasn’t easy for me. I was shattered and broke down into tears several times during the days I was writing, but I was determined to complete it and I’m glad I succeeded. I started writing the book in Sweden and ended in South Africa,” says Anni’s father, Vinod, an electrical engineer with Mariestads El Automization.

Book details

Highlights of the 2015 South African Book Fair

The 2015 South African Book Fair


Here are some of the highlights of the 2015 South African Book Fair, taking place in Johannesburg from 31 July to 2 August.

The SABF programme was released last week, and will feature over 100 authors, writers, poets, publishers and playwrights.

We’ve picked out some of the unmissable events from this year’s South African Book Fair:

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An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything)WastedFriday 10 AM (Brink Room)

Get published!

Mark Winkler talks about how he broke through the lit barrier and two publishers give their tips and suggestions on how to get published.

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Walter and Albertina SisuluFriday 12 PM (Achebe Room)

Why is it important to talk to children in their own language?

In this insightful talk, Elinor Sisulu, NLSA & PUO discuss “Children’s literature publishing in indigenous languages: How do we achieve a quantum leap?” Facilitated by the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation.

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Meaning in LifeThe Arrogance of PowerOn the PostcolonyWhat is Slavery to Me?Education, Economy and Society

Saturday 9:30 AM (Anglo Auditorium)

Goodbye to all that: Decolonising culture and institutions

Thaddeus Metz, Xolela Mangcu, Achille Mbembe & Pumla Gqola, chaired by Salim Vally. In conjunction with the M&G Literary Festival.

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The ReactiveThe Dream HouseFalse RiverWhat Will People Say

Saturday 11:30 AM (Gordimer Room)

The power of family

Leon de Kock discusses the sometimes complicated, sometimes supportive nature of the family with novelists Masande Ntshanga, Craig Higginson, Dominique Botha & Rehana Rossouw.

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101 DetectivesBroken MonstersPostcards from Soweto

Saturday 1 PM (Gordimer Room)

Stories from the street

Novelists Ivan Vladislavić, Lauren Beukes & Mokone Molete talk about their cities and the role they play in their lives. Moderated by Bontle Senne.

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A Flawed FreedomRace, Class and PowerThe Limits of Democratic Governance in South AfricaWhat Will People SaySouth Africa's Suspended Revolution

Saturday 1:30 PM

South Africa at a fork in the road (Anglo Auditorium)

John Saul, Steven Friedman, Louis Picard & Rehana Rossouw, chaired by Adam Habib. In conjunction with the M&G Literary Festival.

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Hugless Douglas Goes to Little SchoolSaturday 2 PM

Do you want to be an illustrator? (Alice’s Room)

Join award-winning David Melling as he shows you how he came to illustrate books, how he makes characters come to life and how you can learn to do the same. Interactive and fun! Age 7+

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Sunday 9:30 AM

South African fiction publishing at 21 (Brink Room)

Gatekeeping or rainmaking? – Fourie Botha (Umuzi), Bridget Impey (Jacana), Thabiso Mahlape (The Blackbird), Palesa Morudu (Cover2Cover), Debra Primo (UKZN Press) & David Robbins (Porcupine Press), chaired by Raks Seakhoa. In conjunction with the M&G Literary Festival.

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10 AM (Alice’s Room)

The Trouble With Cats (DC)

Wonder Woman races to save Batman & Superman from her arch-enemy, Cheetah on an island off the coast of Mozambique. The story takes a twist to Soweto where a young girl has to find her inner heroine & save the day. Lauren Beukes & art by Mike Maihack. Suitable for age 5+ & includes a brief talk on how comics are made. Grown-up comic fans welcome. Dressing up as a super hero is encouraged!

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African Delights101 DetectivesStrange PilgrimagesThe Reactive

11:30 AM (Gordimer Room)


Siphiwo Mahala talks to Ivan Valdislavić, Achmat Dangor & Masande Ntshanga about the art of the short story.

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The RaftThe LegacyBroken MonstersDark Windows

1 PM (Gordimer Room)

Science fiction, fantasy and horror – what are the rules of this new reality?

Speculative fiction is explored by Fred Strydom, Melissa Delport & Lauren Beukes. Chaired by Louis Greenberg.

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Bad SexArctic SummerThe Texture of ShadowsWay Back HomeGreen Lion101 Detectives

1:30 PM (Anglo Auditorium)

The South African novel at 21

Leon de Kock discusses with novelists Damon Galgut, Mandla Langa, Niq Mhlongo, Henrietta Rose-Innes and Ivan Vladislavić. In conjunction with the M&G Literary Festival.

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2:30 PM (Achebe Room)

Want to try your hand at professional editing?

Join this 50-minute hands-on workshop to see if editing is meant for you. “A lightning tour of the skill of editing” will have exercises and questions, so come expecting to be challenged … and supported. Please book early as we will need to restrict the number of participants to 25.

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3 PM (Alice’s Room)

A dress-up “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”

In celebration of Alice in Wonderland’s 150th anniversary and the launch of Alice in isiZulu, with readings in both English and isiZulu. The Queen of Tarts, Tina Bester, will be serving it up! Prizes for the best-dressed! On the guest list – the Gruffalo, Wally, Floppy, Peter Rabbit and more … The grand finale to the bookfair!

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Empire, War & Cricket in South AfricaArctic SummerDF Malan and the Rise of Afrikaner NationalismThe Texture of ShadowsStrange Pilgrimages

4 PM (Anglo Auditorium)

The Monuments Men: Rewriting reputation – Rhodes, Malan, Mandela & EM Forster

Dean Allen, Damon Galgut, Lindie Koorts & Mandla Langa, chaired by Achmat Dangor. In conjunction with the M&G Literary Festival.

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Book details

"Hardcore Details" - Suellen Sheehan on Her Memoir: Justice Served: The Trial and Conviction of Bob Hewitt

Convicted paedophile Bob Hewitt was recently granted leave to appeal his six-year jail sentence – but not his conviction.

The 75-year-old former tennis champion was convicted in March of the rape of two of his former students, Suellen Sheehan and Theresa “Twiggy” Tolken, who were not yet teenagers at the time.

He was also found guilty of indecently assaulting a third complainant.

Sheehan, whose memoir, Justice Served: The Trial and Conviction of Bob Hewitt, will be published by Zebra Press, told EWN: “I am moving forward and have written an amazing book which will be out in November and it will be the hardcore details of my life.”

High Court Judge Bert Bam allowed Hewitt’s bail to be extended, while he files for his appeal, although he has to remain in his Port Elizabeth home.

Sheehan said while she was glad the leave to appeal the conviction had been dismissed, she was concerned about Hewitt’s extended bail. “What sort of message does this send to rapists in our country? That you can be convicted but if you appeal you can go home?”

Sheehan said at the very least, regardless of whether he was in a prison cell or at home, Hewitt would spend the next several months, or even years, fighting for his life in court.

“I’ve found my place of peace,” she said.

Tolken, who did not attend proceedings, said she was disappointed Hewitt had been allowed to appeal the sentence and that bail had been extended.

“He was found guilty of two counts of rape and one of sexual assault and he is not in jail. Why not?” she asked.

"Liberal Flab": Ben Turok Talks About How He Amended the Freedom Charter (Podcast)

With My Head Above the ParapetBen Turok, former ANC MP and author of With My Head Above the Parapet: An insider account of the ANC in power, was recently featured on John Robbie’s Talk Radio 702 show.

In the podcast, Turok reminisces about the day he amended the Freedom Charter. At the time, he was full-time organiser for the Western Cape. His function was to collect the demands of people all over the province to take to the Congress of the People.

He shares the story of speaking about the economic clause, and says: “I nearly died of fright at the prospect.” When he was called upon, he realised what “liberal flab” the economic clause was, and had the opportunity to rewrite it.

Listen to the podcast:


Book details