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Twee verruklike deegdisse uit Theresa de Vries se Deeg

Deeg is die enigste boek oor deeg wat jy ooit nodig sal kry!

Alle soorte deeg om terte of pasteie te maak word bespreek – broskors, blaarkors, skilferkors, warmwaterkors, fillo en strudeldeeg, ook die gewilde Marokkaanse ouarkadeeg.

’n Besonderse boek wat al die kunsies van deeg fynkam: bestanddele, toerusting, basiese beginsels en puik resepte.

Deeg dek ook algemene foute wat by deeg kan voorkom en die oorsake daarvan. En om die terte of pasteie te laat pronk gee Theresa wonderlike aanwysings oor hoe om dit alles te versier.

Word ’n bobaas bakker met hierdie boek wat selfs intimiderende deegresepte maklik maak.

Hier is twee verruklike deegdisse – een vir die vleisliefhebbers én die met ‘n soettand!
 

Springbok Wellington

 

Lewer 4 porsies

DEEG
1/2. x resep Blaarkorsdeeg (sien bl. 76)
1 eiergeel vir bo-oor verf

VULSEL
500 g sampioene, skoongemaak en in skyfies gesny
90 ml olyfolie
200 g spinasie, stingels verwyder
1 stuk Springbok-rugfilet (sowat
25 cm lank) of beesfilet sout en peper na smaak
25 ml aangemaakte mosterd
Hanepoot-jagtersous
1 ui, fyngekap
250 g sampioene, skoongevee en fyngekap
25 ml olyfolie
125 ml hanepoot-soetwyn
250 ml vleisaftreksel
125 ml room
50 ml fyngekapte pietersielie sout en peper na smaak

1. Vulsel: Braai sampioene in 40 ml olie tot gaar. Skep sampioene uit pan. Laat afkoel.

2. Dompel die spinasie in ’n kastrol met kokende water net tot dit verwelk. Skep spinasie met gaatjieslepel uit water en plaas oop op kombuispapier om te dreineer. Laat afkoel.

3. Plaas sampioene in ’n voedselverwerker en verwerk tot ’n pasta. Hou eenkant.

4. Geur die vleis met sout en peper. Smeer die vleis reg rondom met mosterd. Plaas in ’n vlak pan en braai in die 50 ml olie tot verse.l aan alle kante. Skep vleis uit die pan. Draai vleis styf toe met kleefplastiek en plaas vleisrol in yskas om heeltemal af te koel.

5. Voorverhit die oond tot 200 ÅãC. Smeer of spuit ’n bakplaat.

6. Deeg: Rol deeg uit in ’n vierkant van 30 cm – en 5 mm dik – op ’n meelbestrooide oppervlak.

7. Smeer die sampioenpasta in die middel van die deegvierkant – so breed soos die vleisrol is.

8. Versprei die spinasie eweredig oor die sampioenlaag.

9. Haal vleisrol uit yskas en verwyder kleefplastiek. Plaas die vleisrol op die spinasielaag. Rol die deeg styf op, soos vir ’n rolkoek. Plaas die deegrol op die bakplaat, met die naatkant na onder.

10. Rol orige deeg uit. Sny blaartjies of versierings uit en plaas op die deegrol. Verf deeg met eiergeel.

11. Bak deegrol vir 30-40 minute of tot goudbruin.

12. Sous: Braai die ui en sampioene in die olie tot sag en deurskynend. Voeg die wyn by en kook vir 2 minute tot die alkohol weggekook het.

13. Voeg die aftreksel en room by. Kook tot sous effens verdik.

14. Roer die pietersielie by. Geur met sout en peper en kook die sous deur.

15. Haal die deegrol uit die oond en sny in porsies. Sit voor met die sous.

 

Suurlemoen-en-grenadellablommetjies

 

 
Lewer 12 groot tertjies

Deeg
1 x resep Warmwaterkorsdeeg
(sien bl. 138)
eierwit vir bo-oor verf

Vulsel
250 ml water
200 g suiker
120 ml mielieblom
6 groot eiergele, geklits
125 ml vars suurlemoensap
1 blikkie (115 g) grenadellapulp
5 ml gerasperde suurlemoenskil
100 ml suurroom
30 ml botter, in blokkies gesny

Meringue
4 eierwitte
2,5 ml kremetart
80 ml witsuiker
45 ml versiersuiker

1. Voorverhit die oond tot 180°C. Smeer of spuit 12 holtes van ’n groot muffinpan.

2. Deeg: Rol louwarm deeg uit tot 3 mm dik op ’n meelbestrooide oppervlak. Druk 12 groot blompatrone met ’n koekiedrukker uit die deeg. Voer holtes van die muffi npan met deegpatrone uit. Sny die kante netjies en prik die deeg met ’n vurk. Bak blind vir 15 minute (sien metode, bl. 13).

3. Haal uit oond, verwyder waspapier en verf eierwit oor die boom van die deeg. Plaas vir nog 5 minute in die oond.

4. Vulsel: Plaas die water, suiker en mielieblom in ’n kastrol.

5. Voeg die eiergele en suurlemoensap by en verhit oor lae hitte. Roer en bring tot kookpunt. Laat kook tot verdik.

6. Voeg die grenadellapulp en suurlemoenskil by die suikermengsel.

7. Roer die botter en suurroom by. Verwyder van hitte. Plaas ’n vel kleefplastiek direk bo-op die vulsel. Laat afkoel.

8. Meringue: Klits die eierwitte en kremetart tot skuimerig en wit.

9. Klits die suiker en versiersuiker stadig by en klits aanhoudend tot dik.

10. Verwyder kleefplastiek en verdeel die vulsel tussen die voorbereide korse.

11. Skep meringue in die spuitsak en spuit klein rosies op die vulsel. Sprinkel die klapper oor.

12. Bak tertjies vir 20 minute of tot die meringue verkleur.

Wenk
Klein blommetjies: Die tertjies kan ook in 2 klein muffinpanne gemaak word om 24 klein tertjies te lewer. Druk 24 kleiner blompatrone met ’n koekiedrukker uit die uitgerolde deeg, voer die 24 muffinholtes daarmee uit en bak en berei soos beskryf.

Deeg

Boekbesonderhede

Tales of the Karoo platteland and a recipe for all-day venison: take a sneak peek into Tony Jackman's foodSTUFF

foodSTUFF

The cookbook as memoir, or memoir as cookbook? With foodSTUFF, maverick food writer Tony Jackman presents us with a refreshingly original take on life and food.

He relates every heartache, every joy, and does not shy away from imparting the pain of loss of a family member or his troubled relationship with his father.

The stories of his journey towards adulthood are counterbalanced by rich tales from his life. foodSTUFF has many meaty recipes, spicy poultry dishes, some of Jackman’s eccentric signature dishes, and desserts he likes to spoil his friends with.

Jackman, known in particular for his article “Sliced & Diced” in the Weekend Argus, invites you into his world, from humble beginnings in an English working-class family to an illustrious career as an unapologetically eccentric South African foodie, playwright and author.

foodSTUFF tosses together tales from a rich, nomadic life with masses of meaty recipes (Obies oxtail potjie, beef fillet with melted French Brie, parsley-crusted rack of lamb); spicy poultry dishes (tamarind duck curry, chicken coconut curry); a handful of signature dishes (spanspek soup, bacon-and-beer braai bread); and the desserts with which Jackman likes to spoil his friends (the chocolatiest chocolate tart ever, lemon syrup cake, pears in Chardonnay Pinot Noir with a Parmesan wafer).

Get a taste for Tony’s book with this excerpt and recipe…

The T-shirt was black and bore an image of tall buildings, the Empire State at the centre. The legend: ‘I lost my heart to NYC.’ This tiny main-street fashion store was an odd place to find this wayward item of clothing, for we were not in Manhattan but in Calvinia, Northern Cape, South Africa.

As if to illustrate the irony, a blowsy woman pointed to the T-shirt my wife was eyeing and declared, ‘NYC? What’s NYC?’

Yep, you’re in the country now, and not everyone who lives here has ventured much beyond Nieuwoudtville, the world’s flower capital, 70 kilometres away. If you think this is a swipe at local habits, the truth is that the more you travel, the more you find that there are people everywhere, NYC included, who choose to keep it local and aren’t overly interested in anything beyond the highway that leads out of town.

When we lived in West Sussex we knew a woman who had never been to London, barely 100 kilometres away. We met a horse-and-cart driver in Kilkenny, Ireland, who had never been to Dublin or Galway. Nor did he want to. Many Yorkshire folk, members of my family included, either never go to London or, like my cousin Molly, went once and vowed never to go back. And local is, as we like to say, lekker, whether local means Brooklyn, Midhurst, Bradford or Calvinia.

So when in New York City, Rome, wherever, I like to do things the local way, and when in a place like Calvinia I seek out the local meat. There’s an annual meat festival here to celebrate the top-class lamb from this sheep-farming region of the Hantam Karoo. This is the western reach of the vast plains that sweep much of the interior of South Africa, and in March it’s hot and still, with a Karoo breeze picking up late afternoon to cool your evening around the braai.

On that morning, we left the local fashion boutique and wandered into the butchery next door where beautifully prepared cuts of meat were set out in a bank of fridges. The pork and beef are brought in, I was told, but the lamb was all local.

There were legs, shanks, slabs of rib, and lambs’ necks.

The last time I’d cooked lamb’s neck whole, I’d underestimated the cooking time or, more truthfully, run out of time. And there’s no point in cooking lamb’s neck at all if it isn’t allowed to become fall-off-the-bone tender. It’s impossible to gouge the meat out of the knobby bones if it’ even remotely tough. But when it is super soft – as it should be – you can pick up the bone and suck out the juicy contents. A bib would not be out of place.

Next door to the butchery was an old-fashioned bottle store with a wooden counter where an old feller, looking the worse for wear, packaged up the bottle of Tassenberg red I’d selected. Around the corner there was another bottle store where I bought a bottle of red fortified wine labelled Travino Matador, which the shop assistant said was a red muscadel. According to the label it was wooded, which immediately intrigued me.

At the Hantam Huis, which for years had surely been the best country store in the land, we bought a jar of tomato konfyt. They made the best breakfasts anywhere, complete with top-end boerewors and skilpaadjie (caul-wrapped lamb’sliver) and wonderful stoneground porridge served with fynbos honey.

Just outside the kitchen door of the house at which we were staying was a well-established rosemary bush, which I had partially denuded on earlier visits, and some sprigs of this, combined with the Tassies, the wooded fortified red, and some fresh garlic and ginger I had bought, became the makings of a slow-cooked pot-roasted lamb’s neck that I left to simmer away for the rest of the day.

My base was the Boekehuis, a very old Karoo house with creaking floors and the presence of spirits unseen.

You’re alone in the house for a week and when you climb into bed and turn out the light, you pull the bed sheets up over your chin and open your eyes wide like a child who’s been warned about the tokoloshe. There are curious scurryings of what you hope are tiny birds’feet on the corrugated-iron roof. The walls make hushed, mysterious noises.

It’s all strangely welcome, because this is a house to write in and it sharpens you up, a creaky house where I wrote two plays and where my wife wrote her novel. Where David Kramer has spent long days and nights writing, where Helen Walne wrote her searingly honest The Diving about her brother’s suicide and where many great South African works first found their pages.

It’s a house in which you can write of dark and uncomfortable things.

The Boekehuis is part of the life’s work of formidable and elegant Alta Coetzee and it is my favourite house anywhere other than the homes in which I have lived. It’s a house where you welcome the drawing in of the night so that you can light a fire in the old black kitchen range and put a pot on. Where you open a bottle of aged Cabernet Sauvignon and glug-glug-glug it into a glass, where the wine goes to your head as you pore over your research material to absorb what will turn into words the next morning. Where once, after I had finished a draft of my first play, Alta’s one-of-a-kind doctor-wine connoisseur husband Erwin cracked open a bottle of Cristal to toast my work. So here’s a toast to Alta and Erwin Coetzee and their benevolent charity to writers. I might sommer drink the whole bottle.

ALL-DAY VENISON

Whether you’re in the Hantam Karoo, the Klein Karoo or the Moordenaars Karoo, if you don’t hunt game you need a mate who does – someone who lives on a farm or shoots buck in the wild
to sell the fine meat to fancy restaurants.

Once in a while, they will pop by to hand you a bag with something intriguing in it. A haunch of warthog, a loin of takbok (fallow deer), or a quartet of springbok shanks. This is a more-or-less recipe for whatever venison has been bestowed on you.

Cut into small pieces and treat in the way the French and Italians do, which means cooked slowly forever at a bashful temperature.

Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until lightly golden. Add the cans of tomato and braai relish, wine, apple jelly, coriander, turmeric, Worcestershire sauce and sherry. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Add the cubed meat and stir to coat. Add the chopped parsley. Bring back to a very gentle simmer, cover, and allow to burble away for several hours. This needs to be very ‘stewy’, with the meat disintegrating so that it almost becomes one with the developing sauce.

About an hour before it’ s likely to be ready, stir the cornflour and milk together until no lumps remain, then add a little at a time to the pot, stirring with a wooden spoon. Cover again and allow to simmer until done.

Serve with buttery mashed potato.

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbs olive oil
1 x 410 g can
chopped tomatoes
1 x 410 g can braai relish
(chopped tomatoes and
onions with chilli)
1 large glass dry white wine
1–3 Tbs apple jelly
(or similar)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
dash Worcestershire sauce
splash of sherry (or port)
salt and pepper to taste
800 g lean venison,
cut into small cubes
handful parsley leaves (stems
removed), finely chopped
1 Tbs cornflour
2 Tbs milk

Book details

"Power is the thing that caused my face to swell. The thing that showed me love in its rawest form." Read an excerpt from If I Stay Right Here

If I Stay Right HereWhat is Sex? Sex is a humid climate. What is Desire? Desire is snow. What is Loneliness? Loneliness is a badger trying to figure out why it looks different to an otter. What is Obsession?Obsession is trying to fix a broken chair without realising that the chair is just bent at the knees and that’s how it was born. What is a Dyke? A dyke is an intricate, indecipherable encryption.

Chwayita Ngamlana, in her electric debut book, explores the above questions through her characters as they struggle through the volatility of love, the danger of not knowing themselves and
discovering their voice in the world.

The story follows the characters, Shay and Sip, who are very different in class, style, character and education. Shay is a journalism student working part time as an intern on a site that has no clear sense of direction. Sip is an unemployed varsity drop out and ex-gang member.

Their vastly different lives make it challenging for them to be the kind of couple they so desperately want to be. Unable to get themselves untangled from the web they’ve created, Shay and Sip use money, other people and sex to fix things, but is this enough?

Ngamlama has created a world that is somewhere between the present day and a sub-world of delusion. The reader will want to watch both story and characters unravel. This book will touch anyone who has lost themselves or their loved ones to unhealthy, destructive relationships.

Chwayita Ngamlana was born and raised in Grahamstown. She is an only child who found comfort and companionship in reading and writing from the age of 10. She has a degree in music and has her master’s in Creative Writing. This is her debut novel – and it won’t be the last.

The Worst Power

In this place a fist represents strength, freedom and empowerment.

They told us that in those institutions for fragile minds. With only a few years on Earth, we listened attentively to experienced superhumans who dedicated their lives to showing us how to live.

We concluded that they must have dropped down on our planet to tell us what they see from above. We didn’t know much back then.

Small eyes looking up from wooden desks, scared that these superhumans would ask us questions or say the words “spot test” or check our homework to see if we regurgitated correctly.

They had a leader and the leader was their hero.

She was our hero too.

She was like the queen of the bee hive. Whenever people were sent to her office she banged her fist on the table. I had only heard about this fist, but eventually I too found myself seated across it. It was more terrifying than the fist the superhumans banged on their desks whenever we got a little too loud and excited.

Her fist put a lump in my throat and seemed to shake the ground beneath me. I didn’t have to go to her lair all that much, thankfully. I wasn’t as interesting as the bullies, thieves and back chatters. She saw them the most. I remember how she squeezed that bony fist until her knuckles whitened, her bones protruding through the skin, stretching it thin. She pounded it on her desk and used it to punctuate her words, to fuel them so they arrive quicker.

It was then that I learned how loud a fist against wood can be.

Then they taught us about a superhero who was bigger than she was. A man who had come out of a 27-year-long struggle. He told the nation that in each single fist are a thousand reasons to keep living, to persevere and to form a unity. That was the latest meaning of a fist and it stuck. Every knuckle, a symbol of the country’s colours and willingness to stand for something. We accepted the strength of the fist because we were told these things, we saw it in action and we read about it.

Years later I’m clenching my hand hard to see what a proper fist is supposed to look like. I want to feel its power.

I’m realising that a closed fist is not easy to make. Wikipedia told me to curl my fingers into my palm and then lock them in with my thumb. This is also supposed to help me with my anxiety and help me recall information. I’m pretty sure I’m not doing it right.

Nothing about it makes me want to stand tall, be proud and raise it to the sky.

All that’s happening is the escape of my blood and the surfacing of yellow fat.

It says that if I’m able to form a fist then I’ll qualify for a fist bump – “a display of acknowledgement and friendship, sometimes celebration or greeting” – and the list goes on. Whatever I can’t say through my mouth will be tucked away in between my fingers and then passed on through a collision with another fist.

So why five knuckles? Better to put a stamp with, my dear.

Knuckle no. 1 – to imprint a lasting, prominent dark mark.
Knuckle no. 2 – to add a shade of green to the mark.
Knuckle no. 3 – to release passion.
Knuckle no. 4 – to get you to hear me.
Knuckle no. 5 – to show the world what is mine.

Without these it would be impossible to show you how I love.

I imagined her telling me this when I came to on the ground. The car I had left idling, slowly dimming its lights now, trying desperately to hide me so that I may disappear into the night and pretend I was never there.

The car has a lazy eye.

The street lights worked against me. They didn’t know me enough to protect me or show mercy. The stones pricked my back, gave me tough love, pushing me to get up.

Still I lay there like an injured stray dog.

The breeze brushed over the dry streams on my cheeks and gently carried the news to whomever it may concern. I saw it struggle to carry this heavy mess and drop it where it found it. It decided to wait until I got finished off so it could take my spirit instead. Spirits are far easier to carry.

I didn’t know that even stars can form a fist – a replica for the five-knuckled bony fist that collided with my face earlier and left its residue on my heart. The sky became a mirror, the stars now forming hearts around the fist, mocking me.

This is how we take care of each other now. Raising fists in the air is no longer the ultimate gesture of power. Power is the thing that caused my face to swell. The thing that showed me love in its rawest form.

I lay there and closed my eyes, drifting deep into blackness and back again. This is the part in the movie where the girl clutches her T-shirt, rolls over to her side and gets into a foetal position while crying hysterically. She turns to her side so that the tears don’t get into her ears. There were no tears, though.

I was on my back, stones still pricking me, unable to move. The loud sound of a fist still ringing deep in my ears. I didn’t remember a fist against wood being that loud.

I turned my head to the side, took gravel into my left hand, formed a fist and watched the soil seep through.

Fists are so valuable they could be sold. The superhumans must have forgotten to tell us that.

Book details

"Kubu waited. So far nothing particularly strange had been revealed, but he was sure there was more to come" - read an excerpt from Dying to Live

When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident.

But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles … but where is the entry wound?

When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who’d befriended the old Bushman?

As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow.

A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane heroes.

An old Bushman has been found dead near New Xade in the Kalahari. Pathologist Ian MacGregor has performed the autopsy, but has discovered some very peculiar things about the old man. He calls Assistant Superintendent ‘Kubu’ Bengu to discuss it with him…

Kubu found Ian in his tiny office off the mortuary, sucking on his usual pipe full of unlit tobacco and contemplating a desert scene he’d painted himself. He’d pulled down his surgical mask and left it hanging around his neck.

After a perfunctory greeting, Kubu asked him what was so puzzling.

‘I’ll show you,’ Ian replied. ‘Get togged up.’ He pointed to a lab coat that had some hope of getting around Kubu’s bulk, handed him a mask, and passed him a box of latex gloves. He pulled on a pair himself, adjusted his mask, and led the way to the room where the autopsy had taken place. Kubu was glad that lunch was still a way off; he was not fond of dead bodies under the best of circumstances, and cut-up ones that had been lying in the desert for a few days certainly weren’t the best of circumstances.

They walked over to a corpse lying on a slab.

‘Cause of death is a broken neck, snapped between C2 and C3 – the second and third cervical vertebrae. The spinal cord is damaged there, so he would’ve stopped breathing and died within a couple of minutes. Now, take a look at this.’ He indicated the left side of the head. ‘It looks as though he was hit on the side of the face. There’s bruising, and there are abrasions as a result of the blow. It seems the blow was hard enough to break the neck. But that’s very unusual. There’s not that much damage to the face – no cracked cheekbones, for example – so I don’t think the blow was very severe. You’d expect the head to whip sideways, but not the neck to break.’

‘What if someone broke his neck deliberately? Held him and then sharply twisted his head? If the bones are as brittle as you say, that would’ve been easy.’

‘Well, there’s only bruising on one side of the face, and there’s no evidence of a struggle. He would’ve fought back, and there would’ve been evidence. Skin under the fingernails or the like. There’s nothing.’

‘Could it have been an accident? He was hit on the face and broke his neck in the fall?’

Ian shook his head. ‘I can’t see how he’d fall on his head. And look at this.’ He lifted the right arm and showed Kubu the wrist, which was badly bruised.

Kubu looked carefully at the damage and nodded.

‘He also has a distal radial fracture,’ Ian added. ‘That’s a broken wrist.’

‘What could’ve caused that?’

Ian shrugged. ‘Given how weak his bones are, a rough grip from a strong man might’ve done it. If you fall, that bone’s the one that breaks when you try to save yourself, but given the damage to his spinal cord, that’s very unlikely.’

‘When did he die?’

‘Judging by what Detective Sergeant Segodi said about the state of rigor mortis, probably the day before the tourists found the body. I can’t do much better than that at this point.’ He paused.

Kubu waited. So far nothing particularly strange had been revealed, but he was sure there was more to come.

‘He’s old, all right,’ Ian continued. ‘Bushmen always have faces like walnuts from all that sun, even the young ones. But look at the hair. Pure white. And his bones are showing signs of severe osteoporosis. That’s leaching of the calcium. It happens in old people and makes the bones brittle. That may be why that blow snapped his neck, and the radius cracked under a rough grip.’

Kubu nodded. So, the man was old. That was no surprise either.

Now doubt entered Ian’s voice. ‘And yet, look at this.’ He offered Kubu an unidentified organ in a glass jar filled with clear liquid. ‘Go on, take it. Look closely.’ Kubu did, then handed it back none the wiser.

‘That’s the liver of a young man, Kubu. Maybe a forty-year-old who didn’t drink. And then there’s this.’ He handed Kubu a container with what was clearly a heart. ‘That ticker would’ve gone on pumping for years. All of the internal organs are like that. It’s only the skin, the bones, and the hair that belong to a seventy- or eighty-year-old.’

Kubu frowned. ‘How can he be forty inside and seventy outside? Could it be just genetics? He chose his parents well?’

‘I’ve never read of anything like this,’ Ian replied. ‘And here’s something else.’

He passed Kubu a Petri dish containing a blackened lump of what Kubu took for metal.

‘That’s a bullet, no doubt about it. I found it by chance when I got intrigued by the young organs.’ Ian paused and corrected himself. ‘The young-looking organs, I should say. It was lodged in one of the rectus abdominis muscles, a couple of centimetres below the skin. Probably pretty spent when it hit him, or it would’ve killed him. I was surprised.’

‘Surprised? Was it recent?’

‘Not recent at all. I was surprised because there was no scar. Nothing. I take photos as well as examining the body before I start the autopsy. I went back to the photos to check. No scarring at all.’

‘If he was a nomadic Bushman and someone shot him long ago, he wouldn’t see a doctor in the desert. If he didn’t die, he’d recover. How long would the scar take to disappear?’

Ian shook his head. ‘Never. The scar would never disappear. Certainly not without an expert plastic surgeon and proper medication at the time of the injury.’

Kubu was starting to understand why Ian was so puzzled. ‘Could he have swallowed the bullet or something?’

Again, Ian shook his head. ‘It would be impossible for it to get there from inside the body. And it’s badly corroded. It’s been there for a very long time. I’m surprised the lead didn’t cause him more problems.’

It was Kubu’s turn to shake his head. The Bushmen were strange people, and strange things happened with them, but a young man in an old frame, who seemed immune to bullets was another thing altogether. It didn’t make any sense.

Ian glanced at his friend and realised that Kubu had followed the same path he’d walked earlier that morning. He nodded slowly.

Kubu had had enough. ‘Well, let’s get out of here and go back to your office.’

‘So,’ Kubu summarised, after they’d washed their hands and disposed of the masks and gloves, ‘what we have is a very old man, apparently in good health except for his skin and his bones. He was killed by a blow to the head. And he was shot long ago, but that, presumably, has nothing to do with his death. Correct?’

Ian nodded, but said nothing.

Kubu brooded about it. ‘Is it possible we have the wrong end of the stick? Maybe he’s a middle-aged man, and had some illness that affected the bones. Maybe a nutrition problem? You said that Bushmen all have wrinkled skin.’

‘What about the white hair?’

Kubu shrugged. ‘Can’t that happen after an extreme shock of some kind, like being bitten by a scorpion or poisonous snake?’

Ian frowned. ‘I suppose it’s possible. But that doesn’t explain the bullet.’

Kubu was sure Ian had more to say. He leant back in his chair and waited.

Ian fiddled with his pipe and took a long draw. ‘You know I’m interested in the Bushmen, Kubu. Always have been. One of my colleagues at the University of Botswana told me about a visiting anthropologist from the US giving a seminar on what he called the ‘oral memory’ of the Bushman peoples. I wasn’t all that taken with the topic, but went along to see what he was talking about.

‘What made me think of it now was his story about a certain Bushman he’d met. He said the Bushman was a great raconteur of stories about historical events that had happened to his people. He’d tell them in the first person – as though he’d been there himself. The stories changed a little with each retelling, but all the main points stayed consistent. The anthropologist was fascinated by this. He postulated that it was a way history could be retained by a people without a written record – that they learnt the events as though they had actually been present. He thought perhaps that the storyteller visualised himself experiencing events that had actually been seen by his father or grandfather – maybe with the help of a trance or drugs.’

‘It sounds as though that would lead to exaggeration rather than accuracy. I don’t remember any Bushman doing that.’

‘His suggestion was that only special men were selected for this oral memory task.’ Ian shrugged. ‘I said I wasn’t convinced. And he got a lot of questions after the talk, some pretty pointed.’

Kubu caught on. ‘You think our corpse in there could be one of the Bushmen he was talking about?’

‘I don’t know, but I got to thinking. If he was some sort of genetic freak – and you’ve seen the evidence yourself – then perhaps he’s a lot older than he looks. Maybe he’s around ninety or even older. Perhaps that man was telling those stories in the first person because he actually was present at the events.’ Ian looked uncomfortable. ‘I know it’s farfetched, but just look at the internal condition this man was in.’ He hesitated. ‘One of the stories he told the anthropologist was of a hunting party from what is now Namibia that attacked his group and shot many of them. Men, women and children. Disgusting, but we know these things happened. He claimed to have been shot himself, but it wasn’t a bad wound. I was thinking about that bullet I found in him.’

‘But the last parties hunting Bushmen were nearly a hundred years ago!’

Ian nodded. ‘Yes, Kubu, I know. I said it’s far-fetched. But still.’

Kubu thought for a few moments. Ian’s speculation wouldn’t go down well with an unimaginative, by-the-book type of detective like Segodi. And why would Segodi care anyway? There was no reason to think there was any connection between the Bushman’s age and his death. No reason, but intuition told Kubu differently. He understood why Ian had called him.

The two friends sat quietly, each lost in thought pondering the anomalies they’d just talked about. Then Kubu’s stomach announced that it was time for lunch. He grunted and climbed to his feet. ‘I’d just stick to the bland facts with Detective Sergeant Segodi, Ian. Let’s see what he comes up with. I’ll let you know.’

They shook hands, and Kubu took his leave. When he reached the door, he hesitated. He’d learnt over the years to take Ian’s hunches as seriously as his own. He turned around.

‘Is there a way of accurately estimating a dead person’s age? Like that Bushman?’

Ian didn’t reply for several seconds. ‘I’ll have to look into it. I’m not sure there is. How long someone has been dead, yes. The longer the better. But not how long since the person was born.’

‘Well, send the bullet to Forensics. See what they make of it.’

Ian nodded. ‘I’ll do that.’

Kubu waved, and left the pathologist sucking thoughtfully on his pipe.

Dying to Live will be launched on Tuesday, 13 June at Love Books, Melville. Michael Sears will be in conversation with the MD of Jonathan Ball Publishers, Eugene Ashton.

Dying to Live

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Read an excerpt from Tammy Baikie’s Dinaane Debut Fiction Award-winning novel, Selling LipService

Selling LipService, Tammy Baikie’s remarkable debut novel, was the winner of the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award in 2016.

Formerly known as the European Union Literary Award, the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award was established in 2004 with the intention of sustaining locally written fiction. The award is open to unpublished English-language fiction manuscripts by debut writers

Daring in scope and exhibiting exhilarating virtuosity, Selling LipService takes South African fiction into a space last seen with Lauren Beukes’s Zoo City.

Dr Pamela Nichols, a lecturer at the Wits writing centre, commented on behalf of the judging panel: ‘This is firstly technically very clever in its articulation and development of languages, which are already familiar and nearly formed in our daily lives.

The invention and play with ways of talking and thinking reminded me of Clockwork Orange. Secondly, it makes a convincing argument for the need to reassert the literary and the always partially unknown human, before we are swallowed up by ad men.

It presents a Huxley-like future conveyed with a Burgess-like linguistic skill: brilliant, and guaranteed to appeal to anyone who loves reading.’

Read an excerpt from Chapter One here:

I have been repackaged. My cellophane surface is so slick that not even the rain clings to it. But the package contents lie. This is not what I am. The gaudy veneer of bright words that declaim and cajole are not mine – they are yours. I am the perishable rawness beneath.

You materialised with my first LipService patch. Clammy gel sucked at the skin of my upper arm, and I had to swallow hard against the rancid oil in my throat. The neurologist overseeing the hospital ward of eighteen-year-olds newly come of haemorrhage was watching me with the squinting intensity of an eye to a keyhole. He had personally applied the transdermal patch to my upper arm, while nurses went around to the other patients. Had my revulsion betrayed me? Tinnitus echoed like a siren through the empty halls of my mind. Did he know?

I remembered him as being among the group of doctors that a week or two earlier had huddled around the glow of the light boxes near the door. As they pointed and gesticulated at the brain scans, a grotesque shadow pantomime unfolded on the adjoining wall. I lay with my eyes half-closed, blinkering my mind to all but the progress of an ant across my arm and the parallel passage of bergamot that it induced across my palate. But my skin was crawling with more than six tarsal claws. I opened my eyes to see the medicine men staring at me. They had been looking into my head and seen something. Something that merited monitoring.

Now, the doctor revealed nothing. He asked how I felt, and for the first time since waking in the hospital weeks earlier, a fully formed utterance tumbled out of my throat: ‘Bathed in Pristine radiance.’ It was my voice but I had to turn over the strange auditory artefacts in my mind several times before admitting that they really came from me. They were not the words I had strained to reach on the high shelves of my cranium. Someone had rushed in while I groped, filled my basket with items and pushed me through the linguistic turnstile. I was left staring bewildered at the shiny word packages. That person was You.

That very first LipService patch was programmed for the Pristine bodywash brand. My response to the doctor’s question was copywritten to reference the tagline: ‘Remain bathed in radiance, long after you leave the tub.’ Of course, I knew that greetings serve to identify a brand to interlocutors and provide a context for a speaker’s LipService drift. I knew that, just as girls’ bodies bleed on reaching maturity, the brain must also bleed to come of age and that after my haemorrhage I would need to consume LipService to produce language – written and spoken – like all adults. But I never really accepted that another would speak for me. Or that your tackiness would adhere to me, too.

In the months before the bloodbath in my brain, I was sure I could regain language after coming of haemorrh-age and refuse LipService as long as I retained my particular deviancy – the ability to draw up flavours through my skin. My first conscious thought on waking in a hospital bed was raw with fear that I had been flayed, in one stroke, of language and of my taste-budding skin. I roiled in the sheets, desperately trying to stir up the sediment of their aroma. At first there was nothing; my skin felt thick with tongue fur. But eventually I chilled out to the ricotta sluggishness of the bed linen. I still held the savour of myself behind pursed lips.

Was that what the doctor had been looking for, too? But instead of the perversity his eye had watered for, he had gazed on the banality of another newly bled. He had almost turned away from me when he remembered himself and said, ‘Congratulations on completing neural pruning. Welcome to LipService,’ patting me distractedly on the shoulder before moving off to check on the other patients.

When the doctor and nurses had gone, some of the girls in the beds on the opposite side of the room from me started chatting. The newly styled LipServants emerged from aphasia like women from Selling LipService beneath large bonnet hairdryers, cooing and clucking at each other in delight. Fragments of a variety of LipService brand languages floated across to me.

… wake up to the kiss of Prince coffee …
… cool mint …
… can’t wait to give her the antibacterial treatment …
… so swept up in aroma’nce …
… a string of pearly whites is the best accessory…

The shy plump one on my right looked hopefully at me and was even drawing in breath to speak, but I turned on my side with my back to her. I didn’t feel up to giddily pretending that You and I are the same. I wouldn’t just click with You like plug and socket.

I liked them less knowing I was one of them – just as strokestricken, equally lost for words. We were as kinbled as our brain MRIs suggested, pinned up on the wall of the ward. Each one with an almost identical inkblot lesion – a black mark against our names and the naming of all things. I was supposed to feel bound by blood to those who shared my coming of haemorrh-age day and ward. But they were all waterslide happy to be carried along on your slippery sales pitches. And I couldn’t be. Besides, with the variety of LipService patches tag-lining our tongues, we were differentiated into products: the Prince coffee girl, the Soundbites toothpaste girl, the HailChef home appliances girl … And crossing the aisle in our supermarket world is an act of treachery.

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"South Africa's VhaVenda people have a role for a female leader - the Makhadzi ... Madonsela has chosen this earthly role model" - read an excerpt from No Longer Whispering to Power

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has achieved in seven years what few accomplish in a lifetime. She has been praised and vilified in equal measures during her time in office, often putting her at centre stage.

Speaking in Cape Town last year, Madonsela said that her role as Public Protector is akin to that of the Venda traditional spiritual female leader, the Makhadzi, who whispers truth to the king or the ruler. A ruler ignores the Makhadzi at his peril. During the speech, Madonsela joked that when the sounds of exchanges between the ruler and the Makhadzi grow loud, that is when the whispering has failed.

No Longer Whispering to Power is about Madonsela’s tenure as Public Protector, during which the whisper grew into a cry. It is the story of South Africa’s people’s attempt to hold power to account through the Office of the Public Protector.

Read an excerpt from this important book which stands as a record of the crucial work Madonsela has done, always acting without fear or favour, here:

Chapter 6, ‘Black Athena, Makhandzi, or enemy of the state?’

In the shadows of all human souls lurk symbols, images and imprints. Archetypes: dreamlike but real, they breathe life and meaning through the ages, and demand to become manifest. Without them, human beings feel lost and struggle to create meaning.

When psychologist Carl Jung developed the concept of the collective unconscious, the realm of the archetype, he courted controversy. Critics said his ideas were fatalistic and unscientific. But his idea is useful for our purposes, for understanding the interaction between Madonsela as Public Protector and the people of South Africa’s yearning for freedom.

Jung argued that the collective unconscious had a profound influence on the lives of individuals, who lived out its symbols and clothed them in meaning through their experiences. Any examination of the role of Thuli Madonsela in South African society must wrestle with archetypes.

We must ask whether a nation challenged with establishing a new system of justice, after so much injustice, created for itself an ideal and imposed that ideal’s associated expectations on Madonsela and her office. We must contemplate whether, through the echoes of time, we drew from our collective unconscious a projection of what a just leader in our society must be.

One needs to listen hard and carefully, and see with the mind’s eye that which is not obvious. As Madonsela says, ‘I need to listen well so that I hear what is not said.’

At a time when she was under huge strain from death threats and harassment, Madonsela delivered the keynote address at the launch of the Civics Academy at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Johannesburg, on 10 May 2016.

Addressing the gathering of young poets and activists, she told the story of how she had been on a bush retreat in a beautiful part of KwaZulu-Natal province with a group of people.

On a game drive one night, the skies were particularly generous, the Southern Cross glittering. The game ranger asked them to identify the most important group of stars for people of the south. The ranger explained to Madonsela and her group that, for centuries, the Southern Cross had helped southern Africans to find their way home.

Madonsela confessed that she could make neither head nor tail of north and south using the constellation. The guide showed her how. She was amazed and filled with joy.

The South African Constitution is to the people of South Africa what the Southern Cross has been to our forebears. ‘It is a way to guide society on its way to social justice and human development,’ she said.

Archetypes condense complex meanings into images and symbols. They help us to access, through the language of metaphor, the recesses of our collective history and heritage. We can see, then, that archetypes are hidden forms, transformed once they enter consciousness and given particular expression by individuals and their cultures. They are common to all humanity. Madonsela has said that our most precious collective heritage as South Africans is our Constitution.

We project our archetypal understandings onto other people, too. Arguably, the meaning and expectations thrust onto the figure of Thuli Madonsela are our soul longings for an Athena.

Protector of the city-state of Athens, Athena is one of the finest gods of Mount Olympus, and Zeus’s most favoured child. It is to Athena that Zeus gave the Aegis, the shield of the nation. In modern usage, doing something under someone or something’s aegis continues to mean doing things under the protection of a significant, powerful force for good; Madonsela came to be seen as doing her job under the aegis of the South African Constitution, which is perceived to have the wisdom of how to protect our democracy from internal and external challenges vested in it.

The gods of Mount Olympus often have Egyptian equivalents. Athena’s is Ma’at, the goddess of justice, truth, law, morality and balance, among other things. Ma’at wears an ostrich feather that represents truth. On the road to the afterlife, souls would come before her throne to be weighed against her feather. If a soul was found to be unburdened by evil and greed, it passed the test of justice and could proceed.

Madonsela herself responded to society’s expectations that she be a figure like Caesar’s wife, beyond reproach and above suspicion, by accepting an ascetic life solely focused on the task of helping the powerless in society to achieve just outcomes. In doing so, she sought to define her role in South African society by using Venda mythology and jurisprudence.

South Africa’s VhaVenda people have a role for a female leader – the Makhadzi, the just one, the conscience of the nation. Madonsela has chosen this earthly role model. Explaining her choice, she says.

The Makhadzi, an aunt, is a non-political figure who serves as a buffer between the ruler and the people. [… The Makhadzi] enhances the voice of the people while serving as the king’s eyes, ears and conscience. [He ignores her] at his own peril.

In Madonsela’s speech to the 11th Biennial Convocation of Advocates Africa, held in Cape Town in August 2015, she said that the Makhadzi ‘whispers truth to the king’, or to those in power, ‘in much the same way as her office speaks truth to leaders in government’; her audience broke into laughter when she said that, when altercations between the Public Protector and government reach the public sphere, the whispering has not been successful.

So, Madonsela – who once said that she would have loved to have become an archaeologist had she not become a lawyer – has excavated the institution of the Makhadzi from ruin and given it mainstream appeal. In doing so, she has built a bridge between the present and the past.

Madonsela puts it this way: ‘In my office, we try to incorporate the Makhadzi way. We seek to reconcile the state through righting administrative wrongs of the state, exacting accountability and entrenching sustainable good governance.’

No Longer Whispering to Power

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No Longer Whispering to Power is also available as an eBook.