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Launch: Race Otherwise by Zimitri Erasmus (18 September)

Race Otherwise brings together the full amplitude of Zimitri Erasmus’s thinking about how race works. It tunes into registers both personal and social. It is not without indignation, and not … insensitive to emotion and … the anger inside South Africa. It is a book that is not afraid of questions of affect. Eros and love, Erasmus urges, are not separable from the hard work of thinking.’ – Crain Soudien, CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa

How is ‘race’ determined? Is it your DNA? The community that you were raised in? The way others see you or the way you see yourself?

In Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa Zimitri Erasmus questions the notion that one can know race with one’s eyes, with racial categories and with genetic ancestry tests. She moves between the intimate probing of racial identities as we experience them individually, and analysis of the global historical forces that have created these identities and woven them into our thinking about what it means to be ‘human’.

Starting from her own family’s journeys through regions of the world and ascribed racial identities, she develops her argument about how it is possible to recognise the pervasiveness of race thinking without submitting to its power. Drawing on the theoretical work of Frantz Fanon, Sylvia Wynter and others, Erasmus argues for a new way of ‘coming to know otherwise’, of seeing the boundaries between racial identities as thresholds to be crossed, through politically charged acts of imagination and love.

Zimitri Erasmus is a professor of Sociology in the department of Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She is the editor of the seminal volume Coloured by History, Shaped by Place: New Perspectives on Coloured Identities in Cape Town (2001) and in 2010 she was a UCT-Harvard Mandela Mellon Fellow. Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa is her first monograph.

Race Otherwise

Book details

Launch: The Cowboy Capitalist (19 September)

“Charles van Onselen’s richly informative and gripping Cowboy Capitalist offers intrigue, betrayal and suspense worthy of a spy thriller in a deeply documented account of international entrepreneurial capitalism, labor exploitation, and political conspiracy in the age of imperialism.” – Robert E. May, Professor Emeritus of History, Purdue

The Jameson Raid was a pivotal moment in the history of South Africa, linking events from the Anglo-Boer War to the declaration of the Union of South Africa in 1910. For over a century the failed revolution has been interpreted through the lens of British imperialism, with responsibility laid at the feet of Cecil John Rhodes. Yet the wild adventurism that characterised the raid resembles a cowboy expedition more than a serious attempt to overthrow a Boer government.

In The Cowboy Capitalist, Charles van Onselen challenges a historiography of over 120 years, locating the raid in American rather than British history and forcing us to rethink the histories of at least three nations. Through a close look at the little-remembered figure of John Hays Hammond, a confidant of both Rhodes and Jameson, he discovers the American Old West on the South African Highveld.

This radical reinterpretation challenges the commonly held belief that the Jameson Raid was quintessentially British and, in doing so, drives splinters into our understanding of events as far forward as South Africa’s critical 1948 general election, with which the foundations of Grand Apartheid were laid.

Charles van Onselen is the acclaimed author of several books including The Fox and the Flies, Masked Raiders, and The Seed is Mine, which won the Alan Paton in 1997 and was voted as one of the best books to emerge from Africa in the 20th century. His latest book, Showdown at the Red Lion, has been opted for a TV series. Van Onselen has been honoured with visiting fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and Oxford, and was the inaugural Oppenheimer Fellow at Harvard’s WEB Du Bois Institute. He is currently Research Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria.

The Cowboy Capitalist

Book details

Five must-sees at the Future Nation Schools Book Fair and Literary Festival

With September being Heritage month, Future Nation Schools is hosting a Book Fair focused on all things African – literature, authors, art, music and publishers.

It’s a day showcasing African literature, writers, poetry and arts.

Feeding Future Nation School’s vision of spearheading the African education revolution through driving content relevant to the continent, the latest literary offering is setting the agenda for local book discussions.

The first of its kind, this new literary festival promises to be multi-faceted event with a programme for children, adults and teens. The all-day event will also include various partners and stakeholders in the education and publishing space. Visitors will also have a chance to meet some of their favourite authors and icons, including Mandla Langa, Khaya Dlanga, Hugh Masekela and Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh.

Five reasons to save the date:

Women and Literature

A strong lineup of female speakers including Elinor Sisulu, Redi Tlhabi, Natalia Molebatsi and Dr Judy Dlamini will be joining the conversation

Book publisher exhibition

An exhibition showcasing a variety of publishers and their latest offerings will include the likes of African Flavour Books, MacMillan, Oxford University Press and Juta

African focused discussions

A range of fascinating and engaging discussions around content taking place with a noteworthy speaker lineup

Passing on of knowledge

Sifiso Learning Group’s founder, Sizwe Nxasana will be donating books focused on a variety of educational interests from technology to African education. These will be donated to Walter Sisulu University and the Vincent Tshabalala Education Trust operating in Alexandra township. Feel free to bring along a book to donate on the day

Great conversations

Get a chance to speak to your favourite author, artist and musician. Have a debate with one of our publishers on digital versus print. Better yet, get a taste of African literature in the company of the greatest African minds. Including topics such as “Does Shakespeare have a place in African literature”

For more information and to view the programme visit http://fnsbookfair.africa

Paul Theron in conversation with Lorenzo Fioramonti (19 September)

Paul Theron, CEO of Vestact and contributor to the CNBC Africa show Hotstoxx will interview Lorenzo Fioramonti, author of Wellbeing Economy.

This is sure to be both interesting and thought provoking in a country where existing practices don’t work and we seem to be running out of options. Come and be part of the solution!

Using real-life examples and innovative research, acclaimed political economist Lorenzo Fioramonti lays bare society’s perverse obsession with economic growth by showing its many flaws, paradoxes and inconsistencies. He argues that the pursuit of growth often results in more losses than gains and in damage, inequalities and conflicts. By breaking free from the growth mantra, we can build a better society that puts the wellbeing of all at its centre. A wellbeing economy would have tremendous impact on everything we do, boosting small businesses and empowering citizens as the collective leaders of tomorrow. Wellbeing Economy is a manifesto for radical change in South Africa and beyond.

Lorenzo Fioramonti is a professor of Political Economy at the University of Pretoria, where he directs the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (www.governanceinnovation.org). He also holds the UNESCO-UNU Chair in Regional Integration, Migration and Free Movement of People and is the first president of the European Union Studies Association of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Paul Theron is the co-host of the Hot Stoxx show on CNBC Africa. He is also the founder and CEO of Vestact, a Johannesburg private client asset management firm. Theron was named in 2013 as one of The 106 Finance People You Have To Follow On Twitter by Business Insider.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 19 September 2017
  • Time: 6:30 PM for 6:45 PM
  • Venue: Glenda’s Restaurant, Glenda’s, Hyde Park Shopping Centre, 285 Jan Smuts Avenue | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Paul Theron
  • Cover charge: R350, includes a delicious supper and wine
  • RSVP: Pippa Smith, pippa@thebookrevue.co.za or Camilla Twigg, camillatwigg@mweb.co.za
    Book Details

Launch: isiSheshwe by Juliette Leeb-du Toit (14 September)

The cross-cultural usage of a particular cloth type – blueprint – is central to South African cultural history.

Known locally as seshoeshoe or isishweshwe, among many other localised names, South African blueprint originated in the Far East and East Asia.

Adapted and absorbed by the West, blueprint in Africa was originally associated with trade, coercion, colonisation, Westernisation, religious conversion and even slavery, but residing within its hues and patterns was a resonance that endured.

The cloth came to reflect histories of hardship, courage and survival, but it also conveyed the taste and aesthetic predilections of its users, preferences often shared across racial and cultural divides.

In its indigenisation, isishweshwe has subverted its former history and alien origins and has come to reflect the authority of its users and their culture, conveying resilience, innovation and adaptation and above all a distinctive South Africanness.

In this beautifully illustrated book Juliette Leeb-du Toit traces the origins of the cloth, its early usage and cultural adaptations, and its emerging regional, cultural and aesthetic significance.

In examining its usage and current national significance, she highlights some of the salient features associated with histories of indigenisation.

An art historian who has a particular interest in African and South African art, Juliette Leeb-du Toit has also had a lifelong interest in design and textiles. She is currently engaged in the recovery of modernisms in design history, the impact of German modernism in South Africa and the impact of China on the arts in South Africa.

Isishweshwe

Book details

Launch: Inside Apartheid's Prison by Raymond Suttner (4 October)

First published by Oceanbooks, New York and Melbourne, and University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, in 2001, Inside Apartheid’s Prison was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Alan Paton award in 2002.

In the public imagination the struggle that saw the end of apartheid and inauguration of a democratic South Africa is seen as one waged by black people who were often imprisoned or killed for their efforts. Raymond Suttner, an academic, is one of a small group of white South Africans who was imprisoned for his efforts to overthrow the apartheid regime.

He was first arrested in 1975 and tortured with electric shocks because he refused to supply information to the police. He then served eight years for underground activities for the African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party (SACP).

After his release in 1983, he returned to the struggle and was forced to go underground to evade arrest, but was re-detained in 1986 for 27 months; 18 of these being spent in solitary confinement.

In the last months of this detention Suttner was allowed to have a pet lovebird, which he tamed and used to keep inside his tracksuit. When he was eventually released from detention in September 1988 the bird was on his shoulder.

Suttner was held under stringent house arrest conditions, imposed to impede further political activities. He however defied his house arrest restrictions and attended an Organisation for African Unity meeting in Harare, where he remained for five months. Shortly after his return to SA, when he anticipated being re-arrested, the state of emergency was lifted and the ANC and other banned organisations were unbanned.

The book describes Suttner’s experience of prison in a low-key, unromantic voice, providing the texture of prison life. This ‘struggle memoir’ is also intensely personal, as Suttner is not averse to admitting his fears and anxieties.

The new edition contains an afterword where Suttner describes his break with the ANC and SACP. But he argues that the reasons for his rupturing this connection that had been so important to his life were the same ethical reasons that had led him to join in the first place. He remains convinced that what he did was right and continues to act in accordance with those convictions.

Inside Apartheid's Prison

Book details