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"The book is to show us who we are and what South Africa is about" - Hope Malau, launch of Johanne 14

On Thursday the 18th of May, Quivertree Publications hosted several guests at the Lunch Launch of Hope Maulu’s Johanne 14. Guests were wined and dined while embarking on a culinary journey through the townships of South Africa. Linda Mali of Edgars Club Magazine facilitated the conversation on the book that she described as being, “more than just a collection of recipes.”

The rich aromas of African cuisine filled the air at Quivertree. Guests were abuzz and pleasantly greeted with an option to taste home-made Ginger beer, Mageu, or both. The smells and tastes were reminiscent of hearty family Sunday lunches.

Malau, who grew up in Jouberton, Kleksdorp, explained that the book brings about an understanding of how the township works. The title, Johanne 14, came about because he loves the scripture John 14, “you should not let your hearts be troubled if you have cabbage in the home,” he chuckles. The award winning chef goes on to explain that cabbage is a staple in the township because “it only costs R5 a head,” and is so versatile, supposedly taking away the troubles of everyday cooking, he has come to call it Johanne 14.

From a young age, the food writer was exposed to different tastes and styles of cooking. He spent a lot of time in a mine kitchen where his father worked and took a liking to the chef. Living in a diverse mining community, Malau experienced foods from all over South Africa. He fondly remembers his mother and grandmother going to cook at community functions, “Where are you going, Mama?” he would ask, “I’m going to peel [vegetables],” and he wouldn’t see her for the rest of the day. “Whether you knew the family or not, you had to help,” he recalls.

Out of over 60 recipes that the book showcases, Malau says his favourite is the tripe because, as his wife describes it, “It goes down.” He goes on to say that while he included mostly simple recipes, there are a few that are “bonding experiences with multidimensional flavours” such as the cow trotters. “I did not want the book to be too finicky” Malau explains, “The book is for everyone. To show us who we are and what SA is about. It’s about making a lot from a little [and] taking that little bit of money that you have and making it taste magical.” This is evidenced is the use of unconventional ingredients such as Cremora coffee creamer in samp, to mention a few.

Quivertree ended off the launch with a taste journey through the pages of Johanne 14 and the streets of South African townships that had many of the guests sharing their own experiences with food and life in South Africa and Africa as a whole. Malau says the book is a celebration of who he is. – Kasuba Stuurman, @kasuba_sun



Johanne 14

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Launch: No Longer Whispering to Power at David Krut, Cape Town

No Longer Whispering to Power: The Story of Thuli MadonselaDavid Krut Projects and Jonathan Ball Publishers are pleased to invite you to the book launch of No Longer Whispering to Power – The Story of Thuli Madonsela.

No Longer Whispering to Power is about Thuli Madonsela’s tenure as Public Protector, during which the whisper turned into a cry. It is the story of the South African people’s attempt to hold power to account through the Office of the Public Protector. More significantly, this important book stands as a record of the crucial work Madonsela has done, always acting without fear or favour.

Author Thandeka Gqubele has practised as a journalist and worked in the media for nearly three decades. She has followed the story of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela with great dedication and passion.

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Hope Malau's Johanne 14: Real South African Food now available

Johanne 14 explores the secrets of simple, home-cooked meals in South Africa’s townships.

Told through the eyes of award-winning food writer Hope Malau, the book features authentic, traditional dishes cooked with love, and acknowledges the ability of countless unsung kitchen heroes – the mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings – to make culinary magic with often very little.

It is a vital glimpse into South African township life; moreover, it is a celebration of culture, resilience, human spirit, community and family – through the shared meal.

A head of cabbage can be cooked in so many different ways; it is inexpensive and goes with anything or nothing at all.

You can eat it raw, boil it or fry it, combine it with any other vegetable and it will give you a wholesome meal every time.

Hence it was dubbed Johanne 14 – if you have cabbage you should not let your heart be troubled.
Chef Hope Malau grew up in Klerksdorp in the North West Province eating traditional Sotho food prepared by his dad, who worked in a mine kitchen. Instilled with a deep love for cooking from an early age, Hope went on to study at the Professional Cooking Academy in Rustenburg before garnering experience at various restaurants in Cape Town. Hope is currently the food editor for DRUM magazine and has also won the prestigious Galliova Food Writer of the Year for the past two consecutive years.

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WiSER discussion: Christa Kuljian on the case of human origins

Christa Kuljian, the author of the acclaimed Darwin’s Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins will be in discussion with Hlonipha Mokoena on Wednesday 17 May, at Wits University’s WiSER Seminar Room. The discussion will be chaired by Sarah Nutall.

Scientists and their research are often shaped by the prevailing social and political context. Darwin’s Hunch, recently shortlisted for the prestigious 2017 Alan Paton Award for Non-Fiction, explores this trend, and provides fresh insight on the search for human origins in South Africa over the past century.

Kuljian asks “What impact did colonialism have on the views of scientists studying human evolution in the early twentieth century? What influence did apartheid have on the search? How have the changing scientific views about race, and racism, affected efforts to understand human evolution?”

Darwin’s Hunch was published in November 2016. We will take a close and sustained look at the arguments Kuljian makes, the pressures that her book puts on the scientific community in South Africa, the implications of publishing this book at this time, and the outcomes and challenges, political and social, of what we now know, through this detailed and meticulous research.

Professor Mokoena will engage Christa Kuljian in bold, outspoken and forthright discussion on this complicated and contested topic.

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Writing oral histories workshop with Michael Nest

Cape Town launch: Son by Neil Sonnekus

Melinda Ferguson Books invites you to the launch of Son by Neil Sonnekus. Sonnekus will be in conversation with Jonathan Ancer, the best-selling author of Spy – Uncovering Craig Williamson.

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