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PE Book Launch: I'm the Girl Who Was Raped by Michelle Hattingh

I'm the Girl Who Was RapedMichelle HattinghFogarty’s and Modjaji Books invite you to the Port Elizabeth launch of I’m the Girl Who Was Raped, a memoir by Michelle Hattingh. The author comes from Port Elizabeth, so she is back in her home town talking about her incredibly courageous book.

“Compelling, clear and beautiful writing on such a necessary topic. She shatters rape myths on every page.” Jen Thorpe, gender activist and author of The Peculiars.

“Many people think middle class women are magically immune to rape or that if they are raped their easy access to the resources they need will be everything they need to recover completely. A book that discusses the cross cutting nature of the pain all women must feel when a man rapes them can only be welcomed in a time when communities across South Africa struggle with high rape rates.” Kathleen Dey of Rape Crisis

More about the book:
That morning, Michelle presented her Psychology honours thesis on men’s perceptions of rape. She started her presentation like this, “A woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read …” On that same evening, she goes to a party to celebrate attaining her degree. She and a friend go to the beach; the friend has something she wants to discuss. They are both robbed, assaulted and raped. Within minutes of getting help, Michelle realises she’ll never be herself again. She’s now “the girl who was raped.”

This book is Michelle’s fight to be herself again. Of the taint she feels, despite the support and resources at her disposal as the loved child of a successful middle-class family. Of the fall-out to friendships, job, identity. It’s Michelle’s brave way of standing up for the women in South Africa who are raped every day.

About the author:

Michelle Hattingh was born in South Africa in 1988. She attended school in Port Elizabeth and studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Stellenbosch University. She went on to do her Honours in Psychology at Cape Town University and now lives in Cape Town. Michelle works as senior online content producer at Marie Claire SA. Her work has been published in Elle SA, Marie Claire SA and Mail & Guardian. I’m the Girl Who Was Raped is her first book.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 12 May 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: GFI Gallery, 30 Park Drive, Central, Port Elizabeth
  • Guest Speaker: Emily Buchanan
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine and snacks
  • RSVP: Fogarty’s,, 041 368 1425

I'm the Girl Who Was Raped
Book Details

Fishing for a future

A shadow looms over the admirable initiative launched this week to finally grant fishing rights to small-scale fishers. Unless the disproportionately large share of marine resources currently allocated to the commercial fishing sector is cut, there will be nothing left to hand out. The process will be a farce.

Over 95% of all marine resources are reserved for commercial rights’ holders. Quotas for ten species – including linefish, abalone and West Coast rock lobster – are currently up for re-allocation to commercial rights holders in the 2015-2016 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP).  Unless this proportion is substantially reduced, the new policy will be a non-starter.

The Small Scale Fishing Policy has just been signed into law with an amendment to the flawed Marine Living Resources Act of 1998 which recognised only three categories of fishers: commercial, subsistence and leisure.  The division was stark: those with subsistence and leisure rights were entitled to consume but not sell what they caught.

Only commercial rights holders could sell. In a stroke, this outlawed the traditional livelihoods of most of the 30,000 odd fishers in villages along the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal provinces who for decades had fished to feed their families and sold the rest of their catch.  Amounts were negligible but enough to keep poverty at bay in areas where unemployment was high and fishing was the only source of income.

There is a convincing argument that criminalising the harvesting of a resource considered to be their god-given right has damaged these communities.  Fishing became “poaching”. Gangs took over the marketing of the more valuable species such as abalone. They brought in drugs and guns. But they also enabled parents to pay school fees and feed their children.

Some individuals were awarded commercial fishing rights and this sowed divisions and deepened inequalities in communities which had been relatively egalitarian.

The new policy introduces a fourth category: Small Scale fishers. Craig Smith, Director of Small Scale Fisheries, argues that a 50% share of linefish should be reserved for these small scale fishers as well as up to 100% of near-shore resources such as mussels, abalone and lobster.  Commercial fishers can afford the big, fast boats required to exploit the deep seas.

The person responsible for making this decision is the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana. Since 1994, the colour of those awarded the right to mine the ocean’s resources has changed considerably but they still overwhelmingly represent the more powerful and politically connected. Giving small scale fishers a generous slice of the cake will indicate a new willingness to cater to the poor, rather than an elite.

The policy has taken over a decade to be implemented. It originated in a court case brought by an NGO, Masifundise, to the Equity Court, arguing that the Marine Living Resources Act created inequality.  It infringed the fishers’ constitutional rights to food security and the protection of  their traditional culture.

The outcome was a court order to the government to create a small scale fishing policy.  Masifundise has threatened to go back to the Equality Court if the Minister fails to give the small scale fishers an appropriate share.

Meanwhile, there is much excitement around the next stage of the process: the identification of suitable candidates. Representatives of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (DAFF) will visit 280 communities on the east and west coasts over the next few weeks. In school and community halls – and even in one case “an open space next to the [Fish] river” – fishers will queue up with their ID books and verifiable testimony from a fellow community member that they have fished for a living over at least the past ten years.

Dates and venues have been established for each community, advertised on radio, in newspapers and posters in each area. The fishers have only one chance to apply. If they miss their allocated day, they will not be considered. Once all the applications are in, DAFF officials and community representatives will adjudicate on each case.

The Small Scale fishing policy is ambitious: it allocates quotas not to individuals but to co-operatives. There will be only one co-op per community. Each must have at least 20 members. Fishers who currently hold commercial rights will be required to relinquish them if they become members of the co-op.

A host of services will be available to co-op members, including courses in marketing, financial management and spin-off activities such as tourism. The plan is to leverage the co-ops to promote development in rural areas.

What’s more, a sense of justice could be reinstated. If communities again feel a sense of ownership over marine resources, it is hoped that they will feel responsible for protecting them.

McGregor is a visiting researcher at The Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA) at the University of Cape Town.

 This article first appeared in GroundUp


Winners of the 2015 Artists In Residency Programme announced - including Masande Ntshanga

Winners of the 2015 Artists In Residency Programme announced


The ReactiveAlert! The Africa Centre has announced the winners of the 2015 Artists In Residency Programme.

The residencies, which have been running since 2011, are available to artists in all stages of career development across all disciplines: visual arts, performing arts, creative and literary arts, film, music and curatorial practice. Winners are given the opportunity to participate in residency programmes throughout the world.

The Africa Centre received a large number of applications this year, and shortlisted over 65 artists in December.

Nine winners have been announced, including two writers: South African Masande Ntshanga (left) and Nana Oforiatta Ayim from Ghana.

Congratulations to the winners!

2015 Artists In Residency Programme winners:

Collin Sekajugo (Uganda | Visual Artist) – Jiwar, Spain
Francois Knoetze (South Africa | Visual Artist) – Nafasi Arts Space, Tanzania
Kato Change (Kenya | Performance Artist) – Instituto Sacatar, Brazil
Liza Grobler (South Africa | Visual Artist) – Khoj, India
Masande Ntshanga (South Africa | Author) – Bundanon Trust, Australia
Nana Oforiatta Ayim (Ghana | Author) – Instituto Sacatar, Brazil
Richard Mudariki (Zimbabwe | Visual Artist) – Fountainhead, USA
Tamrat Gezahagne Gero (Ethiopia | Visual Artist) – Jiwar, Spain
Wallen Mapondera (Zimbabwe | Visual Artist) – Kuona Trust, Kenya

Image of Nana Oforiatta Ayim courtesy of Asiko Art School

Book details

Join Jane Griffiths for a talk on Jane's Delicious Urban Gardening at Windmill on Main

Invite to Jane Griffiths's book launch

Jane’s Delicious Urban GardeningThe Beaulieu Garden Club invites you to a talk by Jane Griffiths to launch her latest book, Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening.

Griffiths’s bestselling book, Jane’s Delicious Garden, led to a vegetable revolution in South Africa, with thousands of people following in her footsteps. Her latest book, Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening, is packed with inspirational ideas and practical information on all aspects of eco urban living.

At the talk, hosted by the Windmill on Main, Griffiths will show you just how easy it is to achieve a flourishing food garden, no matter how small your space.

The event takes place on Wednesday, 17 February at 9:30 for 10 AM. Tickets cost R170. Refreshments will be served and there will be fabulous prizes up for grabs.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 17 February 2016
  • Time: 9:30 AM for 10:00 AM
  • Venue: Windmill on Main
    54 Main Road (M71), corner Ash Road
    Kyalami, between Lonehill and Kyalami
    (Please note that different GPSess also seem to provide different results and sometimes Main Road is referred to as MacGregor Road) | Map
  • Refreshments will be served
  • Cover charge: R170
  • RSVP:, 083 300 6402

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Book Details

Don't miss the Wits Origins Centre talk on Climate Change by Mary Scholes, Mike Lucas and Robert Scholes

Climate Change: Briefings from Southern AfricaWits University Press and the Origins Centre invite you to a public lecture on climate change with Climate Change: Briefings from Southern Africa co-authors Mary Scholes, Mike Lucas and Robert Scholes.

The lecture will focus on the projected impacts of human-caused climate change on South Africa, and how we may be affected by the greenhouse gas reduction agreement reached in Paris in December 2015.

This lecture accompanies the book, published by Wits University Press, and the current exhibition at the Origins Centre.

The lecture takes place on Tuesday, 2 February at 6 for 6:30 PM. Tickets cost R60 for adults, R48 for Wits staff and R30 for students and can be purchased on Webtickets.

Question you can expect to be answered include:

How hot will it get?
Will South Africa run out of water?
Are South Africa’s birds taking flight?
Do cow-farts really cause global warming?
Can solar and wind power meet our energy needs?
How can I reduce my carbon footprint?

See you there!

Event Details


Book Details

How to grow your own food in the city: An excerpt from Jane's Delicious Urban Gardening

How to grow your own food in the city: An excerpt from Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening

Jane’s Delicious Urban GardeningJane Griffiths is the author of the bestselling Jane’s Delicious Garden, which led to a vegetable revolution in South Africa.

Jane’s Delicious Kitchen and Jane’s Delicious Herbs followed, but Griffiths’s latest book, released at the end of last year, is Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening.

In her newest, Griffiths offers inspirational ideas and practical information for those who love living in the city but dream about growing their own wholesome fruit and vegetables.

Read the Introduction:

We live in an old double-storey house covered with green creeper – literally a ‘green house’. When we moved in, there was a classic English-style garden with lawns, roses and a large swimming pool. In the 22 years that we have lived here, much has changed. Most of the lawn has given way to a vegetable garden or beds planted with herbs and water-wise plants. The roses intermingle with fruit trees and the pool is now filtered by a wetland with fish, frogs and water plants. Under the bay tree live Itchy and Scratchy, my two egg- and manure-producing hens. A vertical strawberry garden wraps the rainwater harvesting tank and succulents cover the greywater tank. Outside the back door, containers and pots overflow with edibles and herbs. In every available space are fruit trees, including ones in pots and espaliered against sunny walls. At last count our urban orchard included 24 fruit trees and 10 different types of berries and vines – and we live in the middle of the largest city in South Africa: Johannesburg.

When I wrote my first book, Jane’s Delicious Garden, I knew hardly anyone who grew their own food. That has changed. Growing organic vegetables, once a fringe activity, is now mainstream. When people begin growing their own food, it changes them. Awareness of the environment increases as resources such as water, space and nutrients become important. Once the vegetable gardening bug bites, people begin growing herbs and then fruit. They become avid recyclers and junk collectors. When eating out they want to know the origin of their food and whether it has been farmed ethically. Dinner conversations include heirloom seeds and composting tips. These small changes multiply and make a big difference.

I have been both a participant and a beneficiary of this expansion. I have learned (and continue to learn) so much more about growing food and sustainable living since I wrote my first book seven years ago. I’ve been lucky enough to meet many inspirational, passionate and knowledgeable food gardeners. Urbanites, with no desire to move to a farm or smallholding, are finding innovative and productive ways of growing healthy organic food in limited city spaces. From people in the queue at the supermarket, who proudly show me cell phone photographs of their vegetable gardens, to women in townships who are growing food for Aids orphans, from roof tops to converted bowling greens, public alleyways to pavement gardens, there is a growing green revolution spreading throughout South Africa. With predictions that by 2050, up to 70 per cent of our population will be living in cities, and food production will need to double to feed an increasingly affluent population, urban farming will supply the food of our future.

However much I like the idea of living off the grid, becoming completely self-sufficient while living in the city is a rather daunting idea. Instead, I aim to create an environment that is as eco-friendly as possible. Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening is about exploring and sharing ways that urbanites can live a more connected and sustainable life in the city. How, even with our demanding schedules, we can become a part of nature instead of living apart from nature. Whether it’s growing vegetables or harvesting rainwater, contributing kitchen waste to a community farm’s compost heap or converting a chemical pool to a natural one, all urban dwellers would benefit if each of us took a few steps towards becoming more environmentally aware urban farmers. As our gardens transform slowly into urban oases, they improve the quality of our lives and reduce our impact on the environment. By creating an interconnected ecosystem we lessen our reliance on increasingly unstable urban supply systems.

In our 21st century of absolute convenience and consumerism, we have become disconnected from nature. We somehow believe that not only can we live separately from nature, but that we can also take as much as we want without giving anything back. And that is not how a successful relationship works. We are a part of nature and if we continue to live as if we are a privileged and separate species, we risk losing everything. The multitude of problems facing us as human beings on this planet can be overwhelming and daunting. But one thing each and every one of us can do is to take personal responsibility to cultivate a better relationship with the piece of planet on which we live.

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