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"We remembered blundering, in fog, into a nudist colony" - Terry Bell shares anecdotes from A hat, a kayak and dreams of Dar

Published in the Sunday Times

It was a book that was supposed to have been written as we travelled half a century ago. But all the notes and everything else we owned was lost, stolen in Madrid. That followed several months of great difficulty being stranded in Equatorial Guinea, being robbed at gunpoint in what was then Zaire and finally arriving in Ndola on Zambia’s Copperbelt, in what our contemporaries described as “an emaciated condition”.

It was a tumultuous time politically in the region and there was no thought of going back to a book I had tentatively dubbed: Paddle Dammit! This after the need for my partner and wife, Barbara, and I to paddle frantically to avoid collisions with ships coming upstream on the Rhone as we careered downstream.

Two years in Zambia were followed by time in Botswana and New Zealand, where a decade after we had paddled down the Thames in London, bound for Dar es Salaam, we were presented with an album of postcards sent by Barbara to her parents throughout our travels. With them came 11 tapes made on a portable reel-to-reel tape recorder during the latter part of our journeying.
 

There were no machines we could play them on and so they were stored with the postcard album – and we forgot about them. But we often talked about what we had done, the humorous moments and the difficulties. We were encouraged to write up the journey of both a hat and a kayak called Amandla.

I didn’t want to rely on fallible memory and thought that to write such a personal memoir would be self-indulgent. Authors John and Erica Platter disagreed and, encouraged, we took the postcards out of the album and discovered, on the backs, a diary of our journeying. All but one of the tapes were also transcribed onto CDs.

I realised we had an accurate record of where we had been, what we had done and when. Even what we had eaten. To write it up would be a break from the generally worrying areas of economics, politics and labour that I concentrate on; a lighter moment about a more hopeful time when everything seemed possible.

“How on earth do you cook, travelling in a kayak?” asked John Platter. Barbara set to, drawing up a selection of the recipes used for one-pot camping cuisine. We remembered the incidents of blundering, in fog, into a nudist colony; of the terror of our first experience with 250 ton barges; of the roar of the mistral wind and the calm, lovely canals.

It was therapeutic. And it underlined for us how liberating it had been and how hopeful the world had seemed as we blundered our way from swinging ’60s London through the waterways of France into the Mediterranean.

We learned much, lessons that still seem pertinent today. . .

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Zapiro's back. His target? 2017, aka the year of Juju's reboot, Zille's tweets, and a certain shebeen in Saxonwold...

No little thorn in the flesh or irritating fly in the ointment, Zapiro just cannot be ignored.

It’s been one helluva year. We’ve held our breath thinking Zuma may resign. We’ve seen Juju re-booted and Zille tweeted out. Racial tensions rise, tempers and fires flare. Still the rich get richer and the poor get Khayelitsha.

We’ve seen Trump’s megalomania, Bell Pottinger’s spin and Pravin’s fightback, cadres captured and Cabinet’s relocation to Saxonwold Shebeen.

GuptaLeaks threaten to drown us and as the flood rises the rodents scatter.

And who better to make sense of this than Zapiro, political analyst, cartoonist and agent provocateur.

He has the ability to knock the air out of us, to rock us back in our seats, to force us bolt upright with a 1000-watt jolt of electrifying shock. He makes us angry, he makes us laugh and he makes us think. He shines a light on the elephant in the room, presents the emperor in all his naked glory. Impossible to brush off, he is determined to provoke a response.

When all around is crumbling, when fake news and zipped lips conceal the truth, Zapiro comes to the rescue. With the dissecting eye of a surgeon, the rapier-like point of his pen exposes flimflam, and reveals with a line what lies behind the action.

Zapiro is Jonathan Shapiro. Born in 1958, he went through architecture at UCT, conscription, activism, detention and a Fulbright scholarship to New York before establishing himself as South Africa’s best-known cartoonist. He has been the editorial cartoonist for the Sunday Times since 1998 and Daily Maverick starting 2017. Previously he was editorial cartoonist for Mail & Guardian and for The Times. He was also editorial cartoonist for Sowetan and Independent Newspapers. He has published 21 best-selling annuals as well as The Mandela Files, VuvuzelaNation (a collection of his sporting cartoons) and DemoCrazy (his cartoon collection on SA’s 20-year trip.)

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Book Launch: A hat, a kayak and dreams of Dar by Terry Bell

A hat, a kayak and dreams of DarJohn Platter says it’s “a terrific, uproarious story about the pluckiest, most ham-fisted, naïve, fun-loving and articulate couple ever to set off in a kayak.” – Join Terry Bell for the launch of his hilarious memoir, “A hat, a kayak and dreams of Dar”.

In December 1965, in a smoke-filled hotel room in Morocco, South African journalist Terry Bell accepted a challenge: to paddle a kayak from London to Tangier.

At the time, Terry and his wife Barbara were living as political exiles in London. By August 1967, they agreed it was time to get back to Africa. But they decided to up the ante.

Their plan: paddle 11 000 kilometres from England to Dar es Salaam in a 5-metre glass fibre kayak.

“You will paddle across waters high and low, cruise French canals, scrabble around the back streets of the Mediterranean world, hitchhike and travel in improbable vehicles across miles of desert before reaching the destination …” – Sholto Cross

“This is a crazy journey only true love could tolerate, in a time where everything seemed possible.” – Don Pinnock

Includes: a section on culinary kayaking – the recipes that Barbara cooked along the way.

“I’ll travel anywhere with Terry by land – but in a boat, never again! – Barbara Bell

About the author: A journalist and labour commentator, Terry Bell is author of several books, including Unfinished Business: South Africa, Apartheid and Truth. He co-authored Fordsburg Fighter: the journey of an MK volunteer (ISBN 9780994674425) with Amin Cajee in 2016.

Event Details

Book Details

Book Launch: A hat, a kayak and dreams of Dar by Terry Bell

A hat, a kayak and dreams of DarAdventurer Don Pinnock talks misadventure with author Terry Bell. Join us for the Cape Town launch of this hilarious memoir about an ill-fated kayaking trip.

In December 1965, in a smoke-filled hotel room in Morocco, South African journalist Terry Bell accepted a challenge: to paddle a kayak from London to Tangier.

At the time, Terry and his wife Barbara were living as political exiles in London. By August 1967, they agreed it was time to get back to Africa. But they decided to up the ante.

Their plan: paddle 11 000 kilometres from England to Dar es Salaam in a 5-metre glass fibre kayak.

“A terrific, uproarious story about the pluckiest, most ham-fisted, naïve, fun-loving and articulate couple ever to set off in a kayak.” – John Platter

“You will paddle across waters high and low, cruise French canals, scrabble around the back streets of the Mediterranean world, hitchhike and travel in improbable vehicles across miles of desert before reaching the destination …” – Sholto Cross

The book includes a section on culinary kayaking – the recipes that Barbara cooked along the way.

About the author: A journalist and labour commentator, Terry Bell is author of several books, including Unfinished Business: South Africa, Apartheid and Truth. He co-authored Fordsburg Fighter: the journey of an MK volunteer (ISBN 9780994674425) with Amin Cajee in 2016.

Event Details

Book Details

Wenners van kykNet-Rapport-boekpryse 2017 bekend

Die wenners van die kykNET-Rapport-boekpryse – die grootste pryse van hul soort in Afrikaans – is op Saterdag 30 September 2017 in Kaapstad bekend gemaak. Die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys vir die beste debuutroman in Afrikaans asook die twee kykNET-Rapportpryse vir boekresensent van die jaar is by dieselfde geleentheid oorhandig.

Hulde is gebring aan ontslape skrywers soos Karel Schoeman en PG du Plessis, maar die aand het behoort aan die huidige geslag skrywers, wat sulke geleenthede moontlik en gedenkwaardig maak. Hettie Scholtz, sameroeper van die drie hoofboekpryse, het die skrywers geloof vir boeke wat diep sny, diep delf, en ’n aar raak boor. “Dit het by my ’n insig van Chesterton opgeroep, sy geloof dat daar één ding is wat ’n helderheid aan dinge verleen: die vermoede van iets nét om die draai. Ek kan werklik nie wag om te sien waarmee hierdie skrywers volgende vorendag gaan kom nie! Hierby sluit ek die inskrywings vir die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys in.”

Die kykNET-Rapport-boekpryse met ’n gesamentlike prysgeld van R500 000 is toegeken aan die volgende skrywers:
- Fiksie: Huilboek, Ryk Hattingh (Human & Rousseau)
- Niefiksie: Emily Hobhouse: Geliefde Verraaier, Elsabé Brits (Tafelberg)
- Film: Al wat ek weet, Marita van der Vyver, (Lapa)

Die keurders het die fiksiewenner, Ryk Hattingh, geloof “vir sy sagkense behandeling van groot dinge, die subtiliteit van segging, die beskeie toon en algehele gebrek aan selfkoestering. Die manier waarop hy persoonlike pyn uiteindelik, sonder politieke grandstandery, vestig in die konteks van ’n hele land se trauma, is uitsonderlik en maak van Huilboek ’n prestasie in hoe groot kragte in beweging gestel kan word deur ’n minimum aan woorde en vertoon.”

Waardering is ook uitgespreek vir die niefiksiewenner, Elsabé Brits, se herbesoek aan ou bronne oor Emily Hobhouse “wat ons in staat stel om opnuut in hierdie merkwaardige vrou die eienskappe te sien wat aan die kern lê van ons universele menslikheid – die vermoë om te empatiseer met die onderdruktes, op te staan vir reg en geregtigheid selfs teen ’n hoë persoonlike en politieke prys, om nood en lyding te verlig ongeag waar dit voorkom. Sy skets Hobhouse as die vergestalting van verset soos dit in die woorde van die Nederlandse digter Remco Campert gedefinieer word: Om aan jouself ’n vraag te vra, daarmee begin verset – en om dit dan aan ’n ander te vra. Dit noop ons om in die Suid-Afrika van vandag weer hierdie kritiese vrae te vra oor menswaardigheid, gelykheid, en weerstand.”

Marita van der Vyver se jeugboek Al wat ek weet het van die prysaand ’n behoorlike rap-aand gemaak. Sy is geloof vir die ligte, vaardige hand waarmee sy die sensitiewe verhaal van ’n seun van gemengde afkoms stuur tot waar hy sy plek in die groter bestel van die lewe vind. En dit deur die skryf van rap songs waarmee hy sy verliese en woede transendeer en sy eie stem vind. “Dis ’n verhaal wat getuig van besondere vakmanskap, een wat smeek om verfilm te word,” sê keurder Herman Binge. “Dink – nét vir ’n oomblik – aan die nuwe Afrikaanse treffers wat hierdie film gaan oplewer, die eerste volwaardige hip-hop-fliek in Afrikaans!”

Die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys ter waarde van R35 000 is vanjaar toegeken aan Valda Jansen vir Hy kom met die skoenlappers (Human & Rousseau). Volgens die keurders is Jansen se debuutroman in vele opsigte meer as “’n elegie aan verlore liefde”, soos dit op die omslag bestempel word. Dit word “’n pynlik intieme en deurtastende verkenning van al die maniere waarop ’n hele lewe soos een byna noodwendig verspeelde kans kan voorkom . . . Jansen kleur nie dit wat persoonlik is ooit met groot politieke stellings nie, maar wys hoe onontwarbaar die persoonlike en die politieke in Suid-Afrika verstrengel is. Haar debuut gee ’n aangrypende en ontstemmende blik op ’n bevreemdende, bruin middelklas-ervaring van apartheid; ’n genuanseerde perspektief op ’n benarde posisie wat nog bitter min in Afrikaanse fiksie belig is.”

Die kykNET-Rapportpryse vir boekresensent van die jaar, vir die beste Afrikaanse resensies wat in 2016 oor ’n Afrikaanse fiksie- of niefiksiewerk onderskeidelik verskyn het, is ook oorhandig. Die wenners, wat elk R25 000 ontvang het, is:
- Fiksie: Danie Marais vir “Die ‘Kook en Geniet’ van oneerbiedigheid” (oor Anton Kannemeyer en Conrad Botes se Bitterkomix 17, Media24-dagblaaie, 4 Julie 2016), en
- Niefiksie: Emile Joubert vir “Die afkook van ’n vol lewe vind hier beslag” (oor Wat die hart van vol is deur Peter Veldsman met Elmari Rautenbach, Media24-dagblaaie, 31 Oktober 2016).

Die keurpanele vir die onderskeie pryse was: kykNET-Rapport-fiksieprys: Frederik de Jager, Elmari Rautenbach, Steward van Wyk en Gerrit Schoonhoven; kykNET-Rapport-niefiksieprys: Herman Wasserman, Irma du Plessis, Darryl David en Herman Binge; kykNET-Rapport-filmprys: Herman Binge en Gerrit Schoonhoven; kykNET-Rapport-boekresensentpryse: Bibi Slippers, Alfred Schaffer, Jomarié Botha en Yvonne Beyers; Jan Rabie-Rapportprys: Elna van der Merwe, Danie Marais en Kerneels Breytenbach.

Die seremoniemeesters vir die aand was Karen Meiring van kykNet en Waldimar Pelser van Rapport. Die prysfunksie is by die Dapper Coffee Company restaurant in Kaapstad gehou.

Boekbesonderhede

Huilboek

 
 
 
 
Emily Hobhouse

 
 
 
 
Al wat ek weet

 
 
 
 
Hy kom met die skoenlappers

 
 
 
 
Bitterkomix 17

 
 
 
 
Wat die hart van vol is

Presenting the latest addition to the Madam & Eve series: Hadeda La Land

“Outrageously funny with unerring humour and intelligence” – Cosmopolitan

“A superb mixture of sitcom, satire and South African stuff” – Zapiro

“Has won the hearts of millions!” – Mail & Guardian

This year we are in for a treat: After 25 years, Madam & Eve is still going strong and are back with more hilarious cartoons looking back at another year of the crazy rollercoaster that is daily life and politics in South Africa.

Madam & Eve cartoons appear regularly in the Mail & Guardian, The Star, The Saturday Star, Herald, Mercury, Witness, Daily Dispatch, Cape Times, Pretoria News, Diamond Fields Advertiser, Die Volksblad, EC Today, Kokstad Advertiser and The Namibian.

“I am always amazed by the energy and passion displayed by this writing and drawing duo that manages week after week to come up with fresh comedic ideas on which to make their point and build their powerful punch line.” – Business Day

Stephen Francis is the writing half of the Madam & Eve team. Born in the United States in 1949, Stephen moved to South Africa in 1988. In 1992, witnessing the interesting and often funny dynamic between his South African mother-in-law and her domestic housekeeper, he conceptualised the Madam & Eve strip. Francis is also an award-winning script writer, and radio and TV personality.

Rico Schacherl forms the other half of the creative team – as illustrator. Born in Austria in 1966, Rico has lived and worked in Johannesburg for most of his life, and has been drawing cartoons ever since he was old enough to hold a pencil. Besides his work on Madam & Eve, Rico also produces illustrations and editorial cartoons for a wide range of other publications.

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