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Alert! The programme for this year’s @OpenBookFest has been revealed! Click here to see it:

Gabeba Baderoon: Slavery is the Root Cause of South Africa's Sexual Violence

Regarding MuslimsGabeba Baderoon elucidated the complex questions tackled in her book, Regarding Muslims: From slavery to post-apartheid.

The book developed from Baderoon’s doctoral thesis, and she says the ideas “percolated” in her mind for a long while. She says Regarding Muslims emphasises and explores the centrality of slavery and slave culture in the formation of South Africa, an area she believes is neglected in academia, as well as the origins and developement of the “Cape Malay” people.

“What I argue is that our sense of our national beginnings and what counts as national can’t be provincial, so it can’t only be about Gauteng. We must be able to, for instance, think about how our longer colonial history included KZN and the Eastern Cape and also the Western Cape, which is profoundly influenced by slavery.

“So, part of what this book is trying to say is, ‘we can’t underplay that part of history in thinking of ourselves generally as South Africans because unless we understand that history better we won’t know why someone for instance thinks of coloured people in terms of a particular tone of pathos’.

“Where does that come from? It comes from the lens of slavery,” is her theory. “If you’re thinking about the epidemic of sexual violence we’re experiencing today (in the country), it goes back to slavery,” is another contention.

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Exploring landscapes and heartspaces

Sonja Kruse is returning to all the uBuntu families to give them a copy of the book. Here she is, pictured with Maryam Alie in Langebaan, whose story appears on pages 71-73.

Sonja Kruse is returning to all the uBuntu families to give them a copy of the book. Here she is, pictured with Maryam Alie in Langebaan, whose story appears on pages 71-73.

Face2Face is the proud publisher of The uBuntu Girl, by Sonja Kruse. Sonja will be signing copies of the book at Exclusive Books in Cavendish Square on Saturday, 30 April, from 11am to 12pm. Here she reflects on her journey across South Africa, and how the book came about.

For many it seems brave to quit one’s job, give one’s car away and to pack a 33lt backpack, a camera, a R100 and walk and hitchhike around South Africa. I think not. For me, it would take bravery to live in a country where I don’t know my fellow South Africans. Because that would make every interaction with others, a trip into the unknown.

Instead I opted to step into a vision that explored the heartspaces as much as the geography of our land. It was to be a journey of discovery – discovery of the sincere hospitality offered by complete strangers and the uncovering of my own fears, apprehensions and preconceived ideas. I left without a tent, sleeping bag or bank cards. Instead I carried a deep belief that I am because of others.

The astonishing reality is that along the unplanned route, 150 families from 16 different cultures opened their homes and hearts to, in essence, a stranger. I stayed in affluent suburbs and dusty townships, in shacks and in mansions; meeting pensioners, school children and students, farmers and labourers, rich businessmen, poor widows, artists, housewives, truckers, curio sellers. And everything in between.

What they all had in common was the spirit of ubuntu that compelled them to reach out to a lonely traveller. In doing so they filled my journey with extraordinary stories, teaching me about humility and grace. From the first night spent in the home of a Scenery Park mother who slept on the floor so that her guest could sleep in her bed to meeting the only white induna in the history of the Zulu Royal House on my last day.

The families taught me that ubuntu is not about your space or mine. It is about our space. And that is how the book – The uBuntu Girl – having generated an energy all of its own, decided that it needed to be written. And so began a whole new journey…

I had to learn to QWERTY type, to write and, more importantly, how to honour each person in our collective story. There were over 14 000 photos to pick from. Because one thing was for sure: our country is not a black and white book with a few colour plates. Our country is full-colour explosive!

To help me on this journey, I was fortunate to find a like-hearted and like-minded editor, graphic designer and publisher who were able to share and expand the vision. And with their guidance, we created a 240 page full-colour book that captures the essence of the journey and the lessons that we can take from it.

This book has been described as a travelogue, but I think it is more of a ‘humanlogue’ – a celebration of the human spirit.


Title: The uBuntu Girl
Author: Sonja Kruse
Publication Date: June 2014
Pages: 240
Size: 244x210mm Portrait
ISBN: 978 0 9922018 3 8
Recommended retail price: R390.00
Published by: Face2Face an imprint of Cover2Cover Books
Websites: /

Available from bookstores countrywide and On the Dot distributors (021 918 8810 or

Podcast: Nadia Davids Chats About Her Cover Shout from JM Coetzee

An Imperfect BlessingNadia Davids spoke to Sue Grant-Marshall on Radio Today about her debut novel, An Imperfect Blessing.

Grant-Marshall quizzes Davids on how the Cape Town landscape inspired her, as well as how events surrounding the destruction of District Six in the early 1980s and the first democratic elections in 1993 informed the novel.

She also asks Davids how she secured a cover shout from JM Coetzee, who called An Imperfect Blessing “A novel that is sharp in its insights yet warm in feeling”.

The Nobel Laureate and Booker Prize-winning author taught Davids creative writing at the University of Cape Town, but it was when they met at a conference more recently that she asked him to read An Imperfect Blessing.

“A lot of people are pretty quick to pass judgement on JM Coetzee, as being a bit cold and a bit arrogant,” Grant-Marshall observes.

“I haven’t found that in the slightest,” Davids says. “I thought he was an exceptionally generous teacher, when he taught us … I didn’t find that experience of coldness at all.”

Listen to the podcast:

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Zukiswa Wanner: "I Think I am an Activist as Much as Most Laptop-wielding Writers are Activists"

London – Cape Town – JoburgZukiswa Wanner speaks to Jonathan Amid about her latest novel, London Cape Town Joburg in an interview for LitNet.

Wanner says her book is aimed at anyone over the age of 16, “I figure anyone who’s old enough to get birth control is old enough to put up with the expletives I put in my books.” She mentions that George Orwell inspires her writing and that she has read his works more than once: “I read Orwell all the time. At least four times a year – 1984 and Animal Farm, plus his essays.” According to Wanner the same rules still apply: Big Brother is still watching, and some animals are more equal than others.

Amid also asks Wanner about her writing, activism, and how her cosmopolitan upbringing influenced the novel:

Could you tell us more about your rather cosmopolitan upbringing and the places you have lived, with many of them being particularly charged politically? What role does activism play in your life?

There isn’t much to tell about the places I’ve lived, except perhaps my realisation that politicians are full of kak the world over – some are just better at hiding it than others. I think I am an activist as much as most laptop-wielding writers are activists. I don’t feel that I do nearly as much as I should to change the world I live in – and if you should make the argument that I do through my writing I shall respond that there are not nearly enough people who read what I say.

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Jean Oosthuizen resenseer Geloof anderkant Sondag deur Julian Müller

Geloof anderkant SondagUitspraak: wortel

Vir baie mense is hy die profetiese stem in die kerk wat te min gehoor word. Ander sien hom as ’n dwaalleraar en ’n wolf in skaapsklere. Met sy jongste boek, Geloof anderkant Sondag, laat Julian Müller hom opnuut oop vir skerp kritiek van veral dogmatiese gelowiges wat bly vasklou aan uitgediende, tradisionele geloofsoortuigings.

Daar is egter ’n groeiende groep gelowiges wat bly sal wees om weer hierdie progressiewe, maar oortuigde gereformeerde teoloog en denker se stem te hoor


Podcast: Donna Bryson Chats to Michele Magwood about It's a Black/White Thing

It's a Black/White ThingMichele Magwood spoke with Donna Bryson, author of It’s a Black/White Thing, on her TM LIVE Book Show.

Bryson is an American journalist who lived and worked in South Africa between 1993 and 1996. She returned in 2008 curious about how South Africa had changed since she covered the country’s democratic transition. She found the events at the University of the Free State captured her attention particularly at that time. She views the university as a kind of microcosm of South Africa because there is a broad diversity of races, traditions and cultures that interact there. She says this was the spark for the book It’s a Black/White Thing.

In this interview, Bryson speaks about the events and research that fed into and came out of this book. She focuses on how young people experience and respond to racism at University of the Free State.

Listen to the podcast:


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