Offbeat South Africa: The Travel Guide to the Weird and Wonderful co-author Denise Slabbert has written an article for City Press in which she shares tips and tricks to best discover a lesser-known part of the Western Cape: The Cape Floristic Region.
Included in this region, a noted World Heritage Site, is Table Mountain National Park, the “rock star” of the area; Cederberg Wilderness Area; De Hoop Nature Reserve and Kogelberg Nature Reserve.
Read Slabbert’s guide to this beautiful region and discover somewhere new:
First you have to get to the Western Cape. There are regular flights from all major urban centres in South Africa to Cape Town. If you choose to drive, it’s a good idea to stop over along the way as it could take up to 14 hours.
Another option is to take one of the regular tourist buses that travel to and from the Mother City. There is a railway service that runs along the False Bay coast from Cape Town to Simon’s Town.
Having your own car is the best bet as there are various attractions in the Cape Floristic Region, and you will want to be mobile and independent. For car hire, see local operators or look out for tour operators specialising in floristic tours.
This piece was published in the Mail & Guardian on Friday, 14 November 2014, entitled “Dying to talk about death”
Say them quickly, then forget. The dying words. Terminal. Dead. Deceased.
Friends and acquaintances die every day. We go to their funerals, but we try not to think about death.
Most of us have never spoken to a dying friend about death. We ask how they are and then talk about everything else rather than how they feel about what they are going through. It makes us uncomfortable. And it hurts to lose a friend.
We forget that the dying may feel abandoned when they most need our empathy. We choose not to confront that finality with them, not because we lack compassion, but because someone else’s death forces us to contemplate our own.
Talking about dying seems to be the work of somebody like Dr Sean Davison, who helped his mother in New Zealand to die and paid a heavy price for it. Or it is the work of hospice staff, or those who deal in death anyway, such as doctors – many of whom are not of Davison’s calibre.
In San Francisco last month, a family reunion was marred by the death of my daughter’s good friend, Erica. She had died hours before our arrival after a three-year struggle with breast cancer. She fought hard for her life. At 42, with two young children, she had much left to do. It wasn’t to be.
Victims of terminal illnesses appear to find resources in themselves that they and their families didn’t know they had. Some almost become different people.
Erica came to accept the inevitable, yet also rejected its dreadful finality. She couldn’t accept that she was leaving her children forever. Despite her duel with drugs and pain, she felt an immense pressure to make her days count, to spend time with her family during well-loved getaways, to travel to exotic destinations. Instead, as her health deteriorated, she found it difficult to be around her children, and even the thought of leaving home exhausted her.
Between extended bouts of chemotherapy, Erica wrote in her blog about her heightened sensory awareness: binocular vision in which colours sharpened and sounds increased in volume to the point when even birdsong seemed too loud. She found pleasure in nature, but was often overcome by a frightening sadness and apathy. Her seesawing emotions, she wrote, were not contradictory but existed side by side, more so as it became clear her time was running out.
An acquaintance mourning a friend who died of cancer tells me that the friend fought like mad, hoping for a cure and suffering pointlessly through ghastly treatments.
A recently widowed woman confides that her oldest friends are avoiding her. “They are the people who know me best, yet they don’t know what to say. They don’t need to say anything, but it would be nice if they would listen; if I could talk about it.”
An emergency room doctor in a public hospital recently wrote in the New York Times about her experiences with terminal patients and with her colleagues. “They treat the illness. Keeping a terminal patient alive seems more important than ensuring that the patient is made as comfortable as possible.
“It’s not the patients who must change, it’s us, the doctors. We need to become human beings treating a fellow human being who, given the choice, may choose palliative treatment rather than aggressive support of failing organs.”
In his recent book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande, a Boston surgeon and New Yorker writer, explores illness and death, suggesting that we exalt longevity over quality of life. There are two issues here. The first is the care of those who have been granted great longevity. The second is how the decline of the body is managed when there is no cure for its affliction.
We can keep people alive for longer than ever before, but we have not developed the essential skills involved in palliative care for those who become dependent because of serious illness or old age. Building compassion among staff and a caring hospital environment does not cost more, and the benefits in terms of improved quality of life are considerable. Sometimes, Gawande writes, the most humane decision is to do nothing.
Helping patients to a good death can be the greatest gift an attending physician can give his patient, yet doctors routinely overestimate how long a terminally ill patient has to live – and oncologists rarely confess to a patient that there is no more hope.
Family and friends can play a significant role: listening compassionately and communicating lovingly while there is still time. We would all choose a quick death if we could, but for some of us that won’t happen. We should talk more about it. We’re all going to die. We should make death and bereavement more manageable for those we love, and for ourselves.
Rosemund Handler’s most recent book is Us and Them
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UKZN Press presents Being at ‘Home’: Race, Institutional Culture and Transformation at South African Higher Education Institutions, edited by Sally Matthews and Pedro Tabensky:
Being at ‘Home’ stimulates careful conversation about some of the most pressing issues facing higher education institutions in South Africa today – race, transformation and institutional culture.
While there are many reasons to be despondent about the current state of affairs in the South African tertiary sector, this collection is intended as an invitation for the reader to see these problems as opportunities for rethinking the very idea of what it is to be a university in contemporary South Africa. It is also, more generally, an invitation for us to think about what it is that the intellectual project should ultimately be about, and to question certain prevalent trends that affect – or, perhaps, infect – the current global academic system. This book will be of interest to all those who are concerned about the state of the contemporary university, both in South Africa and beyond.
Contributors: Minesh Dass, Natalie Donaldson, Bruce Janz, Nigel C Gibson, Lewis R Gordon, Amanda Hlengwa, Sally Matthews, Thaddeus Metz, Thando Njovane, Pedro Tabensky, Paul C Taylor, Samantha Vice and Louise Vincent
About the editors
Pedro Tabensky is the founding director of the Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethics in the Department of Philosophy at Rhodes University. He is the author of Happiness: Personhood, Community, Purpose and several articles and book chapters. Tabensky is a regular commentator in the national and international media.
Sally Matthews teaches in the Department of Political and International Studies at Rhodes University. In addition to her interest in higher education transformation in South Africa, she teaches and writes about the politics of development and more generally about rethinking African Studies.
The second annual Ake Arts and Book Festival – held in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State in southwest Nigeria – starts today, featuring esteemed international authors and artists and showcasing contemporary African literature, music, art, film and theatre.
Zukiswa Wanner, Siphiwo Mahala, Nomboniso Gasa will be representing South Africa, joining esteemed names such as Wole Soyinka, EE Sule, Binyavanga Wainaina and many others (including former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo) on the packed programme stretching over five days.
This year the theme revolves around the concepts and constructions pertaining to “Bridges and Pathways”, asking critical questions relating to “building bridges between the African people along language, ethnicity, gender and religious lines, and charting new paths towards creative synergy and cultural cross-fertilisation on the African continent.”
Have a look at the programme:
Also check out:
The second edition of Ake Arts and Book Festival will take place at June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto-Abeokuta from 18-22 November 2014. The theme is Bridges and Pathways and discussions will focus on building bridges between the African people along language, ethnicity, gender and religious lines, and charting new paths towards creative synergy and cultural cross-fertilisation on the African continent.
The Ake Arts and Book Festival (AABF), in partnership with Ogun State government, Etisalat, Access Bank and Annoying Logo, will once again play host to international authors from all over the world and will showcase the very best of contemporary African literature, music, art, film and theatre.
The festival will feature book chats, school visits and several stimulating panel discussions. There will be a palm wine and poetry night, talks by both Nigerian and international writers and a comprehensive book fair/school programmes that will be open to pupils, publishers and book lovers.
In an event called ‘Muse as Memory’, Nigerian Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka will sit in conversation with Jerome Okolo. Patrick Okigbo will also host the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Olusegun Obasanjo, in a chat titled ‘Defining a Legacy’.
There will be nine book chats at the festival. At the book chat, we will be engaging Yejide Kilanko on her book Daughters who walk this Path, Bernadine Evaristo on Mr Loverman, Barnaby Phillips on Another Mans War, Okey Ndibe on his Foreign Gods Inc, and Chude Jideonwo on Are We The Turning Point Generation? Nnedi Okorafor will be telling us all about her new book, The Lagoon, Fred D’Aguiar will be talking to us about Children of Paradise, Zukiswa Wanner will be discussing London Cape Town Joburg and Nike Campbell Fatoki will tell us all about her bestselling book, Thread of Gold Beads.
Tayo Aluko‘s critically-acclaimed musical play, Call Mr. Robeson, will enjoy its Ogun State Premiere at the Ake Arts and Book Festival. There will also be a contemporary Dance performance by Qudus Onikeku titled, My Exile is in my Head. Tickets for these events are available online at www.akefestival.org.
We will also be screening the film October 1, by actor/director Kunle Afolayan. The film Yeepa, by renowned movie director Tunde Kelani will also enjoy its Ogun State premiere at Ake Arts and Book Festival. Three documentaries will be shown at the festival. They include Barnaby Philips’ Burma Boy, The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo by Yaba Badoe and New Morning, a short film on domestic violence sponsored by the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
There will be masterclasses in Science Fiction Writing with Stella Duffy and Ben Aaronovitch, Documentary Making masterclass with Emmanuelle Mougne and Devising Theatre from Page to the Naked Stage with Femi Elufowoju, jr.
There will also be two Photo exhibitions at the festival; Vera Botterbuschs’ View and Secrets vom Abeokuta and Isara and Victor Ehikhamenor’s In the Lion’s Lair – intimate portraits of Wole Soyinka in his home.
Ake Arts and Book Festival is collaborating with Access Bank Nigeria to sponsor 50 Nigerian undergraduates to the festival. The sponsorship will include book tokens worth N20,000 which can only be spent at the Ake Arts and Book Festival bookstore where they will discover a great selection of books. The application form will be available at www.akefestival.org on 11 November 2014.
Full details of the Ake Arts and Book Festival program is available at the website. Tickets to all events can be purchased online or in person at the festival registration desk from 17 November 2014.
- Are We The Turning Point Generation?: How Africa’s Youth Can Drive Its Urgently Needed Revolution by Chude Jideonwo
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Emma Sadleir en Tamsyn de Beer se handleiding vir die gebruik van sosiale media, Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex: and Other Legal Advice For the Age of Social Media, het vanjaar by Penguin verskyn. Sadleir en De Beer is albei prokureurs wat gereeld met regskwessies in die kuberruim worstel.
Linette Retief het ná die bekendstelling van Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex ’n berig vir Netwerk24 oor die gevare en gevolge van sosiale media geskryf: “’n Mens hoef nie ver te soek na voorbeelde van sosiale netwerkers wat klei trap en dan die verreikende, soms internasionale, gevolge daarvan moet dra nie.”
Lees die artikel:
Die grootste risiko in die kuberruim is en bly kinders, want hulle kan op tallose maniere aan ’n magdom van gevare op sosiale media blootgestel word.
De Beer en Sadleir, albei prokureurs wat baie met skole en groot maatskappye werk, skets ’n kommerwekkende prentjie X van negejariges wat foto’s van hulself sonder klere aan probeer verkoop tot kuberboelies wat hul jong teikens tot selfmoord dryf.
In ’n veld wat deurlopend verander, bly wetgewing soms nie by nie. Regters moet beslissings vel oor regskwessies wat hulle nie verstaan nie, sê Sadleir. Trouens, ’n regter het onlangs droogweg opgemerk die gevolge van sosiale media kon nie heeltemal deur die oorspronklike Romeinse wetgewers voorsien word nie.
Quivertree Publications presents Memory Against Forgetting by Ranjith Kally:
“Ranjith’s work is extraordinary, I found it very warm, a breath of fresh air that, over a long period, has retained particular senses and values” – David Goldblatt
Ranjith Kally captured iconic scenes, such as his portrait Umkumbane, which has come to symbolise the shimmering jazz age of African townships in the 1950s. When Miriam Makeba returned to Maseru, Lesotho, for a concert for black South Africans at the height of apartheid, Kally too ventured to Lesotho and returned home with a remarkable image of an exiled singer poised between joy and heartbreak. And in a series of unflinching portraits, he documented with probity the horror of the forced removals in Natal. In short, the wider appreciation of his contribution to our struggle for dignity needs to remembered and fully embraced for current South Africans intent on honouring their past.
“A defining characteristic of Ranjith Kally is his lyricism – and his ability to capture the dignity of the downtrodden to whom he was drawn” – Kalim Rajab
About the author
Durban-born Ranjith Kally’s award-winning photographic career has spanned more than four decades. Much of his work was published in Drum magazine, where he worked between 1955 and 1985, and during this period he documented many of the key people and events involved in South Africa’s struggle for democracy. As one of our country’s most prolific photojournalists, his pictures, dating back more than sixty years, give us a glimpse into the tensions of the past and the events that shaped our future.