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Right! That's a wrap of our #ManBooker2014 coverage. Congratulations to Richard Flanagan

Sunday Read: Seven Ways of Attempting to Assassinate Bob Marley

Marley Shot

A Brief History of Seven KillingsMarlon James’ new novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, revolves around the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1976.

The novel draws a large and diverse cast of characters: law-enforcement, people on the wrong side of the law, an unhappy soul who has crossed over to the other side, a woman living in the hope of another chance to slip inside the singer’s gate, and many more. Marley, the character at the epicentre of the shifting narrative, is however unnamed and largely absent.

James says that he shied away from trying to understand and represent Marley’s perspective for a number of reasons. In any case, his interest lay more with what happened around Marley than what was happening in the mind of the man himself. Having cast aside Marley’s point of view as one from which to tell the story, James struggled to find a character who could portray the man’s rippling influence.

The article explains how the idea for the right narrative perspective came about:

The novel had a slow start. At first he tried to write it from the American hit man’s point of view, a character who wouldn’t understand the implications of his actions, but James got stuck. Another hundred pages from another character’s perspective didn’t work, either.

Frustrated, he told a playwright friend, “I don’t know whose novel this is; I can’t figure out whose story it is.” She replied, “Why do you think it’s one person’s story?”

That was the key.


James constructed a novel with a cast of characters so huge it fills four pages at the front of the book.

“I wanted different degrees of distance, everybody from somebody who fired the shot to somebody who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he says. As a child hearing of Marley’s shooting, he understood “if he could get shot, then anybody could be,” while now he sees the incident as “allegory — we’re descending into chaos in the country.”

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Image courtesy

Jacana Media Expresses Sympathy at the Untimely Passing of Gerald Kraak

Ice in the LungsAll of us who work at Jacana Media and the Board Members of Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF) are heartsore at the untimely passing of Gerald Kraak, author and JLF board member.

Gerald was joint winner of the European Union Literary Award in 2005, for his widely acclaimed novel Ice in the Lungs.

As a board member of the JLF since its inception, Gerald’s skills, funding commitment and great interest in helping debut South African novelists was at the centre of the foundation.

As an author, Gerald was dogged by the familiar and frequent importunes of the publisher, disguised as the carefree “How is the new book coming along?”. It was always met with his great good humour but too, with a desire to write. He was a natural storyteller, and was looking forward to working on more fiction as he gradually had more time to devote to it. His devotion to ensuring a deeply rooted human rights culture in South Africa is one of his greatest gifts to us.

We send our sympathies to the Kraak family and to his many friends.

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Sue Derwent's Top 4 Hiking Spots in Durban (Plus: 13 Fascinating Durban Facts)

Picturesque Durban and SurroundsKwaZulu-NatalSue Derwent, author of Picturesque Durban and Surrounds and KwaZulu-Natal: Adventures in Culture & Nature, wrote an article for the Sunday Tribune about the opportunity for outdoor adventures in Durban.

In the article, Derwent gives details about the specific attractions of four great hiking spots. She includes a list of facts about Durban, including the fact that: “South Africa is the third most biodiverse country after Brazil and Indonesia, and Durban is in the centre of one of the most biodiverse of these regions.”

Read the article:

Durban – As places to kick back and relax, there is much more to Durban’s beaches than just sand. The city’s 97km coastline includes rocky shores, mangrove forests, coral reefs, coastal forests, wetlands and sandy beaches. Mole crabs, plough snails, clams and a variety of other creatures, including sea birds, make their homes along the beach.

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A History of the Jewish Community: The Jews in South Africa by Richard Mendelsohn and Milton Shain

The Jews in South AfricaNew from Jonathan Ball, the revised edition of The Jews in South Africa: An Illustrated History by Richard Mendelsohn and Milton Shain:

Spanning the past two centuries, The Jews in South Africa explores the fascinating role played by this small but highly significant community in the economic, political, social and cultural life of this country.

This richly illustrated story – the first comprehensive history to appear in over 50 years – includes a wide range of historically important photographs, many long unseen, and encompasses a broad swathe of Jewish life, from the bimah and the boardroom to the bowling green. Beginning with the first Jewish immigrants to South Africa, and depicting the fragility of the early foundations and the shifting fortunes of this infant community, the book traces its development to robust maturity amidst turbulent social and political currents. These include the strident antisemitism of the 1930s, the moral dilemmas of the apartheid era, the subsequent turbulent transition towards a non-racial democracy, the birth of the New South Africa and the fresh challenges and promise that have followed in its wake up to the present day.

Included are such personalities as Barney Barnato, Helen Suzman, Joe Slovo, Sol Kerzner and Rabbi Cyril Harris, as well as many others who have made an important mark in their fields.

The Jews in South Africa will be of great interest to every member of the Jewish community living both in South Africa and in their adoptive countries, as well as for all wishing to learn more about this highly energetic and innovative community whose contribution in many spheres of life has so greatly influenced and enriched the history of South Africa.

About the authors

Richard Mendelsohn has taught for many years in the history department at UCT and is a Deputy Dean of its Faculty of Humanities. He is the author of Sammy Marks: ‘The Uncrowned King of the Transvaal’, a biography of the pioneering South African Jewish industrial and mining entrepreneur, and is co-editor, with Milton Shain of Memories, Realities and Dreams: Aspects of the South African Jewish Experience.

Milton Shain teaches modern Jewish history and is director of the Isaac and Jessie Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research at the University of Cape Town. He has written several books on South African Jewish history and the history of antisemitism, among them Jewry and Cape Society; The Roots of Antisemitism in South Africa; Antisemitism, and with Sander L Gilman, co-edited Jewries at the Frontier, Accommodation, Identity and Conflict.

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Antjie Krog, Lauren Beukes, Sarah Lotz and Makhosazana Xaba Nominated for 2014 Mbokodo Awards

Alert! Antjie Krog, Lauren Beukes, Sarah Lotz and Makhosazana Xaba – authors who need no introduction – have been nominated for the 2014 Mbokodo Awards.

The ThreeRunning SynapseBroken Monsters

The Mbokodo Awards are aimed at recognising southern African women in arts, celebrating the invaluable contribution made by the them in making sure South Africa operates as a cohesive society. This year the awards celebrate the country’s 20 years of democracy with the theme “20 Years of Free Artistic Expression”. The awards were started as an initiative of Carol Bouwer Productions, and supported by the Department of Arts and Culture.

The awards honour women in 20 different categories, including creative writing, poetry, promotion of language and story telling, dance, sculpture, arts ambassador, comedy and the promotion of arts in the media. Three finalists are named in each of these categories. The Mirriam Makeba Achievement award celebrates the legacy of Makeba, who through her art advanced the plight of the African people across the world. Only one nomination is made in this category.

Makhosazana Xaba, known affectionately as Khosi, has been nominated in the poetry category, which “celebrates published writers and performance poets utilising deep creative imagination and originality. It recognises poets who demonstrate commitment to promoting this art form in a variety of platforms.” Also nominated is Deela Khan (poet, writer and gatherer of folk tales, fables and histories) and Thuli Zuma (celebrated performance poet).

Mmatshilo Motsei, Lauren Beukes and Sarah Lotz have been nominated in the creative writing category, which “celebrates fiction and biography authors who demonstrate solid creativity, imagination and originality. It acknowledges writers who are committed to their craft and strive to promote the genre.”

Antjie Krog has been nominated in the category celebrating the promotion of language and storytelling. “This category highlights efforts used to promote and develop languages through artistic ways, often stretching the language to compel it to introduce new meanings. It rewards women who are giving exposure to under used languages.” Also nominated in this group is Aletta Motimelle (award-winning Sepedi poetry, drama, novel and short story writer) and Candy aka Sekedi Mokwena (Limpopo storyteller, advocating for Khelobedu to be the 12th official language of South Africa).

The winners will be announced next Friday during a black tie event at The Theatre on the Track, Kyalami.


Press release

Mbokodo Awards 2014 to celebrate 20 years of Free Artistic Expression

As Nelson Mandela once said, during the apartheid era, it was art, through drama, dance, literature, song, film, paintings which articulated the plight and democratic aspirations of the South African people.

Twenty years after democracy, art continues to articulate the aspirations of South Africans, giving expressions to their dreams and hopes. As South Africa celebrate two decades of democracy, it is only fitting that the theme for the third annual Mbokodo awards be, 20 years of free artistic expression.

This year’s awards will be held on October 24 and aims to celebrate and acknowledge women who have not only articulated the aspirations of the South African people but have also fortified their democracy by empowering communities and individuals through their art.

The awards, which are presented annually to recognise women in art, are an initiative by Carol Bouwer Productions and the Department of Arts and Culture. “Mbokodo aims to acknowledge the immense contribution that women, especially those working in art and culture, have made to rebuild a cohesive society in South Africa. For the task of transforming a wounded and divided nation falls not only to government and legislatures but to those who give the deepest expression to our hopes, fears and ideals,” said Carol Bouwer.

The awards ceremony will take place on October 24 at the Theatre on Track in Kyalami, Midrand. Performing at the awards ceremony will be some of the most respected names in the South African music industry, including Sibongile Khumalo, Judith Sephuma and Moneoa.

Khumalo, who is also affectionately known as Mzansi’s first lady of song was one of the main stars in the first ever African opera. She has been called the epitome of the new South Africa and made City press newspaper’s 100 world class South Africans list.

Sephuma, a jazz and afro-pop singer is also a legend in the South African music industry. Her first album, A cry, A smile, A dance was released in 2001 and it thrilled listeners locally and worldwide. The album reached platinum status and won her numerous awards including the SA music Awards for best jazz vocalist and Kora all Africa Music Awards for best female artist.

Moneoa, an RnB and Afro pop singer song writer is the new kid on the block but she has already she has already won the hearts of many South Africans with her soulful voice. At only 24, she has already worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry like Shugasmakx and Slikour.

The awards celebrate women in 18 different categories, including Women in Music, indigenous art, creative photography an poetry.

Nominees from different parts of the country are judged using a peer review mechanism. According to Bouwer the peer review judging method was chosen over public nomination processes to focus on quality of work by drawing on the opinion of diverse experts in the arts, culture and heritage sector.

The 20 Mbokodo Awards categories for 2014 are:

Women in Indigenous Art
Promotion of Language and Story Telling
Creative Writing
Fashion Design and Innovation
Creative Photography
Women in Jazz
Promotion of Arts in the Media
Arts Ambassador
Creative Design
Women in Film
Mirriam Makeba Achievement award

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Philip de Vos oor sy nuwe radioreeks: "Op die ou end is Schubert sy musiek – en sy musiek is Schubert"

Kop op ’n blokKris de KatRower RotZokStokman

Philip de Vos se jongste radioreeks, oor die Oostenrykse komponis Franz Schubert, het hierdie maand op RSG begin speel en word elke Sondag tussen 10:00 en 11:00 uitgesaai.

De Vos het met Netwerk24 se Willem de Vries gesels oor sy jongste musiekprogram waarin die luisteraars saam met hom die lewe en werk van Schubert kan ontdek. Hy het vroeër ook reekse oor Mozart en Tsjaikowski aangebied.

Lees die artikel:

Jare gelede reeds het Philip de Vos, samesteller van die reeks, Otto Deutsch se lywige boek van meer as duisend bladsye, Schubert – A Documentary Biography, aangeskaf.

Net sowat 70 van Schubert se briewe het bewaar gebly vergeleke met die honderde van Mozart en duisende van Tsjaikowski. De Vos het gedink dit sou dus byna onmoontlik wees om Schubert as mens vas te vang.