Damon Galgut, author of Arctic Summer, was interviewed by Alexander Matthews for Aerodrome recently.
Matthews visited Galgut in his flat, and asked him about what inspired him to write. Galgut spoke about how he first came to love reading and how writing became a compulsion.
He said that he first traveled to India because it was possible to eke out a living with very little money, and it gave him space and silence to write. It was this trip that spurred him to think about EM Forster, and eventually write Arctic Summer.
Galgut says his friends are “probably the most important element of my emotional life, adding that he admires Forster’s strong loyalty: “Forster very famously said that if he had to choose between betraying his country or betraying his friend, he hopes he’d have the guts to betray his country. I admire that view a lot. I think if all of us placed affection for other people before national loyalties, the world would be a much better place.”
Read the interview:
We sit down on sofas, casting small talk aside. The voice recorder is glowing.
Why does he write?
“There’s a certain mystery attached to why anybody writes books. And maybe it’s best left as a mystery,” he says.
But there are, at least, some clues he is willing to share: a “traumatic childhood” – five years of chemotherapy which began when he was diagnosed with lymphoma at the age of six. He was read to frequently during that period, learning to associate stories as a “positive space”
In article for the Rand Daily Mail, Rian Malan questions what Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema really values.
In the article, Malan tries to decipher Malema’s beliefs, saying that his words often jar with his actions, and even with previous statements. He mentions Fiona Forde’s biography of Malema, Still an Inconvenient Youth: Julius Malema Carries On, saying it contains evidence of the intimidation tactics he used to kickstart his career with the ANC Youth League.
Malan says Malema is undoubtedly a powerful and volatile character in South African politics, but not one who is easy to understand. “In short: only Malema is tough enough to stand up to and defeat the mighty ANC,” he says. “Maybe so. But what then?”
Read the article:
Malema is also quick to present himself as a staunch constitutionalist. “The rot has eaten away the government of this country,” he said earlier this year. “The only thing left for us is the Constitution. Let us protect it with everything we have.”
Another fine sentiment, but does he really believe it?
Malema’s very first appearance in South African newspapers in 2002 involved a student protest in downtown Johannesburg that degenerated into looting and violence. According to his biographer Fiona Forde, his campaign for the ANC Youth League presidency relied heavily on intimidation. Back in 2007, when he and Jacob Zuma were still allies, he famously declared himself willing to kill on behalf of the president. There is implied violence in his support for Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe, and in his depiction of whites as “thieves who should be treated as such”. In September 2014 he was at it again, threatening to take up arms if the ANC used violence to block his rise to power.
Ekow Duker, author of White Wahala and Dying in New York, wrote the real-life story of his partner, Bridget Radebe, and her mother, Betty Maluleka, for the Mail & Guardian.
Mndazi Betty Maluleka was born in Louis Trichardt in 1944. She had to care of herself from a young age, as her father never came back from North Africa after World War II and her mother died of breast cancer. She became a nurse, and had two children, Mlungisi Theophylus Radebe and Ntombenhle Bridget Radebe.
Duker tells the story of Betty, who now suffers from dementia, and Bridget in the first person, interspersing the points of view of the two women over the passage of time. He handles the trials of their lives with deft sensitivity, and paints a beautiful picture of the relationship between mother and daughter.
Read the article:
I was born on July 4 1944. My first recollection is of a small house in Louis Trichardt. The guide books describe Louis Trichardt as “a picturesque town at the foot of the Soutpansberg mountain range in the Limpopo province of South Africa”. I can’t imagine they’re describing the same town I grew up in. We worked for a white farmer who grew bananas and mangos on his land. It wasn’t picturesque; it was hard.
I barely remember my father. He was called up to fight in World War II and never returned from North Africa. I’d ask my mother where he’d gone but she’d shake her head and say my Shangaan name, Mndazi, and frown.
Jacana Media is proud to announce a new imprint, Russel Wasserfall Food.
RWF is an imprint that will combine Russel Wasserfall’s great passions: books, photography, writing and, most importantly, beautiful food. The publisher’s career has moved from copywriting and advertising, to design and retail, then restauranteering with a side of photography, and now publishing (which, it happens, is really the culmination of a combination of all his other interests).
New Imprint: Russel Wasserfall Food
Ons gaan ’n taal maak is ’n monument van ’n boek wat 622 meesleurende, ryklik geïllustreerde bladsye beslaan. Dit is vol bekende, minder bekende en verstommende, onbekende inligting.
Steyn is nie net ’n deeglike akademikus nie, maar ook ’n gesoute joernalis. Hy weet hoe om harde feite te balanseer met boeiende anekdotes. Hy kan in enkele sinne ’n gebeurtenis en ’n persoonlikheid tot lewe wek.
Julius Sello “Juju” Malema owned 2014.
This according to Daily Maverick contributor Richard Poplak, author of Until Julius Comes: Adventures in the Political Jungle, in an article explaining why Malema deserves to be crowned 2014 Daily Maverick South African Person of the Year.
“Jacob Zuma brought the ANC a fifth landslide win at the polls. Thuli Madonsela kicked that win in the crotch and nailed the Nkandla debacle firmly to Zuma’s clammy forehead. Oscar Pistorius pretty much walked. All three of these notable South Africans said something important and lasting about their country in 2014, but they said it in the shadow of a giant floating onesie,” Poplak writes, referring to the now iconic red overall worn by Malema and other members of the EFF.
Various books on the topic of Malema and his party has been published, including:
Read Poplak’s article to understand why Malema was elected as Daily Maverick’s 2014 South African Person of the Year:
The EFF under Malema has always been undergirded by a radical leftist line, and identifies its enemies as “political parties whose agenda and political programme is to continue with white supremacy and the imperialist domination of South Africa.” To this end, the party has erected seven “cardinal” non-negotiable pillars that include the expropriation of land without compensation, nationalisation of all mines, banks and “strategic sectors of the economy” without compensation, and some very big sweeping of “economic development”, whatever that may mean when no one owns land and the government runs the banks.
The Daily Maverick Person of the Year runner up is Jacob Zuma, and the second runners-up are Oscar Pistorius and Shrien Dewani.
Earlier this year New African included Malema on their annual list of 100 Most Influential Africans of 2014:
Julius Malema has completed the transition from being ready to “die for Zuma” to being his most vociferous critic. If his opponents thought that Malema’s expulsion from the ANC and legal difficulties with the taxman would finish him off, 2014 will have disappointed them. Malema’s new political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) won a respectable 25 seats in this year’s general election and has since caused waves in parliament. The EFF has highlighted how removed the political debate is from much of the population by wearing bright red workers’ clothes and by breaking with parliamentary Most Influential Africans Politics and Public Office procedure by shouting down President Zuma with calls to “pay back the money” for his Nkandla homestead (see Thuli Madonsela entry below). This brand of populist politics divides opinion nationally but attracts big crowds wherever Malema goes. Despite his personal legal troubles, he may have spawned an organisation that, perhaps along with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, which was expelled from Cosatu in November (see pages 58-9), can provide serious opposition to the ANC from the left, as the Democratic Alliance does from the liberal right.
Image courtesy of Liberty Voice