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The first full account, from the 1950s to 1994: Thula Simpson's Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC's Armed Struggle

Umkhonto we SizwePresenting Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle by Thula Simpson:

The armed struggle waged by the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), was the longest sustained insurgency in South African history. This book offers the first full account of the rebellion in its entirety, from its early days in the 1950s to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as South African president in 1994.

Vast in scope, this story traverses every corner of South Africa and extends throughout southern Africa, where MK’s largest campaigns and heaviest engagements occurred, as well as to the solidarity networks that the rebellion mobilised around the world.

Drawing principally from previously unpublished writings and testimonies by the men and women who fought the armed struggle, this book recreates the drama, heroism and tragedy of their experiences. It tells the story of leaders like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Joe Slovo and Chris Hani, whose reputations were forged in the crucible of the armed struggle, but it is also a tale of martyrs such as Looksmart Ngudle, Ashley Kriel and Phila Ndwandwe, as well as of MK cadres such as Leonard Nkosi and Glory Sedibe, who would ultimately turn against the ANC and collaborate with the state in hunting down their former comrades.

Written in a fresh, immediate style, Umkhonto we Sizwe is an honest account of the armed struggle and a fascinating chronicle of events that changed South African history.

About the author

Thula Simpson is a senior lecturer in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies at the University of Pretoria and an editor of the South African Historical Journal. His previous research on the ANC’s armed struggle has been published in a number of journals, including the African Historical Review, African Studies, the Journal of Southern African Studies, the South African Historical Journal and Social Dynamics, as well as in edited book collections published by Wits University Press and the University of Cape Town Press. Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle is his first sole-authored book.

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SL Grey signs major United States publishing deal for The Apartment

The MallThe WardThe New GirlUnder Ground


SL Grey has announced a major United States publishing deal with Blumhouse Books!

American fans will be able to get their hands on the US edition of the next SL Grey novel, The Apartment, in October.

It’s a busy time for SL Grey – a collaboration between Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg – as the paperback edition of Under Ground was released today in the United Kingdom.

From SL Grey:

Good news for American readers! Blumhouse Books will be publishing The Apartment this October! Blumhouse Books is an imprint of Anchor Books run by Jason Blum, producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious and other modern horror classics. Anchor’s part of the Knopf Doubleday / Penguin Random House Group, so the book is in excellent and horrible good hands and will be widely available in the US and Canada. Blumhouse is our first American publisher, so we’re thrilled to parts.


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SL Grey image courtesy of Aerodrome

RIP Harper Lee (1926 - 2016)

To Kill a MockingbirdGo Set a Watchman

Harper Lee, whose debut novel To Kill a Mockingbird became one of America’s most beloved classics, has died at the age of 89.

Also read: RIP Umberto Eco (1932 – 2016)

Lee passed away in the morning of February 19 in Monroeville, Alabama in the United States, where she lived.

Lee was born in Monroeville in 1926, the youngest of four children, and studied law at the University of Alabama. To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, turning the reclusive Lee into an instant literary celebrity, a role she was never comfortable with.

I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.

- Harper Lee, in a 1964 interview with Roy Newquist

Lee received numerous literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for To Kill a Mockingbird, which sold more than 40 million copies. In 2007, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature, despite having published just one book.

Her second novel, Go Set a Watchman, released in 2015, was perhaps one of the most hotly anticipated books ever published. Set 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird – but actually written before it – the book received mixed reviews, and many readers, especially, expressed disappointment at racist sentiments expressed by Atticus Finch. Questions also arose as to whether Lee actually wanted the book to see the light of day. Despite this, it was one of the worldwide top sellers of 2015.

In a statement, Lee’s family said she passed away in her sleep early Friday morning:

“Her passing was unexpected. She remained in good basic health until her passing. The family is in mourning and there will be a private funeral service in the upcoming days, as she had requested.”

Lee’s nephew Hank Conner added: “This is a sad day for our family. America and the world knew Harper Lee as one of the last century’s most beloved authors.

“We knew her as Nelle Harper Lee, a loving member of our family, a devoted friend to the many good people who touched her life, and a generous soul in our community and our state. We will miss her dearly.”

Her publisher, HarperCollins, also released a statement, saying Lee died “peacefully”.

“The world knows Harper Lee was a brilliant writer but what many don’t know is that she was an extraordinary woman of great joyfulness, humility and kindness,” said the company’s president and publisher, Michael Morrison. “She lived her life the way she wanted to – in private – surrounded by books and the people who loved her. I will always cherish the time I spent with her.”

Her agent Andrew Nurnberg said, “Knowing Nelle these past few years has been not just an utter delight but an extraordinary privilege. When I saw her just six weeks ago, she was full of life, her mind and mischievous wit as sharp as ever. She was quoting Thomas More and setting me straight on Tudor history. We have lost a great writer, a great friend and a beacon of integrity.”


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Image courtesy of The Guardian

'The story leads me, not I it' - Olive Schreiner on her writing process

From Man to Man, or Perhaps OnlyThe letters of Olive Schreiner shed fascinating light on her writing process and what she thought of her work’s place in the world.

In a project that ran from ran from 2008 to 2012, Schreiner’s letters were collected and annotated online.

The Olive Schreiner Letters Project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the United Kingdom. About 4800 extant letters were collected.

An important aim of the Olive Schreiner Letters Project is to demonstrate the importance of Schreiner’s c4800 extant letters as an unparalleled but to date largely untapped source for better understanding Schreiner’s work, for investigating the borders between the social sciences and feminist social theory, and for promoting theorisation of the epistolarium in social science perspective. It is carrying out a research agenda analysing the Schreiner letters in-depth within a clear methodological and theoretical framework. Overarching concerns locate Schreiner’s changing writing over time in epistolary perspective, with analytical themes being explored …

Schreiner is best known for her youthful The Story of an African Farm, but From Man to Man, or Perhaps Only, the “new book” of her adult years, may well be her greatest achievement, although it remained unfinished on her death in 1920.

A new edition of From Man to Man was released recently, by UCT Press, which corrects the errors that marred previous editions and provides a different ending.

In a letter to Henry Havelock Ellis, British essayist and physician, in 1887, Schreiner writes about the novel and her writing process:

To Havelock Ellis.
Alassio, 18th Dec.

Am working hard. Never come back to myself sometimes for a couple of days and that is the only way in which work can be done. From Man to Man will be quite different from any other book that ever was written, whether good or bad I can’t say. I never think; the story leads me, not I it, and I guess it’s more likely to make an end of me than I am ever to make an end of it!

Related stories:

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Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Helen Mirren prepare for the Oscars with ... Rooibos?!

Tea: 60 teas to revitalise and restoreWhen Hollywood’s leading ladies walk the Oscars red carpet later this month‚ their flawless looks will be boosted by an army of experts‚ serums and potions to get them to look their best. And among their armoury of beauty products is South African Rooibos.

That’s according to the Rooibos Council‚ which says its sales to America are soaring.

Here’s how the Rooibos Council says the tea-based products are helping the stars to get svelte‚ lean and red carpet-ready in time for the big night:

  • Angelina Jolie lathers her perfect pout with a lip balm that boasts Rooibos and a variety of other unusual ingredients;
  • Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and supermodel Miranda Kerr drink Rooibos to detox and stay in shape;
  • Charlize Theron‚ Jessica Alba‚ Hugh Jackman and model Candice Swanepoel all indulge in Rooibos salon treatments which revitalise the skin;
  • Salma Hayek and Victoria-secret model Adriana Lima both swear by a Rooibos beauty beverage that purifies the skin from the inside out;
  • Academy Award winner Helen Mirren takes her teabags wherever she goes‚ and
  • Model Josie Maran swears by a Rooibos-enriched hair detox blend.

Ernest du Toit‚ spokesperson for the Rooibos Council‚ said in a statement that since Rooibos first made its debut in the US in the early 1990s‚ sales to the country have tripled and every year more cosmetics houses – local and international – are cottoning onto the nourishing and anti-ageing properties found in Rooibos.

“South Africa now exports a vast array of different Rooibos products to the US‚ from the traditional unflavoured tea to flavoured teas‚ cappuccinos and cosmetics‚ which ranges from make-up to skin‚ hair‚ perfume and nail-care products‚” he said.

“Its use in cosmetics has increased rapidly and garnered much attention over the last few years‚ as more research proving the plethora of health and beauty benefits of Rooibos has become better known. Rooibos’ high flavonoid content makes it a powerful anti-aging ingredient for skincare formulas. Since much of skin-aging is caused by exposure to UV rays‚ pollution and other environmental contaminants‚ Rooibos’ free-radical destroying abilities helps to protect the skin and to preserve a more youthful look.”

While there’s no way to independently verify the council’s assertions that Hollywood loves our Rooibos‚ South Africans can catch all the red-carpet action on Monday‚ 29 February‚ at 3 AM CAT‚ when the 88th Academy Awards will be aired on DSTV channel O (320).

Source: TMG Digital

For more about the healing properties of tea, consult Tea: 60 teas to revitalise and restore by Margaret Roberts.

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Presenting Causality: First Landing by Divan van der Walt - Adventure, horror and disastrous consequences

CausalityNaledi is proud to present Causality: First Landing by Divan van der Walt:

The passengers of an international flight find themselves inexplicably stranded in an unknown jungle. As they struggle to figure out where they are, they are stalked by mysterious predators. Forced to leave the safety of the plane, the survivors are scattered and left at the mercy of this strange wilderness.

Captain Will Harding tries to lead his passengers to safety, but he soon realises that they may be facing an even bigger challenge. Brian Evert attempts to find his fellow survivors, while navigating the jungle and all its horrors alone. A young girl named Sally tries to reunite with her family and, in the process, discovers something astounding.

Meanwhile – somewhere in a lab – a lone scientist hopelessly struggles to fix a mistake that, if left unsolved, could have disastrous consequences for humanity …

About the author

Divan van der Walt was born in 1986 in Kimberley, South Africa. He graduated from High School Gymnasium, Paarl in 2004 and went on to receive his BSc (Hons) degree in Zoology from Stellenbosch University. From a young age, Divan developed a passion for storytelling which resurfaced constantly through his youth. Even though it was overshadowed by the demands of his studies and the pressures of building a sustainable future, he continued to write in his limited spare time. His debut novel, Causality: First Landing, came after 10 years of hard work and a combination of several fortunate and unfortunate circumstances. Divan currently lives on a farm near Cape Town, South Africa with his fiancée, Le-Jeandré Blom.

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