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Presenting the latest addition to the Madam & Eve series: Hadeda La Land

“Outrageously funny with unerring humour and intelligence” – Cosmopolitan

“A superb mixture of sitcom, satire and South African stuff” – Zapiro

“Has won the hearts of millions!” – Mail & Guardian

This year we are in for a treat: After 25 years, Madam & Eve is still going strong and are back with more hilarious cartoons looking back at another year of the crazy rollercoaster that is daily life and politics in South Africa.

Madam & Eve cartoons appear regularly in the Mail & Guardian, The Star, The Saturday Star, Herald, Mercury, Witness, Daily Dispatch, Cape Times, Pretoria News, Diamond Fields Advertiser, Die Volksblad, EC Today, Kokstad Advertiser and The Namibian.

“I am always amazed by the energy and passion displayed by this writing and drawing duo that manages week after week to come up with fresh comedic ideas on which to make their point and build their powerful punch line.” – Business Day

Stephen Francis is the writing half of the Madam & Eve team. Born in the United States in 1949, Stephen moved to South Africa in 1988. In 1992, witnessing the interesting and often funny dynamic between his South African mother-in-law and her domestic housekeeper, he conceptualised the Madam & Eve strip. Francis is also an award-winning script writer, and radio and TV personality.

Rico Schacherl forms the other half of the creative team – as illustrator. Born in Austria in 1966, Rico has lived and worked in Johannesburg for most of his life, and has been drawing cartoons ever since he was old enough to hold a pencil. Besides his work on Madam & Eve, Rico also produces illustrations and editorial cartoons for a wide range of other publications.

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Bennie Griessel is terug - met mening

Bennie moet ’n ring koop. En nie sommer ’n hierjy-ring vir sy Alexa nie. Hoe op aarde moet hy nou dít bekostig?

Terwyl hy wag om te hoor of die bank sal help, word ’n naakte vroueliggaam op Sir Lowryspas gevind. Uitgestal langs die pad; dit lyk soos die werk van ’n reeksmoordenaar. Ongeïdentifiseerd word sy na die staatslykshuis gebring – waar sy bekend word, weens die bleikmiddel waarmee sy geskrop is, as die Gebleikte Lyk.

Kort daarna word sy Bennie en Vaughn se probleem toe daar besef word sy’s ’n buitelander: Alicia Lewis, ’n kunskenner op die spoor van ’n Fabritius-skildery wat kwansuis in die Kaap is – en hý was ’n Rembrandt-leerling van wie bloedweinig werke bekend is. ’n Onbekende Fabritius sou ’n gróót storie in die kunswêreld wees.

Dan vind Lithpel Davids die naam Billy de Palma in Alicia se skootrekenaar, en Vaughn weet dadelik daar’s gróót fout. Want hy ken vir Billy, en Billy is bad, bad news . . .

Deon Meyer is voltyds skrywer en woon op Stellenbosch. Sy publikasies sluit in twaalf romans (Wie met vuur speel, 1994, Feniks, 1996, Orion, 2000, Proteus, 2002, Infanta, 2004, Onsigbaar, 2007, 13 Uur, 2008, Spoor, 2010, 7 Dae, 2011, Kobra, 2013, Ikarus, 2015 en Koors, 2016). OrionProteus en Infanta is met die ATKV-prosaprys bekroon.

Boekbesonderhede

Listen: Raymond Suttner discusses Inside Apartheid's Prison on Power FM

First published by Oceanbooks, New York and Melbourne, and University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg in 2001, Raymond Suttner’s Inside Apartheid’s Prison was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Alan Paton award in 2002.

In the public imagination the struggle that saw the end of apartheid and inauguration of a democratic South Africa is seen as one waged by black people who were often imprisoned or killed for their efforts. Suttner, an academic, is one of a small group of white South Africans who was imprisoned for his efforts to overthrow the apartheid regime.

He was first arrested in 1975 and tortured with electric shocks because he refused to supply information to the police. He then served eight years for underground activities for the African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party (SACP).

After his release in 1983, he returned to the struggle and was forced to go underground to evade arrest, but was re-detained in 1986 for 27 months; 18 of these being spent in solitary confinement.

In the last months of this detention Suttner was allowed to have a pet lovebird, which he tamed and used to keep inside his tracksuit. When he was eventually released from detention in September 1988 the bird was on his shoulder.

Suttner was held under stringent house arrest conditions, imposed to impede further political activities. He however defied his house arrest restrictions and attended an Organisation for African Unity meeting in Harare, where he remained for five months. Shortly after his return to SA, when he anticipated being re-arrested, the state of emergency was lifted and the ANC and other banned organisations were unbanned.

The book describes Suttner’s experience of prison in a low-key, unromantic voice, providing the texture of prison life. This ‘struggle memoir’ is also intensely personal, as Suttner is not averse to admitting his fears and anxieties.

The new edition contains an afterword where Suttner describes his break with the ANC and SACP. But he argues that the reasons for his rupturing this connection that had been so important to his life were the same ethical reasons that had led him to join in the first place. He remains convinced that what he did was right and continues to act in accordance with those convictions.

Listen to Suttner’s recent conversation with Iman Rapetti for Power FM:


 

Inside Apartheid's Prison

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Jacket Notes: Maxine Case tells of why she needed to write about her ancestors and their lives as slaves in a Softness of the Lime

Published in the Sunday Times

Softness of the LimeSoftness of the Lime
Maxine Case, Umuzi

As a descendant of slaves, this was a story I always wanted to write. My grandmother’s grandmother was born to a slave and her master. “But theirs was a real relationship,” Ma, my grandmother, insisted. “He loved her.” Even though I was quite young when I first heard the story, I always wondered about this. I wondered further when Ma admitted that this master had a wife, and children from that marriage.

“She grew up in their home,” Ma offered, as if this was proof. “The family was quite fond of her.”

“Then why didn’t they free her?” I demanded.

“Those were different times then,” Ma said. “They took care of her, even after the old man died.”

From Ma and her cousins, I heard how the family supported my great-grandmother Johanna financially. Ma or one of her cousins would call at the house in Wynberg to collect their grandmother’s living allowance. The building burnt down years later, and all I had was Ma and her cousins’ word.

But there was something else – real proof of his love for her and her descendants, according to Ma and others in the family who repeated the tale. The proof was inscribed into the cover of a yellowwood Bible and later, in the form of a newspaper cutting from the Sunday Times of September 2, 1973.

According to this article, “Bantjes millions: now Coloureds stake claim”, this man had placed a fortune in gold to be inherited by his descendants 100 years after his death.

The article confirmed my family’s claim. It confirmed that with many of her children living as white under apartheid, Johanna destroyed all evidence pointing to this slave heritage.

I often wondered why Ma held her slave ancestry in such high esteem – especially when so many people, South African or not, denied theirs. From Ma’s stories, I too became proud of my slave heritage.

Shoving that yellowing Sunday Times cutting at me from time to time, and telling me where to look, Ma encouraged me to write the “real” story of Lena and Geert, insisting that we were born out of love and not abuse, as is commonly believed. But could it be love?

Researching this book, I don’t believe so. As much proof as I found to substantiate Ma’s claims, much was negated. So, while in writing this book I took the liberties of fiction, I hope that ultimately, by reimagining their worlds, I’ve succeeded in portraying what life under slavery at the Cape might have been like.

Sadly, Ma didn’t live to see this book published.

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‘Have you ever wondered how a man becomes a rapist?' - An excerpt from Khwezi

Published in the Sunday Times

KhweziKhwezi: The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo
Redi Thlabi

She changed the topic and left me a series of voice messages. I have listened to them regularly since her death. They break my heart every time. It is strange how we interpret words. When I first listened to the messages, they did not seem like a cry for help – just Fez talking as she usually did about how she felt. Now that she is gone, they have taken on a different meaning, a poignancy. I replay her words, detailing how overcome she was by pain, how she could not decide what to do with her life but that ‘that decision will take care of itself’. She was often overwhelmed by life, but would quickly bounce back, saying, ‘Anyway dear, I will take it one fool at a time.’ This time, she said, ‘I will just go with the flow.’

And then she got serious, describing her condition. ‘I am not feeling so hot. It’s just … um. I think I am just still going through a rough patch and I must go with it, go with the flow. I don’t know what is going on.’

I expected that, in typical Fezekile fashion, she would describe, in detail, everything that was happening to her, everything she was feeling. I assumed she was only talking about her emotional state. Even though she had been off her ARVs for a while, it did not occur to me that the physical deterioration had started. Apart from a case of shingles earlier in the year, the first time she had ever suffered from an HIV-related illness, she seemed to be in relatively good health. She was religious about her vegan diet, supplements and meditation, but clearly something was missing.

She proceeded to inform me that she had been in bed for more than a week because her left leg was swollen. But that she was trying to move her body, because ‘My dear friend says it is important that I elevate my leg but also keep my body moving, and my heart moving. She has given me this exercise. Some yoga stunt.’ Several times a day, with the help of her mother she would get off her bed, lie on her back on the floor, elevate her legs and push her feet against the wall.

‘It is just Ma and I in the house so getting off the bed is a challenge. I almost, almost fell on her and she is confused, doesn’t follow instructions properly, and not too strong and doesn’t quite know what we are doing. It was hilarious, actually … huuu! Almost like a circus.’ She was laughing in her voice message, but her laughter was the sound of the vanquished – as if she has come to terms with the never-ending cycle of suffering that has become her life. By this I do not mean that she had come to terms with her death, but just accepted the frequency of her chapters of drama and sadness. She still believed – at that time, at least, a week before she died – that she would get well. She was delicate, animated and self-deprecating, drawing me in so that I could almost picture her and her mom, wrestling on the floor, trying to get Fezekile back on her feet.

I asked if she needed anything, how I could help.

‘Oh dear, where do I start. It is what it is.’

I checked on her every day, especially after the message she left me in which she expressed a desperation to visit her father’s grave.

In the next message, she told me she was going to send me all her passwords. This did not seem strange to me at all, given that I was writing her book; I had become used to her innocence and trusting nature. I figured she was giving me access to some of her writings and musings.

I did not have a chance to acknowledge this message before she sent another one immediately: ‘Today I miss my father Diza. Isn’t that strange? It feels like he never left. I see him everywhere. Yet I miss him terribly. Am I weird?’

‘Not at all,’ I messaged back. ‘I have been there. I think about my father often. But my heart no longer aches. The world was dark when he left it, though … but I am living.’

‘Oh. All sounds so familiar. It just flipped over. But when I am asked how I cope with life, I say it is those foundation years. It always hurts, though. Sometimes at the most inopportune time. Even now.’

‘What is hurting you the most, when you think about him?’

‘I feel robbed, dear. Just robbed. I look at the comrades and how they live, and I feel robbed. Diza would not recognise so many of them.’

‘Which ones in particular?’

‘Ah, the looters, the corrupt, the arrogant, the rapists.’

We don’t speak for a couple of hours; then, in the evening, she asks me, ‘Have you ever wondered how a man becomes a rapist? Do you think they wake up and decide, today, I am going to be an arsehole to a woman? I mean, are they born rapists, do they become rapists, do they think about it or, you know, spur of the moment? That’s been on my mind. What do you think, dear?’

On 2 October, she left me a voice message that she was coming to Johannesburg on the fifth. She was breathing heavily, her pauses just too long between each word. ‘I am just sick and tired and I do not know what is next. Anyway there is something in Joburg, on the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth, this holistic healing thing. Ummm, anyway dear, I don’t know how I am going to get on an aeroplane.’ She had told me that her leg was swollen ‘from [her] bum to [her] toe’. She took a deep breath. ‘But it is important that I go. And Auntie Bunie believes that I, I’ll be better when I get there. So, let’s see, it is in two parts. The spiritual and the physical.’

‘What do you need?’

‘I have tried everything, meditation, acupuncture, so let’s see how this will work.’

Somehow, with her swollen leg – a suspected thrombosis – she arrived in Johannesburg. By this time, she was no longer answering her phone or replying to messages. The last message I sent her
was on the fifth, the day she said she was starting her healing course. I told her that I had finally finished reading the transcript of the trial, and that I was proud of her: ‘A bit broken, but I break many times over this subject. The system is entrenched. The point of my writing is exactly how the questions posed to you further entrench patriarchal and sexist views.’

The message remained unread; she deteriorated further. After all the battles she had fought and won – and fought and lost – she would not survive this one. When death came knocking at her door, I imagine her answering the door with her signature, ‘One fool at a time, please.’ I was deeply saddened, especially since her last messages were still full of hope.

Book details

Private tragedy is now national tragedy: Salman Rushdie tells Michele Magwood why he wrote his latest novel The Golden House

Michele Magwood finds Salman Rushdie on fine and furious form in his latest novel. The Golden House is a glorious fusion of knowing social commentary and compelling mystery, packed with wit and cultural references. She spoke to him in New York.

The Golden HouseThe Golden House
Salman Rushdie, Jonathan Cape
*****

In Salman Rushdie’s previous novel, the antic, phantasmagorical Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, the city of New York is overcome by “strangenesses” – lightning crackles from fingers, a gentle old gardener begins to levitate, an abandoned baby causes boils to erupt on the faces of anyone who is corrupt. In his new novel, however, there is none of his trademark supernatural fancies or magical realism. Instead he has written an up-to-the-minute, drenched-in-zeitgeist panorama of New York and America. This time, the strangeness is real.

“When I finished writing Two Years I thought this probably pushes this kind of writing as far as it can go, so I thought I’d try to write a very different novel, a realist social novel about the last decade or so.”

Rushdie is speaking from his home in New York, where he has lived for the last 17 years, the city that has enabled him to live what he calls “a perfectly normal life”, after the many years of hiding in the UK with a fatwa hanging over him. He said he chose New York because it reminded him of his hometown Bombay with its noise and bustle, but also because it is a place of re-invention. “Everybody comes from somewhere else.”

In The Golden House a man arrives in the city with his three grown sons. They arrive on the day that Barack Obama is elected, a time of optimism, “when Isis was still an Egyptian mother-goddess”.

They seem to come from nowhere, or anywhere. There is no sign of a wife or mother, but it is clear they are stupefyingly wealthy. The men take outlandish new names for themselves. The father is Nero Julius Golden, the eldest son Petronius, known as Petya, the second Lucius Apuleius, or Apu, and the youngest Dionysus, or simply “D”. “Who should we say we are?” the boys ask their father. “Tell them nothing. Tell them we are snakes who shed our skins,” Nero says.

The novel may be sharply contemporary, but there is something ancient to the story. “In Greek and Roman tragic plays we know from the beginning that some terrible calamity is about to befall these characters and then it hits them. In this book the reader quite rapidly understands that this family is hiding something serious, and you know that secret is going to blow up in their faces. So in that sense it has the shape of a classical tragedy.”

Notes of foreboding are sounded early on by the narrator, a young filmmaker named René who lives in the same moneyed, sylvan enclave as the Goldens and who decides to make a film about them. Buried in the narrative, a clever mise en abyme, is his script for the documentary.

The fuse is lit when the septuagenarian Nero takes a young Russian bride, Vasilisa. Beautiful of course, just 28 years old, but with a preternatural cunning. This being Rushdie, he has her harbouring, Alien-like, the rapacious witch Baba Yaga. Nero’s sons are dismayed.

The doomed Golden sons channel the dark materials of Rushdie’s current preoccupations: Petya is a lumpen alcoholic, a shut-in savant who designs video games. Apu is a gifted artist, handsome, priapic and fashionable with the Manhattan élite, “famous on 20 blocks.” And then there is D, painfully gender-confused.

Here’s Apu loose on the town: “He followed a Canal Street Kabbalist named Idel, who was adept in the ways of the forbidden Practical Kabbalah, which sought through the use of white magic to affect and change the sphere of the divine itself… he also went eagerly… into the world of Buddhist Judaism, and meditated along with the city’s growing cohorts of ‘BuJus’ – classical composers, movies stars, yogis.”

This is Rushdie at his Dickensian best: keen-eyed, plucking shining observations from the streets like a magpie. His treatment of the troubled D is more sober, however, as he assays the field of gender identity. “The more I dug into it and talked to people I realised how much hair-splitting hostility there is between people who 99% of the time would be on the same side.”

D is depressed by the choices he is being forced to make: “You could be TG, TS, TV, CD. Whatever feels right to you.” Transgender, transsexual, transvestite, cross-dresser. None feels right to him and on they go. If he doesn’t identify as male or female, there is ze, ey, hir, xe, hen, ve, ne, per, thon or Mx. As one gender worker says regretfully, “My field should be a safe, soft space for understanding and instead it’s a warzone.”

Rushdie is at his most damning, though, at the end of the book when a new president is elected. This is the age of fake news, truthiness, bawling rhetoric. It is the age of grotesques and comic characters in power – a green-haired cartoon Joker is in charge. The times are toxic.

As René says: “What does one do when the world one believes in turns out to be a paper moon and a dark planet rises and says, No, I am the world… when your fellow Americans tell you that knowing things is elitist and they hate elites, and all you have ever had is your mind and you were brought up to believe in the loveliness of knowledge… and then all of that, education, art, music, film becomes a reason for being loathed, and the creature out of Spiritus Mundi rises up and slouches toward Washington DC, to be born.”

Yes, this time Rushdie’s strangenesses are real.

“The story of the Goldens is a private tragedy surrounded by what is turning into a national tragedy,” he sighs. “I think that’s really in a way what the book is trying to say.”

Follow @michelemagwood

Listen to Michele and Salman’s conversation here

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