Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to BooksLIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Books LIVE


An Unnatural History: Hedley Twidle Reviews Henrietta Rose-Innes' Green Lion

RIP Mike Lundy: Companion to Legions of Hikers, Determined Adventurer and Thoroughly Decent Guy

Mike Lundy, one of South Africa’s most avid and best-loved adventurers, has passed away.

Best Walks in the Cape PeninsulaMike Lundy\'s Best Walks in the Cape PeninsulaEasy Walks in the Cape PeninsulaWeekend Trails in the Western Cape

Lundy – author of Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula, Easy Walks in the Cape Peninsula and Weekend Trails in the Western Cape among others – was a household name in South Africa with several books and over 200 articles published on hiking. He was a regular contributor to the press and radio and a tour guide for Table Mountain National Parks. His exceptional service to the hiking community has been recognised with a merit award from the Hiking Federation of South Africa.

Lundy’s wife, Barbara, posted this notice online, saying goodbye to her husband:

Beloved husband, father and grandfather, friend to so many and companion to legions of hikers, passed away surrounded by his wife and 3 sons on 27 May 2015, aged 74.

Dad, enjoy your endless beloved mountains.

Goodbye my precious husband. Thanks for 21 years of love, laughs and adventure. I will love you forever. Barbara.

Lundy lived in Hout Bay, and the Hout Bay Yacht Club paid tribute to him on their blog, writing that “he will be remembered as a true gentleman and a thoroughly decent guy”:

Rest in Peace Mike.

Mike was a damn fine bloke – that I gathered very quickly from the various times I chatted with him at the yacht club. A gentleman, a great conversationalist, a well known hiker and author of some twenty books on hiking etc, member of the various Cape town hiking clubs etc. He ran a very successful business disposing of insurance assets etc, and was a popular and well known resident of Hout Bay, and in fact of Cape Town.

I suspect he had a lot of other credentials but sadly I was not well enough acquainted with him to say much more – hopefully other club members will supply further info for the website. Certainly he will be remembered as a true gentleman and a thoroughly decent guy, what else can one ask for?

Sincerest condolences to his family.

He is sadly missed at H.B.Y.C.

Adventure publication Go! Magazine also paid tribute to Lundy, saying: “He approached life like he tackled a tough route – with determination and curiosity.”

With great sadness we say goodbye to the hiking legend, Mike Lundy. He started hiking as a young boy, discovering caves…

Posted by Go! Magazine SA on Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Hanlie Gouws and Malherbe Nienaber report for Netwerk24 that Lundy passed away after an extended period of being ill. His son Tim, also a hiking guide, shared that a memorial service, to be held at Suikerbossie in Hout Bay, is being planned for next week.

Mike Lundy het die piek om 01:40 bereik met sy drie seuns aan sy sy. Hy is vrygelaat in die berge wat ons almal as ons tuiste beskou. Pa, rus lekker en stap die roete na die ewigheid. Met liefde van Timothy, vir ewig jou skaduwee op die berg.”

Met dié woorde het Tim Lundy Woensdagoggend vroeg die dood van sy pa aangekondig.

Mike Lundy (74), die Kaap se “Mnr. Stap”, is ná ’n lang siekte in sy huis in Houtbaai oorlede.

Our condolences go out to Lundy’s friends and family.

Book details

Image courtesy of Hike Cape Town

National Arts Festival to Feature Satire Genre as 2015 Artist of the Year (Plus: Programme)

As always the National Arts Festival, held annually in Grahamstown, promises to deliver incredible art across all genres, offering festival goers an unforgettable experience.

From Thursday, 2 July to Sunday, 12 July the town will be buzzing as the jam-packed programme takes over venues like the 1820 Settlers Monument, Rhodes University and surrounding school campuses.

The organisers of the festival have taken a bold step this year: Instead of featuring a person as their artist of the year they have opted to celebrate satire as a genre, paying tribute to the hard and often unrewarding job satirists have of making us think about difficult topics.

The Essential Evita BezuidenhoutStukke teaterChester Missing's Guide to the Elections '14Comedy ClubThere is More Than One Truth

Pieter-Dirk Uys, Chester Missing, Jeremey Nell, Tjeerd Royaards, and Dario Milo (Zapiro’s lawyer) are but some of the names who will be bringing this art form to the respective festival venues.

Other highlights on the programme include:

Cry, the Beloved CountryI Have LifeJeff and George and the Totem PoleSongs of the VeldNo Country for Fools


  • A Voice I Cannot Silence, a play based on the life and work of Alan Paton, author of the incredible Cry, the Beloved Country.
  • A startling performance of William Shakespeare’s classic play, The Tragedy of Hamlet.

Think!Fest Programme 2015


Press release


Since launching the featured artist programme in 2012, the spotlight has shone on artists whose prolific work has fearlessly contributed in challenging ways to our national discourses about race, class, ethnicity, gender and environment. This year the festival breaks the mould by declaring a genre the 2015 Artist of the Year.

Satire has the ability to contest boundaries. It unravels itself through interactive forms of expression. It is fearless about how it challenges perceptions and traditional positions. Satire is a dynamic mode of creative expression. It is inter-culturally charged. It is most productive when it concentrates on one fundamental issue: social justice!

In the wake of the attack on the French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, various debates about satire have reared their heads. Can satire change an opinion or persuade a mind? Are cartoons so dangerous as to pose an ideological threat?

Unlike comedy soirees, satire has the power to punch out philosophical lines that can send out a knockout blow. Unlike pub jokes which can have a solidifying effect that ultimately turns stereotypes into truths, satire can unravel layers of dishonesty to allow the audience to establish their own truths.

At the 2015 National Arts Festival, satire takes a pivotal position ranging from Pieter-Dirk Uys, the diva of South African political satire in the performance arts genre to Chester Missing, the only satirical puppet on the planet to be taken to court and to have won the case against him.

Albert Pretorius, Rob van Vuuren and James Cairns directed by Tara Louise Nottcutt premiere their new work, Three Blind Mice, which has its own biting elements of satire inspired by courtroom dramas that have shocked the nation.

In the Festival’s visual arts programme, Freedom of Expression in Broad Strokes, is a showcase of winning cartoons since 2001 from an international cartoon competition which encourages visitors to think about the complexity of freedom of expression and what it means to them. At the same time, the exhibition aims to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On the Think Fest! Programme, South African award winning cartoonist Jeremey Nell, (Vodacom journalist of the year 2011) and Dutch cartoonist Tjeerd Royaards (2nd prize at Press Cartoon Europe in 2014) will talk about the power of cartoons and satire; and Dario Milo, who has represented Zapiro and the Goodman Gallery in the Spier case, talks on Satire and Parody: The Legal Protections and Restrictions. He will be joined other prominent thinkers, satirists and cartoonists in a rigorous debate on the ethics and principles of freedom of speech and satire.

On the Remix Laboratory programme and also open to all Festival-goers, a Cartoon Competition supported by the city of The Hague in the Netherlands and the international Cartoon Movement will have its South African launch on the Think! Fest programme with support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Young people will be asked to create cartoon sketches about their ideas and local solutions that can contribute to international peace and justice. The ten best cartoons will be selected by an international jury and will be on display at the Peace Palace in The Hague, from September 21, 2015.

The National Arts Festival recognises that satirists are a pillar of a critical and a free society. Yet today, many are becoming a threatened species! Many stand to lose their jobs as bureaucrats, funders and fundamentalists tighten the pressure valves. Many create their work without ever bowing down to the immense pressures they face. Celebrating the right for free and fair expression as enshrined in the South African constitution, the National Arts Festival is proud to take the bold step of personifying the genre of SATIRE and to announce the art of SATIRE as the 2015 Featured Artist of the Year.

Book details

21 of Our Favourite Quotes from 2015 Franschhoek Literary Festival

We’ve collected the best of the quotes we can remember hearing at the 2015 Franschhoek Literary Festival.

If you recall one that we’ve overlooked – or if you are an author who said something really witty and wants to be acknowledged – share your pearls of wisdom in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

Tales of the Metric System
“What’s the biggest mistake I see in my writing students? That they didn’t choose accountancy.” – Imraan Coovadia
Don't Film Yourself Having Sex
“If you don’t want your mom to see it, don’t put it online.” – Emma Sadleir
101 Detectives
“After I submit the book I have some hellish weeks. What have I done? I should have kept this to myself.” – Ivan Vladislavić
“Life doesn’t do what stories do. Life continues. Stories end.” – Christopher Hope
Green Lion
“If we choose not to write African stories we are impoverishing our literature.” – Henrietta Rose-Innes
A History of Loneliness
“I’d like to think my sexuality is one of the least interesting things about me, much like my head of hair.” – John Boyne
The Paying Guests
“Only now can we start writing about miserable lesbians, as it is no longer necessary to create positive images.” – Sarah Waters
Dying in New York
“There’s swagger to Nigerian attitude which is great – see their soccer World Cup confidence. We need more swagger as SA authors.” – Ekow Duker
Rusty Bell
“I see a lot of sentences that could have been written better in my books. But then I would never publish anything.” – Nthikeng Mohlele
“Non-fiction as a category is like calling all the clothes in your wardrobe ‘non-socks’.” – Hedley Twidle
The Reactive
“Writing is more than a compulsion.” – Masande Ntshanga
“Banging your head against a wall because it’s so nice to stop. Writing is like that.” – Deon Meyer
“Writers do half the job. The reader who picks up the book does the rest.” – Thando Mgqolozana
Literary Landscapes
“Nobody cares what people in Nigeria think about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels. Value is created elsewhere.” – Harry Garuba
One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo
“When you’re young you hear people say ‘everybody dies’ and you hear in your head ‘everybody else dies’.” – Darrel Bristow-Bovey
Could I Vote DA?
“Many black professionals, including the few who are here, are actually secretly indebted – we’re not genuinely middle class.” – Eusebius McKaiser
Arctic Summer
“The only way you can be universal is to be sure you are very specifically local.” – Damon Galgut
“Julius Malema is a mixture of Hitler, Idi Amin, Mobutu Sese Seko and many other dictators together.” – Kenny Kunene
Dare We Hope?
“If soup kitchens are there to cleanse guilt and not to restore dignity then there’s a challenge.” – Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
What Will People Say: A Novel
“Once people have been free to express themselves in racist, antisemitic, senile ways … then we can klap them.” – Rehana Rossouw
Still Grazing
“All my experiences removed geography from my world.” – Hugh Masekela
Book details

  • Literary Landscapes: From Modernism to Postcolonialism by Harry Garuba, Ina Grabe, Merry M Pawlowski, Carrol Clarkson, Johan Geertsema
    EAN: 9780230553163
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

An Honest Imagining: Barry Ronge Fiction Prize Shortlistee Masande Ntshanga Talks About Writing The Reactive

Published in the Sunday Times

I’ve always wanted to write a novel about Cape Town. I also knew that I wanted it be something personal, but imagined.

I remember thinking that at the beginning. It still took me another two years to arrive at the point at which I could draft it, though. I only had the themes and the setting, to begin with. I knew I wanted it to be a contemporary novel set in Cape Town and for it to move across different sectors of the city, but I didn’t have access to the story. That was perhaps the most instructive part of the process for me. I learnt that I had to pull back, in the end, and become less controlling in order to allow the work to come out the way it was meant to come out.

To allow for more honesty, in other words. For this book, in particular, which is about a transitional period in the protagonist’s life, I needed, similarly, to take stock of what was happening in my own. I began to evaluate what was happening around me, as well, and in the end, I discovered that in order to write the kind of book I had in mind, I would have to undergo a similar transition.

Having once tried to write similar stories at arm’s length, and having watched them not succeed as a result, I knew that I would have to be more involved with the novel. I moved out of a flat in Cape Town, where I wasn’t doing all that well, and went to back to King William’s Town, where I took up in a small cottage in the yard of my brother’s house.

It was there, within that relative isolation, that I began to consider what I wanted to do and why. In coming home, I’d discovered that so much human activity was based on survival, or this idea of imposing a permanence over life. I wanted to reverse that, to have a character who wasn’t in opposition to his mortality, and in doing so, to explore what else that character might find as motivation for living.

Full 2015 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award shortlist

Full 2015 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize shortlist

The ReactiveBook details

In Search of Common Ground: 2015 Alan Paton Award Shortlistee Lindie Koorts Answers Some Tough Questions on Her Biography of DF Malan

Published in the Sunday Times

What prompted you to write DF Malan and the Rise of Afrikaner Nationalism, on such a contentious man in South African history?
I’ve sometimes asked myself the same question. As a young Afrikaner who grew up during South Africa’s transition, I was struck by an older generation who were clinging to an identity that was shaped by the nationalism of their youth. I thought that if I could show how it emerged in a particular context, I would dismantle a myth. But Malan and the Afrikaner nationalists were more complex than I’d thought, and there was no post-1994 biography of him (or any of the other apartheid premiers).

What is it that you are challenging about our view of DF Malan? Why is it so important for us to understand him as a man?
Malan exemplifies the inhumanity of the apartheid system. While one cannot begin to express the inhumanity of apartheid, it was formulated by disturbingly ordinary human beings. Malan was plagued by shyness and uncertainty. His absent-mindedness made him a sometimes comical figure. He experienced love, the devastation of losing a spouse and the perils of parenthood. By understanding Malan as a man, we begin to understand that South Africa was shaped by human beings with whom we share a common humanity. It presents the unsettling notion that we might also share in their capacity for inhumanity.

What new insights did your research reveal?
My most important finding was the link between Malan’s concern about the so-called “poor white problem” and his thinking about race. It changed over time and was shaped by the various phases of his career. Racism is not an easy subject to research, but it is important to understand that it is not a simple or static phenomenon. Malan’s leadership style fitted Max Weber’s model of the charismatic leader. Charisma, in this context, does not mean charm, but the ability to convince one’s followers of one’s “divine” mission. Weber modelled the charismatic leader on the Old Testament prophets – whom Malan consciously emulated. It helps to explain why Afrikaners chose to follow him.

What was the most difficult part of writing it?
I enjoyed the writing process, especially in doing away with some of the staid conventions of academic writing. It was all about the narrative, but it also meant that I could not insert myself to explain some of my decisions, such as why the final chapter deviates from standard descriptions of apartheid (if one places Malan at the centre of the story, which is the function of biography, the archive tells a different and unsettling tale). It left the academic in me feeling somewhat vulnerable.

Why is it important to challenge through this biography, as you say in your introduction, “both Afrikaner and African nationalist stereotypes, without the constraints of yesteryear”?
The previous biographies of Malan, written before 1994, portrayed him as an uncomplicated hero of the nationalist cause. As a post-1994 Afrikaner, I am no longer constrained by the nationalist framework of my predecessors. Yet master narratives are still with us. The African nationalist narrative of the struggle portrays Malan as an equally uncomplicated villain. I distanced myself from both nationalisms and instead strove for nuance and complexity, and studying the past in its own right. It is not the usual staple of nationalist narratives, but it is a truer reflection of our world.

There is no analysis in your book of Malan’s legacy. You choose rather to tell his life story and his political rise. Was this deliberate and why?
Malan’s legacy is all around us and authors who write on the South African condition engage with it on a daily basis. It is so multitudinal that one can never hope to pin it down, so I limited myself to Malan’s story. My analysis of Malan himself is woven into the narrative, and I tried to guide the reader towards a range of insights.

What impression of the man do you want readers to take away after reading this biography?
I don’t expect readers to like Malan. I would like readers to grapple with his complexity, his contradictions, his humanity, his ordinariness and his exceptionalism. This may be uncomfortable, but I hope that it would add to the way we engage with the past.

Full 2015 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award shortlist

Full 2015 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize shortlist

DF Malan and the Rise of Afrikaner NationalismBook details

The Books That Built Me, by Zukiswa Wanner

Zukiswa Wanner

Sunday Times Books Guest Column

Published in the Sunday Times

I’ve been heard to say that every book I’ve read has changed my life – the good ones have inspired me to be a better writer and the bad ones have taught me how I do not want to write. Nothing about this has changed. But for the sake of this column, I shall attempt to list the books that have changed me the most.

Shimmer Chinodya’s Harvest of Thorns has stuck with me almost 30 years. I first read it when I was 12. With this book, Chinodya made me fall in love with literature from this continent, a love that continues to this day. For the first time, I realised that books don’t have to always be serious and heavy, with some moral at the end. Rather, here was a story that rang true, that was all around me in the Zimbabwe I grew up in, but wasn’t preachy, but was full of humour instead. I also really loved the way he played with the English language, what I’ve heard him refer to as “revenge of the colonies”.

This has been done even better by one of my contemporaries and a man and writer I admire immensely: Thando Mgqolozana. Hear Me Alone is a book that people can’t be indifferent to (with not a few people stating that they “don’t get it”) and that is actually what I love about it the most. This simple story of the Virgin birth is dealt with with skill and finesse by the very able Mgqolozana, who embarrasses lesser writers like myself.

Patrick French’s The World is What it is: The Authorized Biography of VS Naipaul is another book that has made a large impact on my life. See, I liked Naipaul’s fiction, but this biography showed me how definitively separate the art can be from the artist. After taking in the sordid details of Naipaul’s life – revealed by French with his full permission – I have since found it difficult to read him. Forget Ronald Suresh Roberts, after reading this book Naipaul will be the Trinidadian whom many will deem unlikeable. As a writer, the book taught me to always check my ego, something Naipaul seems incapable of doing.

The War at Home, edited by Bill Nasson and Albert Grundlingh, is a book every South African should read to understand our history, in particular with regards to the Second South African War (popularly known as the Anglo-Boer War). I found it highly educational about a phase of my country’s history that I thought I knew, but turned out not to know that much.

London – Cape Town – JoburgZukiswa Wanner‘s latest novel is London, Cape Town, Joburg (Kwela)

Book details

Image courtesy of Victor Dlamini