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An account of the day Nelson Mandela met Fidel Castro: How Far We Slaves Have Come

How Far We Slaves Have ComeKwela Books is proud to present How Far We Slaves Have Come, by Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro:

Two world renowned revolutionary icons, Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro, meet for the first time in Cuba 1991. This book is the collection of their speeches from that auspicious day.

Speaking at a rally, Mandela credits Cuba’s military support and involvement in Angola, and comments on Cuba’s assistance to debilitate the United States-backed South African army, which resulted in the acceleration in the fight to bring down the apartheid government.

Castro acknowledges the contribution of South Africans to the worldwide fight for justice.

Mandela and Castro regarded each other as mentors – and the world regards them as icons. Historians, researchers and activists will be keenly interested in this book.

About the authors

Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Mandela served 27 years in prison on Robben Island and was released in 1990. He won South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994 and became the first black president of the country. He gained international acclaim for his activism and is often described as “Father of the Nation”.

Fidel Castro is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who served as Prime Minister of Cuba and then President from 1976 to 2008. Under his administration Cuba became a one-party socialist state; industry and business were nationalised, and state socialist reforms were implemented throughout the country. Castro is a controversial world figure. Through his actions and his writings he has significantly influenced the politics of various individuals and groups across the world.

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2016 Media24 Books Literary Awards shortlists announced

2016 Media24 Books Literary Awards shortlists announced

Alert! The shortlists for the 2016 Media24 Books Literary Awards have been announced.

The awards recognise the best work published by Media24 Books – including NB Publishers and Jonathan Ball – during the previous year. An exception occurred in 2014, when Dominque Botha’s Valsrivier, published by Umuzi, was deemed too strong not to be included and the won Jan Rabie Rapport Prize.

The winner in each of the six categories receives R35,000, with the MER Prize for Illustrated Children’s Books being shared by the author and illustrator. Independent panels of judges compiled the shortlists.

The prizes will be awarded in Cape Town on 22 June, 2016.

Last year’s six winners were Willem Anker, Michiel Heyns, Antjie Krog, Mark Gevisser, Andre Eva Bosch and Fiona Moodie.

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2016 Media24 Books Literary Awards shortlists

WA Hofmeyr Prize for Afrikaans Fiction (novel, short stories or drama)


Wonderboom by Lien Botha (Queillerie)
Brandwaterkom by Alexander Strachan (Tafelberg)
Vlakwater by Ingrid Winterbach (Human & Rousseau)

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Recht Malan Prize for Afrikaans or English Non-Fiction

Black Brain, White BrainA Perfect StormShowdown at the Red Lion

Black Brain, White Brain by Gavin Evans (Jonathan Ball)
Perfect Storm by Milton Shain (Jonathan Ball)
Showdown at the Red Lion by Charles van Onselen (Jonathan Ball)

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Herman Charles Bosman Prize for English Fiction (novel, short stories or drama)

The FetchThe Shadow of the Hummingbird

The Fetch by Finuala Dowling (Kwela)
The Shadow of the Hummingbird by Athol Fugard and Paula Fourie (Human & Rousseau)

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Elisabeth Eybers Prize for Afrikaans and English Poetry


Vry- by Gilbert Gibson (Human & Rousseau)
Takelwerk by Daniel Hugo (Human & Rousseau)
Bladspieël by Marlise Joubert (Human & Rousseau)

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MER Prize for Afrikaans and English Youth Novels

Elton Amper-Famous April en Juffrou BromBambaduzeSwemlesse vir 'n meermin

Elton amper-famous April en juffrou Brom by Carin Krahtz (Tafelberg)
Bambaduze by Derick van der Walt (Tafelberg)
Swemlesse vir ’n meermin by Marita van der Vyver (Tafelberg)

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MER Prize for Illustrated Children’s Books in Afrikaans and English

Hendrik LeerdamDie Dingesfabriek: Jannus en Kriek en die tydmasjienProfessor Sabatina se wetenskapboek

Hendrik Leerdam: Kaap van storms by James Home en Peter Mascher (ill.) (Tafelberg)
Die Dingesfabriek 4: Jannus en Kriek en die tydmasjien by Elizabeth Wasserman and Astrid Castle (ill.) (Tafelberg)
Professor Sabatina se wetenskapboek by Elizabeth Wasserman, Astrid Castle (ill.) and Rob Foote (ill.) (Tafelberg)

The prizes will be awarded in Cape Town on 22 June 2016.

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Ivan Vladislavic shortlisted for 2016 International Literature Award for German edition of Double Negative

Ivan Vladislavic shortlisted for International Literature Award for German edition of Double Negative
Double Negative German editionDouble NegativeDouble Negative

Alert! Ivan Vladislavić has been shortlisted for the 2016 International Literature Award for the German translation of his book Double Negative.

Internationaler LiteraturpreisThe German edition, also titled Double Negative, was translated by Thomas Brückner and published by A1 Verlag in 2015.

The International Literature Award, known in German as Internationaler Literaturpreis – Haus der Kulturen der Welt, is a German literary award for international prose translated into German for the first time. Winning authors receive £25,000 and the translators £10,000.

The prize judges said:

In his often mirrored novel Double Negative, South African essayist and writer Ivan Vladislavić manages the feat of linking great themes of the history of civilisation (racial segregation in his home) with moral and aesthetic issues (what is the truth of photography) to an important story about the time during and after apartheid. After the first free elections, the narrator returns to South Africa from London – now a photographer himself – to observe the changes. But what has really changed? Vladislavić stages the history without any kitsch or sentimentality, making the book, beautifully translated by Thomas Brückner, a literary masterpiece.

Internationaler Literaturpreis – Haus der Kulturen der Welt shortlist

  • Author: Johannes Anyuru, translator: Paul Berf
    Ein Sturm wehte vom Paradiese her
    Swedish: En storm kom från paradiset
    Publishers: Luchterhand Literaturverlag 2015, Norstedts, Stockholm 2012
  • Author: Joanna Bator, translator: Lisa Palmes
    Dunkel, fast Nacht
    Polish: Ciemno, prawie noc
    Publishers: Suhrkamp Verlag 2016, WAB, Warschau 2012
  • Author: Alexander Ilitschewski, translator: Andreas Tretner
    Der Perser
    Russian: Перс
    Publishers: Suhrkamp Verlag 2016, Astrel, Moskau 2010
  • Author: Valeria Luiselli, translator: Dagmar Ploetz
    Die Geschichte meiner Zähne
    Spanish: La historia de mis dientes
    Publishers: Verlag Antje Kunstmann 2016, Editorial Sexto Piso, Mexiko 2014
  • Author: Shumona Sinha, translator: Lena Müller
    Erschlagt die Armen!
    French: Assommons les pauvres!
    Publishers: Edition Nautilus 2015, Editions de l’Olivier, Paris 2011
  • Author: Ivan Vladislavić, translator: Thomas Brückner
    Double Negative
    English: Double Negative
    Publishers: A1 Verlag 2015, Umuzi, Kapstadt 2010

The Internationaler Literaturpreis was won by Teju Cole in 2013, for Open City (translated by Christine Richter-Nilsson), while NoViolet Bulawayo was shortlisted in 2015 for We Need New Names (translated by Miriam Mandelkow).

Double Negative was originally published by US-Italian publishers Contrasto in 2010 in a sleeved set with TJ, a book of photographs by David Goldblatt. The project received the 2011 Kraszna-Krausz Award for best photography book.

It was released as a standalone paperback by Umuzi in 2011, and then in the United Kingdom and North America by And Other Stories in November 2013, becoming Vladislavić’s first book to be published in those territories.

Cole wrote the introduction for the And Other Stories edition, and joined Vladislavić on his book tour in New York. Cole was also Vladislavić’s co-winner, along with Helon Habila, of the 2015 Windham–Campbell Literature Prize for Fiction.

Vladislavić is the only author to have won both the Sunday Times Fiction Prize (for The Restless Supermarket in 2002) and the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for Non-fiction (for Portrait with Keys: Joburg & What-What in 2007). He has also won the Olive Schreiner Prize (Missing Persons, 1991), the CNA Literary Award (The Folly, 1993), the Thomas Pringle Prize (“Propaganda by Monuments” and “The WHITES ONLY Bench”, 1994), the University of Johannesburg Prize (Portrait with Keys: Joburg & What-What, 2007 and Double Negative, 2011), the M-Net Literary Award (Double Negative, 2011) and the 2015 Windham–Campbell Literature Prize (Fiction). He is a Distinguished Professor in the Creative Writing Department at Wits University.

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More accolades for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Author awarded Barnard College's highest honour

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Honorary Degree
Half of a Yellow SunWe Should All Be FeministsAmericanahPurple HibiscusAmericanahThe Thing Around Your Neck


It’s been a busy week for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The internationally acclaimed Nigerian novelist was awarded an honorary doctorate by Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday, but the day before, in a ceremony that flew under the radar, she was also awarded the 2016 Barnard Medal of Distinction from Barnard College.

Barnard is a private women’s liberal arts college in the United States, affiliated with Columbia University. The Barnard Medal of Distinction is the college’s highest honour, serving a similar purpose to an honorary degree. Previous recipients include Toni Morrison, Meryl Streep, Hillary Clinton, Billie Jean King, Joan Didion and Barack Obama.

In the medal citation, the college said of Adichie: “You spark the conversation, upend the status quo, and open our hearts and minds to the world.

“We honour your work, your humour, your respect for history, and your vision for the future. In your footsteps, we will all be feminists, unlearning what we have been taught to believe in order to dream for ourselves. Steering clear of the single story in favour of an ever more kaleidoscopic view. Staying true to who we are, messy though that may be.”

In a video filmed at the ceremony, Adichie gives some advice to the students receiving their degrees: “Eat real food, be kind to yourself, and read books.”

She continues:

I think it’s important for young women to remember that they are much stronger than the world tells them that they are.

Watch the video:

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Read the full citation:

Citation for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Celebrated author. Beloved storyteller. Artist. Visionary. Feminist. You spark the conversation, upend the status quo, and open our hearts and minds to the world.

Being born in Nigeria in 1977, the fifth of six children, was clearly a significant start. Your father was a professor, your mom the University registrar, and your childhood, a happy one, though tinged by the legacy of war. Books were your haven and your guide, and by age 10 you had read enough to know that people just like you could, in fact, inhabit them.

Medicine seemed like a worthy pursuit, but by age 19 you left for the United States to follow a new and auspicious path. A bachelor’s summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State, a master’s in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University, and another in African studies from Yale. You were gathering the tools and the temperament to present us with your gift in words, with Africa as your muse.

In 2003, that gift took the form of Purple Hibiscus, your first novel and one to notice, about breaking free and defying expectation. Three years later, in Half of a Yellow Sun, you gave voice to the ravages wrought by your country’s Civil War decades before, and for it, won international acclaim and the Orange Prize for Fiction. You were thirty years old. And in 2013, with Americanah, you wove a post-9/11 story of race and identity that has been hailed as a benchmark for literary excellence—one of The New York Times Top Ten Best Books of the Year, winner of the US National Book Critics Circle Award, and the object of heaps of attention. And your TED talks, The Danger of a Single Story and We Should All Be Feminists have multi-millions of views. You write, we read. You speak, we listen.

We honor your work, your humor, your respect for history, and your vision for the future. In your footsteps, we will all be feminists, unlearning what we have been taught to believe in order to dream for ourselves. Steering clear of the single story in favor of an ever more kaleidoscopic view. Staying true to who we are, messy though that may be.

On behalf of my alma mater, it is an extraordinary privilege to present to you the 2016 Barnard Medal of Distinction, with all due gratitude, reverence, and heart.

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Spike Lee awarded Johns Hopkins University honorary degrees

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Honorary Degree
Half of a Yellow SunWe Should All Be FeministsAmericanahPurple HibiscusAmericanahThe Thing Around Your Neck

Internationally acclaimed Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was awarded an honorary degree by Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, United States, on Wednesday.

Adichie was one of eight “distinguished achievers” to receive the honour this year. The list also included groundbreaking filmmaker Spike Lee, Nobel Prize winner Richard Axel and Ellen M Heller, Maryland’s first woman to become an administrative Circuit Court judge.

Adichie earned a prestigious creative writing master’s from Johns Hopkins in 2003, the year her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, was published to worldwide acclaim. At just 26, Adichie was shortlisted for the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction and won the 2005 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, and her career has since skyrocketed.

In a video released by Johns Hopkins to celebrate the event, Adichie says: “My advice to the graduating seniors is, eat real food, as often as you can. And embrace ignorance. Say those words ‘I don’t know’. Because by embracing ignorance you open up the possibility of knowledge.”

Watch the video:

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Brittlepaper tweeted a photo:


Filmmaker Spike Lee, whose works include Do The Right Thing and Jungle Fever, began his speech by referring to two words he said are in almost all of his films to date: “Wake up.”

“Wake up from the sleep, wake up from being comatose, wake up from the slumber that keeps your eyes shut to all the inequalities and injustices. To this more often than not evil, crazy and insane world we live in. Let’s move our unconscious minds from the back to the front to a conscious state, and wake up.”

Lee continued: “We are at a very crucial moment in history in these United States of America. And the way I’m looking at it today, to tell you the truth, things are looking dicey. It can go either way.

“I wish you could be graduating into a world of peace, light, and love, but that’s not the case. We don’t live in a fairytale, but I guess the one percent does. After you leave here today, it’s going to be real life, and real life is no joke. It’s real out here for the 99 percent, for sure. It’s up to the graduating class to make a better world.”

He ended his address with the words “black lives matter”.

Watch the video:

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Jill Nudelman and Imran Garda win 2015 Olive Schreiner Prize for Prose

Jill Nudelman and Imran Garda win 2015 Olive Schreiner Prize for Prose
The Thunder That RoarsInheriting the Earth

Alert! The English Academy of Southern Africa has announced the winners of the 2015 Olive Schreiner Prize for Prose.

The winners are Jill Nudelman, for Inheriting the Earth (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2012) and Imran Garda, for The Thunder that Roars (Umuzi, 2014).

The adjudicators said that through Garda’s debut novel “South African literature soars above the tortuous apartheid history and redefines globalisation”, and that Nudelman’s debut “distinguishes itself as a novel of great value in the transformation of thinking about indigenous knowledge systems in South Africa”.

From the English Academy:

The prize has been split between two authors because both these debut productions demonstrate equivalent narrative skill with an ability to tell a compelling story; both demonstrate comparable narratological capability; and both capture lived life as they explore the complexities of the quest for identity. However, one is essentially poetic in mode, the other journalistic, stylistic registers that perhaps appeal to disparate audiences, and yet both provide a remarkable read worthy of the Olive Schreiner Prize.

The Olive Schreiner Prize is awarded annually, rotating between the genres of poetry, prose and drama. Recent winners include Philip Dikotla, for his play Skierlik (Junkets, 2014), Rustum Kozain – the first writer to win the award twice in the same genre, Peter Dunseith, Nicholas Spagnoletti, Finuala Dowling and Michael Cawood Green.

The prize rewards “original literary work in English written by a citizen of a Southern African country and published in Southern Africa”, and is “expressly intended as encouragement for a writer who has produced work of great promise, but cannot yet be regarded as an established novelist, short story writer, poet or playwright.”

In addition, preference is given to someone who is “at the beginning of his/her career as a writer; has produced a book of merit; and promises even better work in future”.

The Olive Schreiner Prize adjudicators this year were Professor Sope Maithufi (University of South Africa), Dr Naomi Nkealah (University of South Africa) and Professor Rosemary Gray (Emeritus Professor, Pretoria University).

The citations read as follows:

The Thunder that Roars by Imran Garda

In Imran Garda’s debut novel, The Thunder that Roars (Umuzi, 2014), South African literature soars above the tortuous apartheid history and redefines globalisation.

Through the perspective of Yusuf, the main character-focaliser and CNN journalist, the reader is taken on a tour of the decomposing effects of hegemonic institutions. The storyline is energised by a tantalising dramatic irony across different milieus. Each setting is a dot in the biography of Sam, Yusuf’s father’s former Shona “gardener” and now being traced by Yusuf on his father’s request.

Like an anti-oxidant, the dramatic irony releases its energy, slowly and effectively, accumulating and resolving tension later in the story when Yusuf makes startling discoveries while on his search enterprise in respective stations: Bulawayo, the Libya which is undergoing the Arab-Spring revolution, and the Lampedusa which is a host of the migrants who are fleeing the Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime and are being callously rejected by Europe. Yusuf’s first finding is that he was born to his father and Lena, his female black domestic worker, during an extra-marital relationship. The second is that his biological mother was married to Sam. The third is that his father’s wife, Maryam, the woman who raises him as her own son, had committed suicide apparently when he was nine years, as a result of manic depression.

Literally and figuratively, Yusuf has no “roots”, or rather, he has adventitious ones. However, on its own, this openness is an uncanny source of anguish. But this challenge is to be welcomed, as it gestures towards a search for new words, criticism and disclosures. Neither does miscegenation, previously thought of as illicit romance between a white and black person, provoke fantastic allure or shock. Nor does the North determine the trajectory of progress and civilisation. There are simply no exclusive white or black roots, or an angst-ridden endeavour to find or decode how they crossed paths or repelled each other. If anything, civilisations and institutions are stripped naked and shown to be rotten to the core. At this disclosure, the observer is hailed into a quest of how to re-imagine a better world – but only after being shocked out of being complacent about his/her identity. South African literary landscape does not appear to have witnessed this mode of Cubism.

Inheriting the Earth by Jill Nudelman

With settings vacillating between the plush suburbs of Johannesburg and the arid towns and villages of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg, Jill Nudelman’s debut novel, Inheriting the Earth (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2012), brings to the surface a plethora of ailments affecting contemporary South Africa, not least significant of which is the deepening inequality between the rich and the poor, the economically viable white population and the subsistence-dependent black peoples.

The writer pens with striking insight the concrete fissures separating South Africans, pitting different races, classes and genders against each other even as there are attempts to bridge the gaps induced by apartheid. Although a very personal story about a young woman’s journey into the village of Oberon to discover the origins of her biological parents whom she never knew, it is also a political story of what it means to negotiate a white identity in present-day South Africa where legalised racism may have ended but the politics of race continues to influence black-white relations.

Beyond the disruptiveness of its political edge, Inheriting the Earth distinguishes itself as a novel of great value in the transformation of thinking about indigenous knowledge systems in South Africa through its vivid depiction of the varied rock art renditions of the San people in the interior of the Drakensberg. The protagonist’s explorations of these indigenous art forms in search of clues of her ancestry jolt us into the grim realisation that the trajectories of history are defined by those who hold the sword to dominate and the pen to write about their domination, that the perspective of the indigene is transmitted through the thwarted eyes of the colonialist.

Nudelman’s superior craftswomanship weaves together history, politics and the quest for identity into a fine mesh of storytelling that repeatedly unsettles the reader out of their comfort zone.

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