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

Join Wendy Woodward, with Finuala Dowling, for the Launch of A Saving Bannister at The Book Lounge

A Saving Bannister

A Saving BannisterModjaji Books and The Book Lounge would like to invite you to the launch of A Saving Bannister by Wendy Woodward.

Woodward will read from A Saving Bannister, and she will speak about her new collection with Finuala Dowling.

The launch will be on Wednesday, 3 June, at 5:30 PM at The Book Lounge.

Don’t miss it!

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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.

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That Coyote Moment, Messenger and Vision: Read Poems From Isobel Dixon's The Tempest Prognosticator

The Tempest PrognosticatorAerodrome recently featured two poems by Isobel Dixon.

The poems are called “That Coyote Moment” and “Messenger”. Both poems are about foxes, a “flash in the drab” interloper in a station, and a “roadside fox” for which neither traffic nor news would stand still.

Read the poems, and then try The Tempest Prognosticator for more of Dixon’s wonderful poetry:


Russet and frost
roadside fox
to be sidelined so fast.

Karina Szczurek tweeted a poem from The Tempest Prognosticator earlier today, paying tribute to Dixon:

The Tempest Prognosticator is Dixon’s third collection of poems, praised by writers in South Africa and abroad.

Also known as a Leech Barometer, a Tempest Prognosticator is a 19th century invention that uses leeches to predict storms. The leeches are kept in small bottles inside the device. When they become agitated by an approaching storm they try to climb out of the bottles and trigger a small hammer which strikes a bell, signalling changeable weather.

Dixon is alert to the quirks and oddities of the world where nature and our constructions coincide, as with this strange Victorian reference. She practices a stylish, time-honoured kind of poetry, well-crafted poems which make you want to return to read them again and again. This wide-ranging, appealing collection also contains fascinating conversations with Eugène Marais, Adamastor and Nonqawuse, ‘richly and vividly observant poems’, as Gabeba Baderoon writes, which ‘teach you how to read the world anew’.

Several of the poems in The Tempest Prognosticator have won prizes in international poetry competitions, establishing Dixon firmly as a poet here and in the UK. It is, as JM Coetzee writes, ‘a virtuoso collection’.

Book details

Joan Hambidge resenseer ’n Digter in Antwerpen deur Leonard Nolens, vertaal deur Daniel Hugo

’n Digter in AntwerpenUitspraak: wortel

Om ’n nuwe digter te ontdek, is soos om ’n nuwe vriendskap te sluit.

Dis presies hoe ek gevoel het by die lees van Nolens se ’n Digter in Antwerpen – in Afrikaans vertaal deur Daniel Hugo, ’n voorste vertaler van Hollandse en Vlaamse tekste.

Die boek is pragtig uitgegee en Hugo stel ons voor aan een van die beduidendste digters van ons tyd, eweneens bekroon met gesogte erkennings soos die Constantijn Huygens-prys en die Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren.


Be Part of a Book About Women in Cape Town, by Woman Zone

Woman Zone has issued an invitation for ordinary people to be part of a book about being a woman in Cape Town. The book will feature 13 stories from a diverse crowd of women living in the city, excerpts from woman writers about the city, an explanation of the Woman’s Walk VoiceMap and a section on the people, potentially you, who made this book possible.

There are three categories of financial sponsorship for this book: a gold sponsor donates R3 000 and gets a bio in the book; a silver sponsor donates R1 000 and gets their name in the book; and a presale book sponsor pays R250.

Payments can be made on Quicket:

Antjie Krog, Finuala Dowling, Gabeba Baderoon, Ingrid Jonker, Liesl Jobson, Malika Ndlovu, Margie Orford, Nadia Davids, Olive Schreiner, Sindiwe Magona, Zoë Wicomb, Zubeida Jaffer and Zukiswa Wanner are among the authors included in the book.

SynapseThe FetchRegarding MuslimsIngrid JonkerRide the TortoiseInvisible EarthquakeWater Music
An Imperfect BlessingThe Story of an African FarmFrom Robben Island to BishopscourtDavid's StoryNot by Dread AloneLondon – Cape Town – Joburg

Book details

Don't Miss the Launch of No Lullaby For my Country and other poems by Vusi Mavimbela at Skoobs

No Lullaby For my Country and other poemsSkoobs and Helco Promotions would like to invite you to the launch of No Lullaby For my Country and other poems by Vusi Mavimbela.

Mavimbela, who was involved in the struggle and is currently South African ambassador to Zimbabwe, will be speaking about his probe into the meaning of life through poetry in this volume.

The launch will be on Tuesday, 2 June, at 6 for 6:30 PM at Skoobs Theatre of Books.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 2 June 2015
  • Time: 6 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Skoobs Theatre of Books
    Shop 74
    1 Montecasino Boulevard
    Fourways | Map
  • Refreshments: Refreshments will be served
  • RSVP: Helen Holyoake, Helco Promotions,, 082 452 9488

About the book

No Lullaby For My Country and Other Poems is a modern day odyssey that spans four decades of the poet’s probe into the meaning of life. The scope of the search is world-wide, reflecting the poet’s extensive travels around the world. It is an incisive commentary, praise and critique that does not shy away from tackling conventional beliefs, no matter how conventional they might be. It is the kind of reading that provokes the inner recesses of the mind and hopefully lifts the human spirit.

‘Your poetry is astonishingly powerful. Thank you for reminding me of the need for unpadded truths fearless of pain and free of forgetting.’ Editor’s Comment

Here are two extracts from the poems “Nelson Mandela” and “Pakamile Mankahlana”

Nelson Mandela (2014)

Nelson Mandela
was our Sigmund Freud
who dispatched all of us
to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
to sing the songs of atonement.

We all wept
wept many blood rivers
that shall lie hidden
under the lush greens
that shall forever feed
the hope of our collective dream.

Remember that we all wept
Desmond Tutu wept
the nation wept in broad daylight
tears as hot as molten zinc
a delirious purgatory fomented
in swathes of race and ideology.

Pakamile Mankahlana (2000)

You are the cub
of the same bloodline that
Nqgika and Sandile
bequeathed the shifting frontiers
of the Wars of Resistance
that theatre so epic
and the drama so equally grand.

You took me there
once upon a time
the land of the Xhosas
on the edge of geography
where the umbilical belly
of African Resistance
lies entombed between and beneath
the streams of
the Great Fish and
the Great Kei.

About the author

Vusi Mavimbela was born in the rural town of Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal. He obtained a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree from the University of Natal (Durban).

Mavimbela came back into South Africa from exile in 1990 after residing in many countries abroad doing ANC work from 1976. Since his return he has written many feature articles for a number of national (Sunday Times, Sunday Independent, The Star, The Sowetan, Sunday Tribune and other magazines in South Africa) and foreign newspapers.

Vusi Mavimbela was the Political Advisor in the Office of the Deputy President Thabo Mbeki from 1994 – 1999. From 1999 – 2004 he was the Director-General for the National Intelligence Agency. From 2005 until 2009 he served as Non-Executive and Executive Director on a number of company boards. From 2009 -2010 Vusi Mavimbela was the Director-General in the Presidency.

Since 2011 Vusi Mavimbela has held the position as South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe.

His hobbies include reading, writing, playing golf and listening to music.

Book Details