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Bibi Slippers en John Miles met 2017 UJ-pryse bekroon

Die Departement Afrikaans aan die Universiteit van Johannesburg het onlangs die wenners van die 2017 UJ-pryse bekend maak.

Die UJ-pryse word jaarliks in twee kategorieë in afsonderlike genres toegeken: die UJ-debuutprys vir die beste kreatiewe debuut in Afrikaans, en die UJ-prys vir die beste kreatiewe teks in Afrikaans.

Van die 68 titels wat vanjaar ingeskryf het, was 16 debute.

Gevestigde, bekroonde skrywers, digters, kortverhaalskrywers en romansiers het ook hulle tekste vir dié gesogte prys ingestuur.

Die wenner van die 2017 UJ-debuutprys is Bibi Slippers, vir haar digbundel Fotostaatmasjien.

Die wenner van die 2017 UJ-prys, is John Miles vir sy agtste roman, Op ’n dag, ’n hond.

Geluk, Bibi en John!




Op 'n dag, 'n hond

“I wanted to understand my being a black person from a positive point of view" - Mongane Wally Serote on why he writes

Acclaimed South African author Mongane Wally Serote was recently awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Johannesburg in recognition of his contributions to poetry, literature and philosophy in South Africa.

The following extract on Serote’s reasons for writing was published by Michelle Bao for City Press.

As a young boy, Mongane Wally Serote read a lot.

From novels to newspapers, he read everything he could get hold of while attending school in Alexandra in the 1950s.

But his favourite was always poetry. Reading the likes of William Wordsworth, DH Lawrence and John Keats, Serote was inspired.

“There was something about the manner in which they wrote and the content about which they wrote that inspired me to write,” Serote said.

“It made me want to write poetry for me.”

And so, at the age of 14, Serote started to write his own poetry.

Little did he know it would mark the start of a long and celebrated career as a poet, a writer and an activist both in the Black Consciousness Movement and in the South African struggle for liberation.

“I was inspired by English poetry, but then I discovered that I could write about our own situation and that’s what I set out to do: to write about South Africa and to write about the life that we live,” Serote said.

His critically acclaimed novel To Every Birth Its Blood (1981) deals with the 1976 Soweto uprising and its aftermath, and his celebrated poems, including City Johannesburg and Alexandra, explore the nuances of life under apartheid.

Serote’s vast body of work is often credited with introducing the voice of Black Consciousness to South African literature and advancing principles of social activism and resistance.

Serote was awarded The Order of Ikhamanga in Silver in 2007 for his “excellent contribution to literature, with emphasis on poetry, and for putting his artistic talents at the service of democracy in South Africa”.

And on Monday Serote received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Johannesburg in recognition of his contributions to poetry, literature and philosophy in South Africa.

“Mongane Serote is a true African intellectual in the tradition of the African philosophic sage: a profoundly wise person.

“He is the embodiment of philosophy as the love of wisdom, in the context of both traditional and modern Africa,” said Alex Broadbent, a professor of philosophy and the executive dean of the faculty of humanities at the University of Johannesburg.

“Serote’s commitment to ‘intervene and disrupt racism in all fields of human agency’ is evident in his widely-celebrated contribution to the literature and poetry of black identity and resistance.”

But according to Serote, the purpose behind his prose is much more personal.

Continue reading here.

To Every Birth Its Blood

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"If we do not remove Zuma and his sinister associates, the consequences will be dire," writes Mathews Phosa

Lawyer, activist, politician and author of Deur die oog van ‘n naald, Mathews Phosa, recently wrote a column on South Africa’s current political climate under the rule of Jacob Zuma. Read an extract here:

On waking up last Friday morning, we learnt that our trusted finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, had been removed under the cover of darkness at the stroke of midnight.

Following the disastrous appointment of Des van Rooyen on December 9 2015, Gordhan was handed a poisoned chalice and worked tirelessly to prevent our beloved South Africa from being downgraded to junk status.

Since 2000, South Africa had enjoyed the benefits of a good credit standing. It took hard work and dedication to gain an investment-grade rating following the ruinous legacy of apartheid.

The finance team which effected this result was initially led by Chris Liebenberg.

He was succeeded in 1996 by Trevor Manuel. During his 13-year term, Manuel was a household name here and became the flagbearer for our stable economy on the global stage.

When Gordhan took over from him, the protracted honeymoon that we had enjoyed since the dawn of our democracy, April 28 1994, was over.

Continue reading For the sake of the poor, just go at

Deur die oog van 'n naald

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Margaret von Klemperer reviews Moira Lovell's Speech after long silence

This review was originally published in The Witness on April 4, 2017.

IT is a real treat to have a new collection of poems by local poet, writer and teacher – and long-standing Witness book reviewer – Moira Lovell. This is her fourth collection, and indeed comes after a long silence. Although a number of the poems here have appeared in various journals, her last collection, Not all of Me is Dust, came out in 2004.

As one would expect from such a long gestation, and from Lovell, the work is meticulously crafted. While the subjects may often be mundane – monkeys in suburban gardens; shopping on pensioners’ day; rubbish bags by the side of the road; a visit to the aquarium; ageing or travel, her take on them is never predictable. Some are deeply moving: many are funny.

As Digby Ricci, the head of English at Roedean in Johannesburg, says in his introduction: “Moira Lovell has an enviable ability to defamiliarise; to make us see the world excitingly afresh.” He then goes on to say: “Such writing is wit in the fullest sense of the word: a wedding of humour, wisdom and learning.”

I would like to quote two poems in full, to give a flavour of what is a beautiful collection of work. – Margaret von Klemperer

Three Monkeys
They are female beggars –
Their babies held beneath
Like blackmail –
Positioned in triplicate
Along the ridge of the roof
Behind a gauze of rain
Which turns them into ghosts
Their eyes dolefully haunting
The far-below fare
That overspills the platters
Of the fortunate and festive
Bibulously braying
Bulging with indulgence
From amongst whom
A someone suggests
You should make a poem…
Like commissioning a painting
Of poverty.

Pensioners’ Tuesdays
The worst is not the aisles
Where supermarket trolleys
Double as zimmerframes
And dim eyes
Behind unfashionable frames
At the mockery of prices
The worst is not the queuing
At brisk-bodied tills
Where the assembled goods
Must be heaved out
And paraded
Like assorted luggage on a carousel
Where arthritic fingers
Fumble with banknotes
And credit cards
Wedged into wallets
The worst is
In the carpark
Where miscellaneous
Ageing knights
Don their rusting armour
Having abandoned all the rules
Canter backwards
Into the joust.

Not All of Me is Dust

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Antjie Krog bekroon met Hertzogprys

Die Raad van die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns het onlangs die bekronings vir hul jaarlikse toekennings aan diegene wat ‘n besonderse bydra tot die wetenskap, tegnologie en kunste in Afrikaans gelewer het aangekondig.

Dié raad is ‘n organisasie wat hom beywer vir die bevordering van wetenskap, tegnologie en die kunste, as ook om die belange van Afrikaans te dien.

Die Hertzogprys

Die stigting van die Raad van Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie word aan generaal J.B.M. Hertzog toegeskryf; ‘n voorstander vir Afrikaans-Nederlands. Die gesogte Hertzogprys vir letterkunde is na die generaal vernoem en staan vandag nog bekend as die vernaamste prestigeprys in die Afrikaanse letterkunde.

Die Hertzogprys is vanjaar toegeken aan die gerekende skrywer en digter Antjie Krog vir haar bundel Mede-wete.

Eugène Maraisprys

Die Eugène Maraisprys word toegeken vir ‘n eerste of vroeë letterkundige werk. Die skrywer wat vir sy of haar werk vereer word, kan slegs een maal dié toekenning ontvang.

Eugène Maraisprys 2015: Lien Botha is die 2015 Eugène Maraisprys toegeken vir haar roman Wonderboom. Slegs boeke wat in 2015 verskyn het, is in aanmerking geneem vir hierdie besonderse toekenning.

Eugène Maraisprys 2016: Amy Jephta is toegeken vir haar drama, Kristalvlakte wat in 2016 verskyn het en Bibi Slippers is ook vereer vir haar 2016 debuut-digbundel, Fotostaatmasjien.

Die bekroondes sal hul pryse onderskeidelik in Stellenbosch (Woensdag 21 Junie) en Pretoria (Vrydag 29 September) ontvang.


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Jeff Opland awarded the Order of Ikhamanga: Silver for his contribution to history and South African literature

Jeff Opland has been awarded the Order of Ikhamanga: Silver for his outstanding contribution to the field of history and an impressive body of works in literature. The award read: “Your work exhumes stories of the dead and brings them to life so that the living can continue to learn and benefit.”

The Ikhamanga flower (more commonly referred to as the strelitzia, crane, or bird or paradise flower) is one of the world’s most recognisable flowers and is indigenous to the Eastern Cape. The Ikhamanga is the central motif of the Order of Ikhamanga and symbolises the unique beauty of the achievements of South Africans in the creative fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.

The Opland Collection of Xhosa Literature is the academic library of Jeff Opland assembled in the course of his research into Xhosa folklore, especially praise poetry, and the history of Xhosa literature. Its contents include field recordings of Xhosa poets (1969–85), books and pamphlets in isiXhosa, and copies of literature published in ephemera. The Publications Series draws on material in the Collection, and presents diplomatic editions with English translations of significant works in isiXhosa, for the most part previously unrecognised or unavailable as published books, and studies of material in the Collection.

The ceremony will be held at the Presidential Guest House on 28 April 2017.

John Solilo: Umoya wembongi

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