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Check out a Guide to the Best Stargazing Spots in the Southern Hemisphere (Excerpt from Offbeat SA) @PRHSouthAfrica…

The Meaning of Timkat: Kingsley Holgate Explores the Ethiopian Ceremony

Africa: In the Footsteps of the Great ExplorersIntrepid explorer, traveller and philanthropist Kingsley Holgate recently interviewed an Ethiopian man to learn more about his culture and traditions.

Melesse Tazeb (nicknamed Malas) spoke about what the Timkat ceremony (the celebration of the season of Epiphany by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church) means to him: “It’s a time of happiness and the opportunity to meet with old friends again many of whom I only see at Timkat.”

Tazeb told the author of Africa: In the Footsteps of the Great Explorers that the future of the Timkat looks bright and explained why it has remained a living tradition for centuries.

Read the article:

Q. “And the future of Timkat, is it a Living Tradition?”

A. Yes indeed. I believe these traditions will be with us forever. The youth are getting more involved and bringing new colourful ideas, flags and red carpets. More people are visiting from Addis they feel proud of our traditions my three year-old daughter her name is Elda I know she will grow up to appreciate Timkat.

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A Practical Guide to Making Money from Tourism: The Tourism Coach by Shaun van Eck

The Tourism CoachTafelberg proudly presents The Tourism Coach by Shaun van Eck:

This is the first business book in South Africa written specifically for entrepreneurs in the tourism sector, from guesthouse owners and tour operators to food trucks and rickshaw drivers.

Shaun van Eck believes that in South Africa we are in danger of suffering what he calls a ‘Kodak crisis’: “We can clearly see worldwide trends developing to more meaningful customer experiences but most tourism products are not responding to this challenge. We need to create a tourism revolution in South Africa and that is what The Tourism Coach aims to do.”

The book covers marketing, service excellence and self-leadership and is written in short chapters in a highly relatable style. Each major step is a backed up by step-by-step templates that help the reader to complete the actions for their specific business.

About the author

Shaun van Eck was CEO of Knysna Tourism until the end of 2012. Before that, he was the Marketing Manager of Sun International’s The Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth and developed its brand to being rated as the most popular attraction in the Eastern Cape.

He was also Director of Tourism for Port Elizabeth, the 1999 CTA ‘SA Tourism Marketer of the Year’ and the 2002 IMM ‘Eastern Cape Marketer of the Year’.

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Win One of Two Five-Day Drakensberg Getaways at The Cavern Resort and Spa

Picturesque DrakensbergDo you dream of casting your city woes aside and escaping to the great majestic Drakensberg? Now you can make your dreams a reality!

The Cavern Resort and Spa is giving away a Drakensberg Getaway worth R28 000. To win one of two five-day stays for two couples simply SMS the word CAVERN, your email address and phone number to 48402 before 31 March 2015.

Don’t forget to consult Picturesque Drakensberg by Sue Derwent for more insight into one of the country’s most beautiful landscapes.

Read the article for more information on the competition:

For pure relaxation, enjoy tea on the lawns, indulge in a spa treatment, have a drink in the Cave Bar or linger over dinner with a bottle of wine from the cellar.


  • Two five-night stays for two lucky couples in a Superior Suite, valued at R14 000 each
  • All meals plus morning and afternoon tea
  • Daily guided morning walks

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Sunday Read: Collected Excerpts from the Oddest Book Title of the Year Shortlist

Nature's Nether RegionsThe Madwoman in the VolvoStrangers Have the Best Candy

Where Do Camels Belong?The Ugly Wife Is a Treasure at HomeDivorcing a Real Witchnull

The shortlist for this year’s Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year has been announced.

The seven books on the shortlist are:

  • Advanced Pavement Research: Selected, Peer Reviewed Papers from the 3rd International Conference on Concrete Pavements Design, Construction, and Rehabilitation, December 2-3, 2013, Shanghai, China edited by Bo Tian (Trans Tech)

Scroll down to read excerpts Books LIVE has collected from the shortlisted titles.

The winner will be chosen by a public vote, which takes place on We Love This Book.

Voting closes at midnight on Friday, 20 March, and the winner will be announced on Friday, 27 March. There is no prize, but the person who nominated the book will receive a “passable bottle of claret”.

Diagram Prize coordinator and The Bookseller’s features and insight editor Tom Tivnan said: “Britain’s, arguably the world’s, premier literary prize once again delivers the goods, with seven magnificent titles that are unparalleled in their oddity. With two of the last three winners sporting the word ‘poo’ in their title, 2014 was something of a return to the Diagram’s more hygienic roots.”

The Bookseller’s diarist Horace Bent said: “This is one of strongest years I have seen in more than three decades of administering the prize, which highlights the crème de la crème of unintentionally nonsensical, absurd and downright head-scratching titles. Ultimately, it is a stunning collection of books. Let other awards cheer the contents within, the Diagram will always continually judge the book by its cover (title).”

Are Trout South African?: Stories of Fish, People and Places by Duncan Brown came second last year, sharing the spot with The Origin of Feces by David Waltner-Toews.

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Excerpts from the Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year shortlist:

Nature's Nether RegionsNature’s Nether Regions: What the Sex Lives of Bugs, Birds, and Beasts Tell Us About Evolution, Biodiversity, and Ourselves by Menno Schilthuizen

Even more infamous is the traumatic insemination that is practiced by cimicids, blood-feeding bugs to which also Cimex lectularius, the common bedbug, belongs. Unforgettable to anyone who has ever been unlucky enough to spend several nights in bedbug-infested sleeping quarters, they will be truly memorable once you have learned about their sex lives. Living in densely packed colonies in crevices near the sleeping place of their “host,” sexual encounters are frequent, quick, and literally stabs in the dark. Bedbug researcher Mike Siva-Jothy of Sheffield University says: “When a female has not fed, she can avoid copulating males. But when’s fed and bloated, she’s a sitting duck. There’s no courtship—it’s brutal in every sense of the word.”

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The Madwoman in the VolvoThe Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones by Sandra Tsing Loh

Excerpt from 'The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones' by Sandra Tsing Lo.

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Where Do Camels Belong?Where Do Camels Belong?: Why Invasive Species Aren’t All Bad by Ken Thompson

Where do camels belong? Ask the question and you may instinctively think of the Middle East, picturing a one-humped dromedary, some sand and perhaps a pyramid or two in the background. Or if you know your camels and imagined a two-humped Bactrian, you might plump for India and central Asia. But things aren’t quite so simple if we’re talking about the entire camel family. Camelids (the camel family) evolved in North America about 40 million years ago. Titanotylopus, the largest camel that has ever lived, stood 3.5 m high at the shoulder and ranged through Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and Arizona for around 10 million years. Other species evolved very long necks and probably browsed on trees and tall shrubs, rather as giraffes do today. Much, much later camels spread to South America, and to Asia via the Bering Strait, which has been dry land at various times during the recent Pleistocene glaciations. Camels continued to inhabit North America until very recently, the last ones going extinct only about 8,000 years ago. Their modern Asian descendants are the dromedary of north Africa and south-west Asia and the Bactrian camel of central Asia. Their South American descendants are the closely related llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicuñas (llamas are only camels without humps; all you need to do is look one in the eye for this to be pretty obvious). Now you know all that, let me ask you again: where do camels belong?

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The Ugly Wife Is a Treasure at HomeThe Ugly Wife Is a Treasure at Home: True Stories of Love and Marriage in Communist China by Melissa Margaret Schneider

The 1950s Generation
When Love Didn’t Exist

I was twenty-four when I married my first wife, but I knew nothing about females. I didn’t understand why I had to marry at all, or what purpose marriage served. — Tom Liu, b. 1958

The 1950s generation, the first citizens born in Communist China, came of age in a world devoid of romantic love. They learned that life was a high-stakes mission and that their role was critical to its success. They grew up building socialism and fighting class enemies, not thinking about boyfriends or prom dresses. They were taught
to care about the causes and teachings of Mao Zedong and to work selflessly for their country. In the harsh light of this grand collective vision, any private desires for romantic love, intimacy, or happiness appeared petty, selfish, even criminal.

Under Mao, public life was purposely desexualized. Men and women dressed alike in drab blue or gray uniforms, cutting their hair in identical bobs trimmed around the ears. Books and movies were heavily censored, scrubbed clean of any reference to love or sex. The married people that the 1950s generation could observe, including
their own parents, did not touch or say “I love you.” Outside of the bedroom, life was generally sexless. Inside the bedroom it was hardly easier, as many couples shared their sleeping quarters with other relatives.

Interestingly, in the early years Mao Zedong thought of sexual satisfaction within marriage as an effective social pacifier.

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Strangers Have the Best CandyStrangers Have the Best Candy by Margaret Meps Schulte

Strangers Have the Best What?

The sun set over blue tropical waters as I swung gently in a hammock at Bahia Honda, a state park in the Florida Keys. It was a Thursday evening in May, a few days after my 29th birthday. The hammock was new; it had been a birthday gift.

“Barry?” I said.

“Hmm?” My husband was swinging in his own hammock, a few feet away.

“All our friends have to go to work tomorrow. Isn’t that weird?”

He was unmoved by my epiphany. “I guess so.”

Listening to the distant thunder of waves crashing on the beach, I envisioned our friend Andy, at home in his apartment. Back in northern Virginia, he’d be packing his lunch, folding his laundry, cooking dinner, maybe reading a book or watching TV. In the morning, he would take the bus to a government office and sit at his desk, talk on the phone, review documents. He’d take a lunch break, do more of the same work in the afternoon, and go home at the end of the day. The next day would bring the same familiar routine.

A month earlier, my life had been similar. Then we quit our jobs, gave up our apartment, and stored our belongings. We packed our Honda Civic with camping equipment and started driving south, staying at inexpensive state parks and free national forest campgrounds. We thought we had enough savings to travel like this through the summer. In the fall, we’d settle down again, find jobs, and resume a life with furniture and responsibilities. Maybe in Milwaukee.

For the first couple of weeks, it felt like a normal vacation. But on that evening in May, I recognized that I had left my old life behind, and I didn’t know if I would ever return. The absolute freedom was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

I didn’t know that this pursuit of freedom would define my life for decades, not months.

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Divorcing a Real WitchDivorcing a Real Witch: For Pagans and the People That Used to Love Them by Diana Rajchel

Most of us model marriage on what we witnessed as children. Even when we try to see that experience as what not to do, we can find ourselves referring to that first when proceeding in our own relationship. In some ways, it’s experiencing two marriages at once: the one with your partner and the one in your own mind.

My own parents were married for 41 years; it ended with my father’s death by leukemia. My father always gave me an impression of a happy marriage. My mother always gave me an impression of a miserable one. My opinion of marriage, as a result, is that it needs to be deregulated.

I came to maturity in the 1990s; and interacted daily with children of divorced parents. Every year at least one classmate went through a parental breakup. Only a few of these children of broken homes seemed broken themselves – all of those talked about bad family dynamics long before divorce. For most of my peers, both parents worked. The media nicknamed them “latchkey children” and made them sound like the pending Apocalypse. Supposedly these children were more prone to drug use, dropping out of school and spreading general mayhem. In the long run, it turned out, that children in bad environments had these problems – and not all latchkey children lived in bad circumstances with neglectful parents.

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nullAdvanced pavement research: selected, peer reviewed papers from the 3rd International Conference on Concrete Pavements Design, Construction, and Rehabilitation (ICCPDCR 2013), December 2-3, 2013, Shanghai, China by Bo Tian

No excerpt available. Unfortunately.

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Book details

  • Nature’s Nether Regions: What the Sex Lives of Bugs, Birds, and Beasts Tell Us about Evolution, Biodiversity, and Ourselves by Menno Schilthuizen
    EAN: 9780670785919
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!
  • The Ugly Wife Is a Treasure at Home: True Stories of Love and Marriage in Communist China by Melissa Margaret Schneider
    EAN: 9781612346946
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Join Marita van der Vyver for the Launch of A Fountain in France at the French Alliance in Cape Town

Book Launch: A Fountain in France

A Fountain in FrancePenguin Random House invites you to the launch of A Fountain in France by Marita van der Vyver.

Van der Vyver will share her stories about living in France on Wednesday, 4 March, at the French Alliance in Cape Town. The launch will start at 5:50 for 6 PM.

A Fountain in France touches on the universal experiences of travellers. RSVP before Friday, 27 February, to avoid disappointment.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 4 March 2015
  • Time: 5:30 for 6 PM
  • Venue: French Alliance
    155 Loop Street
    Cape Town | Map
  • RSVP: 021 423 5699

About the book

More than a decade ago Van der Vyver emigrated to France where she married a Frenchman and settled in the scenic countryside of Provence. Having become famous for a novel built on fairy tales, her life resembles that of a princess meeting her Prince Charming. Several bestsellers, much living and loving, and years later, they move – to another French village called Place of Frogs.

A Fountain in France is a book of stories about moving the way the French do it. It is also about place, what binds the heart to a home and its people, about breaking ties to grow new ones and about what we take with us when we move on. For Van der Vyver, life is an effervescent fountain, always bubbling up new surprises.

This book will be enjoyed by anyone who has lived or travelled in a foreign country, or wished they had. It touches on universal experiences shared by expatriates all over the world. Whether you are based in Provence or Perth, Bath or Beijing, you quickly learn that a good sense of humour might be the most important qualification if you want to survive being the eternal outsider.

About the author

Marita van der Vyver is one of the most popular Afrikaans authors of all time. She has several books to her credit in genres as divergent as novels, short stories, non-fiction, and fiction for children and young adults. It is her wistfully erotic novel Griet skryf ’n sprokie (published by Penguin as Entertaining Angels) that established her as a household name and a well-loved figure in the literary landscape.

Her books are translated worldwide in several languages. She recently published a cookbook in English: Summer Food in Provence.

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The 6 Best Offbeat Holiday Locations in South Africa

Paul Ash has written a piece for Times LIVE providing ideas for six offbeat ideas for holidays in South Africa.

San Rock EngravingsTimeless KarooThe Great KarooThe Garden Route and Little KarooNational Parks and Nature ReservesThe Garden Route and Little Karoo

Ash mentions paddling the Orange River, hiking in the South African National Parks, road trips on the Garden Route, or taking a ride on a vintage train in Ixopo, the same train Alan Paton writes about in the opening pages of Cry, the Beloved Country.

He also mentions some of his favourite book festivals:

Franschhoek opens its arms every May to writers, publishers, book hounds, bibliophiles and other literary fiends and their friends with its three-day literary festival (May 15-17;, now the country’s premier gathering of readers, writers – from Lauren Beukes to Tim Noakes – and those who want to be both. The town’s compactness lends itself perfectly to the event – you share the streets with bemused authors up on their luck and get to watch them defend themselves to well-read and occasionally hecklesome readers at public talks and workshops. Events, and accommodation, fill up fast – tickets for the Noakes talk last year could not be had for love, steak or money – so book early.

If you can’t get to Franschhoek, then make the trek to the Karoo town of Richmond – the town straddles the N1, so you can’t miss it – for the annual Boekbedonnerd “Karoo Books, Art and Filums” festival ( Too far? Then make sure you open yourself to the Open Book Festival (September 9-13; in Cape Town.

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