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Sunday Read: Asymptote’s 5th anniversary edition, featuring Toast Coetzer and never-before-seen work from 30 countries

It’s no secret that we love the award-winning journal Asymptote.

In their latest issue, the quarterly magazine dedicated to literary translation and contemporary writing celebrates their fifth anniversary with a magnificent theme: Eternal Return.

“We may die, but our souls somehow survive, in images, in gestures, in words haunting the written page… Years come and go, books are borrowed and sometimes lost, but words linger forever in our minds,” the Editor’s Note states, introducing the exciting line-up for the January 2016 issue.

Read the note in full to see what you can expect:

Somehow, the year’s end always comes as a surprise. Suddenly, January is upon your doorstep: you’re another year older. This month, Asymptote turns five, a ripe old age for a literary magazine run entirely by volunteers. Yet we haven’t jaded a bit—heartened as we are by the success of our recent mini-fundraiser, and, of course, by this new issue (video trailer here). Aside from exclusive interviews with the great Junot Díaz and Yann Martel, this issue hails never-before-published material from thirty countries.


NaweekSouth AfricaIn this jam-packed issue, one of our favourite local word smiths Toast Coetzer joins the likes of Junot Diaz, Yann Martel, Ingo Schulze, Caroline Bergvall, Sybille Lacan, Olga Tokarczuk, Xiao Kaiyu.

Coetzer translated three of his poems from Afrikaans: “own terms”, “circulations of blood” and “Anene Booysen”. His section of the e-magazine also features the original poems and a recording of him reading “circulations of blood” in Afrikaans (“bloedsomloop”).

As this week’s Suday Read, find Coetzer’s work on Asymptote and browse the website for more literary delights:

Three Poems
Toast Coetzer

own terms

you are here on own terms
just like Omar al-Bashir and his walking stick, Jeb Bush and his exclamation mark, Nasser al-Wuhayshi and his final meal, a regular sickle-bush, a lone donkey at a dry spring

the desert wind blows, on its own terms,
waves of sandgrouse, whirring balls of dust, are loosened
from the far-off mountains where the single horn
of an old oryx bull catches the light

you are here on own terms, with the cancer
that ring-barked you, the drunk pick-up
that burst through the fence and snapped
the telephone pole in half so it came to
rest on your forehead naming
all the names of your leaking things

here it is, your heart in a photograph
still printed at the CNA, underneath a shirt
in which you were smaller, your skin softer,
your hair thicker, laughing

there’s a time when everyone – al-Bashir, all Bushes,
also Zuma – will be dead, and the people who stand around
those graves, with pretend tears, or thorns in their palms,
will recognize, in the sharp corners of the hole, the depth
thereof, the end-of-story of all our outcomes.

Watch the trailer for Asymptote‘s Eternal Return edition:

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Food culture: 5 recent books to take you on a culinary journey



1. Bo-Kaap Kitchen: Heritage Recipes and True Stories by Craig Fraser, Maggie Mouton and Shireen Narkedien
Bo-Kaap KitchenBook homepage
EAN: 9780987028464
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Bo-Kaap Kitchen is more than just a cookbook – it is part photo journal, part historical document and part culinary journey, celebrating a uniquely South African culture.

Through personal stories, recipes, historical images and Craig Fraser’s visuals, Bo-Kaap Kitchen reveals the heart of the Cape Malay people, their history and identity, distinctive architecture and language.

A large part of the book is devoted to food, which is so central to Bo-Kaap culture. Rites of passage, pilgrimages, prayers for newborns and the deceased, breaking the fast during Ramadan, engagements and weddings, all are celebrated with meals that are shared in this closely knit community.

Video: Get a Taste of Bo-kaap’s Food Culture

More about the book

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2. Beer Safari by Lucy Corne
Beer SafariBook homepage
EAN: 9781432304867
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Beer Safari takes you on a journey through the microbreweries of South Africa, stopping to chat to each brewer along the way.

The book is laid out geographically to you in planning your trip, and includes a list of the “Big Five Pints” – the author’s pick of the very best South African craft beers. There is also space for beer aficionados to scribble their own tasting notes alongside each brewery’s beer menu.

Beer Safari is the only South African beer book whose author has, in person, visited every one of the 100-plus breweries to get the brewers’ stories, photograph their often quirky brewing setups and of course, to taste their beers. It is a comprehensive and user-friendly guide.

More about the book

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3. World Atlas of Food by Jenny Morris
World Atlas of FoodBook homepage
EAN: 9781770266995
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World Atlas of Food is a journey of the senses, offering armchair travel into the kitchens of over 100 countries and six continents.

The Giggling Gourmet, Jenny Morris, captures the aromas and flavours of each country with a selection of recipes, and traditional local dishes and drinks are also listed, providing insight into ingredients, flavours, herbs and spices.

With World Atlas of Food, you will learn about national dishes, mealtime and social customs, how food styles have been influenced by other cultures and the symbolic role foods play in celebrations and festivals. The book is a journey and culinary experience, and a must-have for any food lover.

Jenny Morris Launches Her New Cookbook World Atlas of Food Against the Backdrop of Tafelberg

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4. The Culinary Adventures of a Travelling Cook by Natasha Barnes
The Culinary Adventures of a Travelling CookBook homepage
EAN: 9781432301835
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The Culinary Adventures of a Travelling Cook is a collection of uncomplicated recipes – both gourmet and everyday – compiled by cook and artist Natasha Barnes from her numerous trips locally and abroad.

The author shares humorous accounts of her travels across the globe, and her experiences are relived through the food she encountered and enjoyed.

The Culinary Adventures of a Travelling Cook features dishes from countries as diverse as the USA, Vietnam, Argentina, Ethiopia and Burma.

“Food is culture” – Natasha Barnes, author of The Culinary Adventures of a Travelling Cook

More about the book

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5. Road Tripping by Justin Bonello and Helena Lombard
Road TrippingBook homepage
EAN: 9781415208762
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In Road Tripping, Justin Bonello goes on yet another culinary journey across the length and breadth of Southern Africa, sharing the ins and outs of road-tripper life.

This book is for every braai-loving, dust-kicking crazy heart and “wanderluster” out there, whether your ideal braai spot is on the banks of the mighty Orange River, on the white beaches of the West Coast or around blazing fires under the night skies of the Namibian desert. This is your invitation to get in your car, take a ride, and braai mouth-watering dishes in places many people only dream about.

More about the book

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VIDEO & PRESS RELEASE: First ever Joburg surfing team taking to SA Interclub Championships

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SANDTON, JOHANNESBURG: January 22, 2016 — Reflecting shades of the hit Disney movie “Cool Runnings” about a Jamaican bobsled team that made it to the Winter Olympics—for the first time in the history of the sport of surfing, the landlocked city of Johannesburg will “field” a team at the Billabong South African Interclub Surfing Championships, to be held at Seal Point near Cape St. Francis on the 13th and 14th of February.

The team of four men, one woman and a judge will take to the beach and brine under the banner of the Joburg Boardriders Club, the brainchild of Braamfontein pastor Nathan Gernetzky, who describes himself on his Twitter profile as a “husband, father, friend, creative, pastor, hopeful woodsman, concrete shredder and wannabe big wave surfer.”

“Surfing is our common ground, it’s what connects us—we’re all different in some ways—but it’s amazing, we now get to fulfil this dream. We’re actually sending a team to surf in a national event!” says Gernetzky. Founded just under a year ago, Joburg Boardriders has built up a loyal following in the concrete jungle, recruiting mostly former coastal dwellers who have made the career move inland to “the big smoke”.

The team’s number one seed, Fourways-based plumber Shane Warren, spent eight years campaigning on the World Surf League Qualifying Series circuit and, of all the Joburg Boardriders, could be in contention for a victory. While he never cracked the prestigious Championship Tour, he was a stand-out professional surfer who will show that the Joburg Boardriders mean business on the waves. As a KZN champion, Warren won the prestigious Rip Curl Tubemasters competition in 2002, ahead of Travis Logie, so far one of SA’s most successful world tour pros.

Friends since high school, team members Kevin Trevaskis and Byron Loker—who learned to surf together in the waters of Muizenberg, Cape Town, and work together as project managers for Design Partnership, a leading interior design agency in the retail and hospitality space, based in Sandton—are excited to have made the grade.

For Trevaskis, an accomplished surfer, such an outing has been an ambition of his ever since he “washed-up” to Johannesburg from Durban six years ago and found a new career path. As a former head judge of the World Surf League’s South African chapter, Trevaskis is pleased to be back in competition. “I just want to ride under the curl of the wave and get a long tube ride, my bru,” he says. Byron Loker has been in Johannesburg for the past two years, broadening his horizons and is the author of a surfing-themed collection of short stories, “New Swell“, now prescribed literature in the Ninth Grade in Gauteng and Western Cape. The team is rounded out by Dominic Barnardt, another Cape Town transplant who has established himself as a freelance commercial photographer in Jozi.

The club is bringing current SA Masters women’s champion Tasha Mentasi to St. Francis and she will no doubt prove to be a force to be reckoned with in the ladies division.

Joburg Boardriders has found support from mainstream surf industry brands such as Nixon watches, Carver skateboards, Rip Curl SA clothing, Xcel wetsuits and Spider Surfboards, while “blue collar” supporters in the shape of Imperial Electrical & Plumbing, Bothma Branding Solutions and Fulcrum Flooring have also stumped up sponsorship to get the team to the beach.

Follow #joburgboardriders on all social media, hopefully all the way to the final event! The winning team will host 2017′s championships, which could potentially see a national surfing event held at The Lost City’s Valley of the Waves—another historic first.

The team is available for interviews and photographs. For more information, please contact Nathan Gernetzky, team manager on 083 798 8999 –

Photographs available from Dominic Barnardt on 083 212 3479.

SIDEWALK SURFERS. Braamfontein pastor Nathan Gernetzky (front) is leading a team of Johannesburg-based surfers to a national event for the first time ever in the history of the sport.  Photo by Dominic Barnardt.

SIDEWALK SURFERS: Braamfontein pastor Nathan Gernetzky (front) is leading a team of Johannesburg-based surfers to a national event for the first time ever in the history of the sport. Photo by Dominic Barnardt.

"Surfing is our common ground, it’s what connects us—we’re all different in some ways—but it’s amazing, we now get to fulfill this dream." The Joburg Boardriders L to R Dominic Barnardt Nathan Gernetzky Byron Loker Kevin Trevaskis Shane Warren Photo by Dominic Barnardt

CITY SLICKERS: “Surfing is our common ground, it’s what connects us—we’re all different in some ways—but it’s amazing, we now get to fulfil this dream [of sending a Joburg-based team to a national surfing event].” The Joburg Boardriders L to R: Dominic Barnardt, Nathan Gernetzky, Byron Loker, Kevin Trevaskis, Shane Warren. Photo by Dominic Barnardt.

Joburg Boardrider Byron Loker drops in to shoot a curl and hang a ten while on assignment for Design Partnership at an Eastern Cape surf break. Don't tell the boss. Photo by Clemance Val.

DAY JOB: Joburg Boardrider Byron Loker drops in to shoot a curl and hang a ten while on assignment for Design Partnership at an Eastern Cape surf break. Don’t tell the boss. Photo by Clemance Val.

Hanging ten in traffic

Shane Warren: Lost and found

Here’s the official press release:

Seal Point to host the 2016 Billabong South African Interclub Championships this weekend

Eighteen teams representing twelve surf clubs from all parts of South Africa will be in action at Seal Point in Cape St Francis this weekend at the fifth annual Billabong SA Interclub Championships and this year history will be made when a club based in Gauteng competes in the tournament for the very first time.

The Joburg Boardriders Club is the brainchild of Braamfontein pastor Nathan Gernetzky and he is excited to be creating surfing history. The team’s number one seed is Fourways-based plumber Shane Warren who spent eight years on the WSL World Qualifying Series Tour and was a top provincial surfer who represented KZN in a number of National Championships. Lifelong friends Kevin Trevaskis and Byron Loker—who learned to surf together in the waters of Muizenberg—fellow Capetonian Dominic Barnardt and SA Masters Champion Tasha Mentasti make up the balance of the team.

The Billabong SA Interclub Championships a national Surfing South Africa tournament which is supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and hosted for the first time by the Seal Point Boardriders Surf Club who won the tournament at Kitchen Windows in Jeffreys Bay last February.

In winning the 2015 Interclub the Seal Point Boardriders earned the right to not only chose their “stadium” for this year contest but were also entitled to enter two teams into the two day clash.

The Eastern Cape is well represented by a total of nine surf clubs. These are made up of 2016 hosts Seal Point Boardriders, last year’s hosts the JBU, the J Bay Boardriders, the 2013 champions, the J Bay Surf Club, the powerful CYOH Surf Club and fellow Port Elizabeth clubs Sunset, the oldest surf club in South Africa, Gravitas Surf Club and the Madibaz Surf Club from NMMU. The Kowie Boardriders Club from Port Alfred will be joining their Eastern Cape counterparts at the event.

2012 hosts, the well organized West Coast Boardriders Club will be joined by fellow Western Cape surf clubs SWOT, Share the Stoke, 9 Miles Surf Club and Maties from Stellenbosch University. The recently established Sisonke Surf Club will make the long journey to Seal Point to compete in the Interclub for the first time

The 2016 Billabong SA Interclub Championships will use the Aloha Cup “tag” format which sees teams of four men and one woman competing against each in a 50 minute heat. All the points scored by each of the surfers count towards the final team score.

Although competition will be fierce in the water, the annual Interclub Championships is an extremely social affair once the heats are over. With this in mind clubs will get together for an informal opening function at Stix in Cape St Francis at 7pm on Friday night. All participants at the event are welcome to enjoy the Billabong sponsored snacks and the live band at this popular venue

Grant Beck, the Billabong Team & Events Manager is looking forward to the tournament. “We are amped to support the 2016 Billabong Interclub Championships. This event offers surf clubs from all parts of South Africa the opportunity to get together with fellow competitors, friends and family. It is great to partner with Surfing South Africa and the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and we look forward to staying involved in club surfing well into the future.”

Teams will meet at Seal Point at 7.45 am on Saturday for the official briefing and the contest will start at 8.30am.

The heats and the format are available on the Surfing South Africa website

The 2016 Billabong SA Interclub Championships will be fueled by Red Bull.

Surfing South Africa is a member of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA). SSA is the recognized governing body for all surf riding in South Africa and is recognized as such by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa.

2016 Billabong South African Interclub Championships supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa. Seal Point, Cape St Francis. Saturday & Sunday February 13th & 14th.

FIGHT CLUB: #joburgboardriders Kevin Trevaskis & Byron Loker limber up inland surf team to under training from Jamie Windell of Wellfit Lifestyle at The Bull Ring Fitness Center.

FIGHT CLUB: #Joburgboardriders & Design Partnership project managers Kevin Trevaskis & Byron Loker limber up for the Billabong SA Inter-club Champs under the training of Jamie Windell of Wellfit Lifestyle at The Bull Ring Fight & Fitness Club.

New edition of Book of the Road: Your South African Motoring Bible by MapStudio

Book of the RoadMapStudio is proud to present a new, updated edition of Book of the Road – Your South African Motoring Bible:

In this newly updated Book of the Road are 75 pages of detailed road maps, 208 detailed street plans, a comprehensive road atlas of South Africa and 1:750 000 scale super-detailed map database.

The main maps contains 4X4 trail locations, border crossings, campsites and caravan parks, detailed distance markers, dive sites, ferries and bridges, hiking trails, battlefield sites, historic sites, lighthouses, major airports and airfields, mountain passes, national parks and reserves, national, main and minor route numbers and nature reserves and bird sanctuaries.

It also contains tourist regions, an overview map of South Africa, road signs, distance chart, strip routes and an index.

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Are you ready for the 2016 Knysna Literary Festival? (17-20 March)

This year promises to be another good one in books!

One of the first events on the literary calendar is the 2016 Knysna Literary Festival, taking place from 17 – 20 March.


The programme will be confirmed by next week. Keep an eye on this space as we will be updating this article as soon as the programme is available.

Have a look at the promotional poster for a hint as to who you can expect:


Lucky for you, Monday, 21 March is a public holiday (Human Rights Day), so why not make it a long weekend and head out on the Garden Route for some bookish fun. We suggest you book your accommodation soon, as whatever the programme may hold, this promises to be a top event!

India: Lost & FoundA Life DigestedThe FetchKa-BoomHow Long Will South Africa Survive?What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?Broken Monsters


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A must-have for nature enthusiasts: Wildlife Southern Africa National Parks and Reserves

Wildlife Southern Africa National Parks and ReservesMapstudio is proud to present Wildlife Southern Africa National Parks and Reserves by Mariëlle Renssen:

This book is a must-have for all wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Covering over 300 parks and reserves within South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho, you will find all the information you need to plan the adventure of a lifetime within this handy atlas.

An overview map of Southern Africa with coverage of peace parks, malaria areas, time zones, cities and towns, together with an alphabetised quickfinder, makes this book user-friendly.

Information boxes covering the park size, contact details, accommodation, places of interest and seasonal information are highlighted on each page.

Southern Africa is home to an abundance of wildlife, and when visiting these parks, you can discover not only the Big 5, but other wildlife such as giraffe, kudu, zebra, and birds unique to this wonderful part of the world. Each park lists the fauna and flora indigenous to its specific area.

The wild awaits you … with Wildlife Southern Africa!

“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there you will never be the same. Could it be because Africa is the place of all our beginnings, the cradle of mankind, where our species stood upright on the savannahs of long ago?” ­­– Brian Jackman

About the author

Mariëlle Renssen was born in Zimbabwe of Dutch parents, educated in Cape Town, has lived and worked twice in New York City and is now settled in Knysna. So a compulsive wanderer she claims to be! Having travelled extensively in Europe, America and Southern Africa, she can’t get the travel and writing bug out of her blood.

Mariëlle was with Struik New Holland Publishers for 12 years, working variously as book editor, writer and publisher. She is the author of many books, ranging in subject from marathon running and alternative health to a teenager living with dyslexia. Today her focus is mainly off-road travel writing in Southern Africa, where she writes extensively for MapStudio and for travel company Back Road Tours which she co-established with husband, Hirsh, and a traveller friend.

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