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The winner of the 2014 @City_Press Tafelburg Nonfiction Award is Vashthi Nepaul! #openbook2014 @OpenBookFest

Join Edyth Bulbring for the Launch of The Mark in Johannesburg

Book Launch: The Mark

The MarkTafelberg and Love Books invite you to the launch of The Mark by Edyth Bulbring on Tuesday, 30 September 2014.

The launch will take place at Love Books in Melville at 5:30 for 6 PM. Bulbring will be in conversation with Ben Williams about her new book for young adults.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 30 September 2014
  • Time: 5:30 for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Love Books,
    The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre,
    53 Rustenburg Road,
    Johannesburg | Map
  • RSVP: Kate,, 011 726 7408

Book Details

Join SA Partridge, David Grier, Mike Lundy, Casey B Dolan and others at the West Coast Book Fair (26 – 27 September)

The first West Coast Book Fair is happening this weekend at Elkanah House in Sunningdale. The programme offers a feast of great local authors with something for every reader, young and old.

David Grier, co-author of the runaway success Real Meal Revolution; hiking expert Mike Lundy; well-known radio personality, actress and author Casey B Dolan; writing power couple Greg Fried and Lisa Lazarus (writing as Greg Lazarus); award-winning YA novelist SA Partridge; hip foodie Carina Truyts and popular children’s author Elizabeth Wasserman will all be taking part in this weekend’s festivities.

The event is organised in support of Miles for Smiles and the Cape Times “A Library in Every School” project.

Ticket prices vary from R30 to R100 and can be purchased online via Computicket.

Dogtective William in SpaceReal Meal RevolutionYum-moSharp EdgesSisi gaan skool toe en ander storiesShadow Self
ParadiseLove Tastes Like StrawberriesWhen the Bough BreaksVets and Pets: Jamie and the Magic WhistleNew Hope for ADHD in Children and AdultsParadiseEasy Walks in the Cape Peninsula

Elkanah House will be hosting the first `West Coast Book Fair` at their High School campus at the end of September. The initiative will be held in support of “Miles for Smiles” and the Cape Times “A Library in Every School” project.

Forming part of a “Community Weekend”, the West Coast Book Fair hopes to bring visitors from all over the Western Cape together this month to celebrate our local authors, support charity and just have a good time with friends and family while enjoying good food and music.

On 26 September Elkanah House will present a cheese and wine tasting charity evening in their Theatre@Elkanah with guest speakers David Grier (co-author of “The Real Meal Revolution”) and Mike Lundy (Author of “Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula”). Proceeds for this evening will go to the “Miles for Smiles” initiative, in conjunction with Cipla`s “Operation Smile SA”.

Saturday 27 September will be run in conjunction with the Elkanah House Schoolyard Market. Visitors will be able to meet local authors, buy books or browse fresh food, crafts and other stalls while listening to live music performances. For children there will be “Story on a Blanket” spots where they can enjoy stories being read to them, and the PlayYard, where parents can sit back, relax and watch their little ones play and learn. Those attending are encouraged to donate books suitable for children aged 7-18. Bargain Books and Books Galore will donate a percentage of all sales. Proceeds and books donated will go to the Cape Times “A Library in Every School” project.

Tickets can be purchased from Computicket at R100 – this includes entry to the Friday evening charity event as well as the Saturday event. Visitors wishing to visit the Saturday event only can do so at Elkanah House High School, 85 Sunningdale Drive, Sunningdale, Table View. More information about the authors, guest speakers and beneficiaries can be found on

Book details

Keina Swart: Dit help nie om jouself agter die watertenk te sit en bejammer nie

BloujaarBloujaar-outeur Keina Swart het ’n rubriek geskryf vir Netwerk24 waar sy ’n groot lewensles deel: “Dit help nie om jouself agter die watertenk te sit en bejammer nie.”

Lees haar artikel om te verstaan hoe sy as as Sub A-dogtertjie tot hierdie insig gekom het:

Die seun was nog nie eens by die gradeblok verby met die handklok nie toe peul die eerste kinders al uit die klaskamers.

Die golf spoel my tot in die ry langs die saal waar die koshuiskinders hul katjiebotterbroodjies en lemoene moet kry.

Ek wil nie saam met die ander kinders sit en eet of springtou spring nie. Ek is te kwaad.

“En toe? Hoe was die eerste dag?”


Christa Biyela on her book Getting Dirty: How to get dirty

Activist, teacher, writer and mother, Christa Biyela says we can prevent
the spread of HIV, protect our partners and children through honest
conversations. After living with HIV for eight years she has written a
book, Getting Dirty, Sex is Great, but lets be honest.

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Porcupine Press Books Now Available from Computicket Deals!!!


Nice plan but it lacks teeth

Closer study of the South African Rugby Union’s Transformation Strategic Plan, published in Rapport last week, shows it has much to recommend it.  It is a five-year road map whose end point is 2019, the year in which the Rugby World Cup will be held in Japan and, if all goes well, South Africa will, for the first time, field a racially balanced national team.

It is a very useful statistical document, providing endless figures on the racial breakdown of various teams.  It takes into account every aspect of the organization of the game: from professional to club to school rugby.

Dramatic targets for the professional teams – 50% black/white splits for the Springboks, Super Rugby and Currie Cup teams – have seized the headlines.  But the Plan also includes targets for more black coaches, referees, and administrative officials.  Women and disabled players get a look-in.  As does the promotion of social cohesion through better organization of amateur rugby

It is frank about rugby’s tardiness: “..most of SARU’s provinces have failed to show tangible transformation results, owing to an equal opportunities approach that lacked proper talent identification and development programmes.”

This statement is itself, of course, loaded: some might argue that it was equal opportunities for white players only in some provinces. But that is a subject for another column.

The Plan points out that “transformation-related data have been collected and analysed since 2008 to highlight development and this has included demographic profiles of provinces. Regular feedback was also given to provinces to highlight key focus areas. More work is required, however, to ensure the reliability and the quality of data collected from the provinces. Some provinces refused to submit financial data, which ultimately negated Saru’s abilty to strategically align itself with transformation and development goals.”

This paragraph hints at the inherent weakness of this Plan: it relies heavily on the provincial unions to make it happen and, apart from a couple of notable exceptions, they do not have a great track record.

Let’s look at what they have to play with:  Saru’s figures show that almost two thirds of  boys playing rugby at school are black.  Given that schools are the incubators of professional rugby players, it is startling how tiny a proportion of them go on to be contracted by the unions.

There are caveats here: most are at Eastern Cape schools, which means poverty puts a break on their ambitions early on.   But I still don’t understand why Saru has never systematically targeted these schools to produce more black Boks.   It seems to me to be the obvious route to take: provide decent nutrition, mentoring, coaching and facilities to a selection of better functioning schools and you could make a huge difference to the numbers of black kids who stand a chance of competing at a higher level.

What happens now is the rich unions buy kids from Eastern Cape schools and put them in top rugby schools/rugby academies. Many can’t cope with the transplant but many also make it through. What happens to them? If you look at the SA Schools Under 19 side –the Junior Boks – the representation of black players is well up: 40% are players of colour.

It is on the next step up the rugby career ladder that black players fall out in their droves: getting a contract with a provincial union to play Vodacom Cup or Currie Cup. Here the proportion of black players falls to 30% and, by Super Rugby, it is down to 26%. Our current Bok squad features 19%.

This is where the Transformation Plan is vulnerable. Its strategy for reaching the lofty targets for Super Rugby, for example, are to “engage Super Rugby franchises to increase black representation…”

These are the very unions which have not picked black players in the past. There are no sanctions attached to a failure to meet these targets.  So it is not immediately obvious why they would suddenly have a change of heart.  It seems to me the only way you will ever get unions to do the right thing is if they decide to do so.

Take the Sharks, for instance – now with new, effective management under Aspen CEO Stephen Saad, they have out-shone every other union in racial representativity. Except for Western Province but, given the wealth of coloured players at their disposal, they have little excuse not to.

One of the stated targets is to have five players of colour in the Springbok team fielded in next year’s Rugby World Cup.  Exactly two decades on from our magical Mandela moment in 1995, such an achievement would have a particular significance. But this too seems little more than a nice idea. Heyneke Meyer’s contract firmly states that he has control over selection.  His performance targets prioritise winning, not nation-building.

So, all in all, a great Plan. But that is about it.

*This column first appeared in Business Day