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Sex workers lead the way

Grace Bura (not her real name) came to South Africa three months ago from her home town of Dar es Salaam to set up a new business: sex work.  She is based in one of Durban’s biggest brothels and earns R70 per transaction. R240 of her earnings each day go to the brothel owner for rent. It’s hard and dangerous work, she says, but much more lucrative than the small clothing business she had at home. What’s more, the exchange rate works in her favour and the rands she earns here buy a decent living for her child, who lives back home with his grandparents.

Sex work in South Africa is particularly risky because of the high prevalence of HIV. Around 60% of sex workers are infected.   Fortunately for Grace, though,  her move here has  coincided with the launch of the most promising new HIV prevention tool yet.  In May this year, the Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsaoledi, announced that 10 sites across the country would start giving pre-exposure prophylaxis (known as PrEP) to sex workers.  It comes in the form of a once-a-day pill, Truvada, which works by blocking an enzyme called HIV reverse transcriptase. By blocking this enzyme, it prevents HIV from making more  copies of  itself in the body. If taken every day, Truvada gives 99% protection against HIV infection.

One of the sites chosen to dispense PrEP is the TB/HIV Care clinic in eThekwini, which already provides comprehensive health care services to sex workers.

Grace first heard about Truvada from a TB/HIV Care counselor. “I know about this clinic because I have seen the ladies come to the brothel,” she said. “She called me and told me to come here to get tested. I agreed because I want to look after my health. Thank god I was negative.”

Grace started on Truvada on June 22. She returned to the clinic yesterday to get two months’ advance supply because she is going to work in Johannesburg for a while. “Work is slow here now,” she explains. “If you go away and then come back, they think you are new and you get more clients.”

If Grace keeps on taking her pill every day – and there is every indication she will – she will be able to protect both herself and her clients, as well as their partners.

This is a giant step towards defeating a virus that accounts for more than 30% of deaths in South Africa.

*This article first appeared on

Sterkykers deur Jaco Jacobs: Vars, verrassende, vuishou-op-die-maag-gedigte vir tieners

SterkykersSterkykers, ’n heerlike bundel verse vir tieners saamgestel deur Jaco Jacobs, is nou beskikbaar op LAPA se rakke:

Skryf ’n liefdesbrief.
Bemeester die kuns van hande vashou.
Vuisstamp die lewe voluit.
Lag soos die mense in advertensies.
Raak onsigbaar.
Twiet vir iemand ’n vers.

Hierdie bundel vars, verrassende, vuishou-op-die-maag-gedigte vir tieners bou voort op die suksesvolle Toulopers. Bekende digters en skrywers soos Koos Kombuis, Ronelda S Kamfer, Nathan Trantraal, Annie Klopper, Fanie Viljoen, Izak de Vries en Jacobs span kragte saam met opwindende nuwelinge soos Deon Meiring (hoofsanger van die groep Glaskas), Solette Swanepoel, Donnay Torr en Danie du Toit (sanger en liedjieskrywer van die groep Spoegwolf) in ’n opwindende digbundel wat spesiaal saamgestel is om hedendaagse jongmense se leefwêreld te weerspieël.

Oor die samesteller

Jaco Jacobs is op Carnarvon in die Karoo gebore. Sy eerste boek, Troetelgedrog, het in 2001 by LAPA verskyn, en sedertdien het meer as honderd boeke vir kleuters, kinders en tieners uit sy pen verskyn. Sy boeke is onder meer bekroon met die Alba Bouwerprys, die C.P. Hoogenhoutmedalje en 19 ATKV-Kinderboektoekennings. Talle van sy boeke word met groot sukses by skole voorgeskryf, en in 2014 is ’n rolprentweergawe van sy gewilde tienerboek Suurlemoen! landwyd vrygestel. Hy woon in Bloemfontein saam met sy vrou, Elize, sy dogtertjies, Mia en Emma, twee honde, Pippie en Binki, en ’n baie stoute kantoorkat genaamd Lego wat sy bes probeer om Jaco uit die werk te hou. Besoek gerus sy webtuiste.


Book Bites: 26 June 2016

Published in the Sunday Times

The Good LiarThe Good Liar
Nicholas Searle (Viking)
Book thrill
Searle’s reticence about his civil service career has led to knowing allusions to other spies-turned-novelists such as John le Carré, but The Good Liar’s intricate plot and sneaky pensioners make it more reminiscent of Cloud Atlas. The book begins with a blind date between two octogenarians, and while Roy’s scheme to con Betty out of her savings is apparent early on, her obliviousness is puzzling. But then the mark turns hustler in a Scooby-Doo set piece that just manages to avoid silliness by invoking long-harboured wartime revenge. — Jennifer Malec @projectjennifer

There Should Have Been FiveThere Should Have Been Five
MJ Honikman (Tafelberg)
Book monster
A story about World War 2 hero Job Maseko, who was taken prisoner by the Germans in the South African defeat at the battle of Tobruk in 1942 in Libya. Maseko, who was made to unload ships, managed to single-handedly blow up an ammunition ship in the harbour by collecting cordite from discarded bullets and rigging an explosive device with fuse wire. The story is told through the eyes of two children who visit the Military History Museum and wonder about the painting of Maseko that hangs there. It is a good device to make this extraordinary story accessible to a contemporary youth audience. — Hamilton Wende @HamiltonWende

Tastes Like FearTastes Like Fear
Sarah Hilary (Headline)
Book thrill
This is DI Marnie Rome’s third outing but new readers will have no trouble jumping straight into the action, starting with a car accident caused by a semi-nude girl jaywalking on a busy road. Marnie and her attractive gay sidekick Noah investigate the dodgy tower blocks of London, trying to find the jaywalker and a host of other missing teenage girls. Equal parts thriller, police procedural and contemporary social commentary, the story has a satisfying conclusion — but with an intriguing teaser to keep fans coming back for more. — Aubrey Paton

NegrolandNegroland: A Memoir
Margo Jefferson (Granta Books)
Book buff
Jefferson, a former theatre critic for the New York Times, wrenches open the doors of the black elite in the US. She writes: “Negroland is my name for a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty.” She chronicles the rise of the black elite and shows the precariousness of the privilege that they struggled so hard to achieve. It’s when Jefferson speaks about her own life — including her thoughts of suicide as a young adult and trying to fit into a white world — that her frankness makes this one of the better memoirs of the year so far. — Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt

Book details

2016 Media24 Books Literary Awards winners announced

2016 Media24 Books Literary Awards winners announced

Alert! Finuala Dowling, Ingrid Winterbach and Milton Shain were among the winners of the 2016 Media24 Books Literary Awards.

The awards recognise the best work published by Media24 Books – including NB Publishers and Jonathan Ball – during the previous year. More than 50 books published by Media24 during 2015 were entered for the awards, which offered prize money totalling more than R200,000.

The Fetch
The 2016 Herman Charles Bosman prize for English fiction went to Finuala Dowling for her novel The Fetch, published by Kwela. In their commendation, the judges lauded Dowling for “the strength of the writing, the subtlety and wit of the language, her descriptive powers and her skill at creating credible characters that are of real interest to us: complex, human, and quirky”.


A Perfect Storm
Milton Shain received the Recht Malan prize for nonfiction for A Perfect Storm: Antisemitism in South Africa 1930-1948, published by Jonathan Ball and described by the judges as history at its most compulsively readable. “In a time when violent xenophobia regularly rears its ugly head across the country, the continent and the globe, this marvellous book is a timely reminder of what can happen when politicians in pursuit of power demonise a vulnerable group,” the judges said.


The winner of the WA Hofmeyr prize for Afrikaans fiction is Ingrid Winterbach for her novel Vlakwater, published by Human & Rousseau. It is the fourth time Winterbach received this prestigious award. The novel, which is currently being translated into English, broadens an already impressive oeuvre, the judges said.


The Elisabeth Eybers prize for English or Afrikaans poetry went to Free State poet Gilbert Gibson for his fifth collection of poetry, Vry- (Human & Rousseau).


Elton Amper-Famous April en Juffrou Brom
The MER Prize for youth novels went to Carin Krahtz for Elton amper famous April en juffrou Brom (Tafelberg).


Die Dingesfabriek: Jannus en Kriek en die tydmasjien
The MER prize for illustrated children’s books went to Elizabeth Wasserman and illustrator Astrid Castle for Die Dingesfabriek 4: Jannus en Kriek en die tydmasjien (Tafelberg).


The judges were:

Herman Charles Bosman Prize: Johan Jacobs, Molly Brown and Ann Donald

The Recht Malan Prize: John Maytham, Elsa van Huyssteen and Max du Preez

The WA Hofmeyr Prize: Thys Human, Danie Marais and Bernard Odendaal

Elisabeth Eybers Prize: Henning Pieterse, Antjie Krog and Francois Smith

MER Prize for youth novels: Louise Steyn, Verushka Louw and Wendy Maartens

MER prize for illustrated children’s books: Lona Gericke, Paddy Bouma and Magdel Vorster.

Book details

Books and creative writing courses up for grabs in exciting Snitch competition, for children in Grades 6-8



NB Publishers is running an exciting Snitch competition, for children in grade 6-8, with books and creative writing courses up for grabs!

Snitch is the new novel by Edyth Bulbring:

13-year-old Ben Smith attends St David’s, where rugby is a compulsory sport. After the annual derby against Voortrekker High in which a St David’s player is severely injured and rushed to hospital, Ben inadvertently catches a glimpse of a bottle labelled Methyltestosterone in the player’s tog bag. But when he is told “It’s just vitamins, OK?” by another team member, he remembers some references from the team’s facebook pages and realises that it is steroids. What follows turns Ben’s life upside down.

Watch the book trailer:

YouTube Preview Image

Win exciting prizes by reading the novel and answering, in 150-300 words, the following question:

Imagine you are an Agony Aunt in a magazine. Write the response that you would have given to any of the main characters who wrote to you regarding their problem. Remember to motivate your response.



Own choice of books from our catalogue to the value of R1,000.

English teacher of winner:

Any three books from our catalogue.

School of winner:

  • Book pack to the value of R3,000.
  • Creative writing course by a popular author for 30 learners.


Own choice of books from our catalogue to the value of R1,000.

School with most entries:

Book pack to the value of R1,000/Creative writing course for 30 learners.

Email entries to: or by 23 September, 2016. Remember to include the name of the learner(s), English teacher and school.

Book details

Don't miss the launch of There Should Have Been Five by Marilyn Honikman at The Book Lounge

Launch of There Should Have Been Five


There Should Have Been FiveTafelberg and The Book Lounge invite you to the launch of There Should Have Been Five by Marilyn Honikman.

There Should Have Been Five is based on the true story of Job Maseko, a South African hero of World War I who was almost forgotten for 50 years.

Two children visit the Museum of Military History in Johannesburg and are intrigued by a painting of a black serviceman at the top of the stairs … there were 354,000 South Africans of all races, including 25,000 women, who volunteered to serve in South Africa’s defence force and nursing services in the fight against Hitler, the Nazis and the Italian Fascists in World War Two. This book tells of one of these men, Job Maseko, whose heroic deed was almost forgotten for 50 years: He managed to destroy a German vessel with a homemade bomb while imprisoned in Tobruk. Why was he not awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery?

The launch will take place at The Book Lounge in Cape Town on Wednesday, 15 June.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 15 June 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge
    71 Roeland St
    Cape Town | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Sindiwe Magona
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge,, 021 462 2425

Book Details