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The winner of the 2014 @City_Press Tafelburg Nonfiction Award is Vashthi Nepaul! #openbook2014 @OpenBookFest fb.me/3fYW6ZeJ3

Suurlemoen-koors loop hoog: Begin jou eie band en wen!

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Suurlemoen!Die fliek gebaseer op Jaco Jacobs se uiters gewilde tienerroman Suurlemoen! begin more landwyd in teaters draai.

Jacobs se verhaal vertel van ’n groep tieners wat, uit nood, ’n rockband begin. Hulle word dan die cool kids op al die skoolkinders se lippe en wen uiteindelik die Rumoer rock-kompetisie. Hoezit, die nuwe Afrikaanse webtydskrif, het vyf stappe geïdentifiseer om jou eie band te begin. Met die regte naam, look en fans kan jy dalk ook so suksesvol soos Suurlemoen! wees!

In die fliek Suurlemoen! begin Tiaan en Zane ’n band. Hulle wil deelneem aan ’n Battle of the Bands-kompetisie met ’n reusagtige prys, maar sukkel om nog lede te kry. Hulle leer uiteindelik drie lesse: besluit vooraf watter soort musiek julle wil maak, moenie haastig wees om lede te kies nie, en moenie op ’n lid van die band verlief raak nie. Natuurlik hou hulle nie by hul eie reëls nie, maar dis ’n storie vir ’n ander dag. As jy jou eie band wil begin, hou dié dinge in gedagte:

1. Kies die regte lede
Moenie net die mooiste meisie of ou kies omdat jy dink jy kan ’n date kry nie. Moenie jou vriende of familie kies net omdat hulle laas week vir jou R20 geleen het nie. Kies mense wat instrumente kan speel (duh), en kies mense wat persoonlikheid het.

Hierdie riglyne kan handig te pas kom indien jy dalk, nes die ouens in die fliek, R20 000 kontant vir jou skool wil wen. Loer na die fliek se webtuiste vir meer inligting oor ’n werklike Rumoer-kompetisie wat skoolgaande musikante nooi om hulself af te neem terwyl hul een van hul eie liedjies speel en dit dan op Suurlemoen! se Facebook-blad te deel.

Waarvoor wag jy? Begin rumoer!

’n Professionele opname van een van julle liedjies.

’n Awesome musiekvideo.

R20 000 kontant vir jou skool.

Dís mos wat mens ’n prys noem!

As jy en jou band members almal nog op skool is, skryf in en wys ons dat julle rock! Neem julself af terwyl julle een van jul eie liedjies speel, laai die video op YouTube en share dit op Suurlemoen! se Facebook-blad. Wie weet? Dalk word julle die volgende Suid-Afrikaanse sensasie!

Boekbesonderhede

Uittreksel uit Bloujaar deur Keina Swart: Rampie sukkel om by die stadskool aan te pas

BloujaarBloujaar is Keina Swart se eerste verhaal vir en oor tieners.

Die ingewikkelde, en dikwels skrikwekkende, golwe van tiener wees en mens word is die onderliggende tema van hierdie jeugroman waar Rampie, die hoofkarakter, met sy pa se kankerdiagnose, simpel vriende en skoolwerk worstel.

In die uittreksel hieronder sukkel Rampie om by die nuwe stadskool aan te pas. Lees ’n stukkie uit Bloujaar deur Keina Swart:

* * * * * * * * *

     Toe die skoolklok lui vir die einde van Rampie se tweede dag by die nuwe skool, is hy die enigste een wat nie jubelend bly is nie.
Vir wat is hulle so uit hulle velle uit om huis toe te gaan?
’n Mens sou sweer hulle is op pad Hawaii toe of iets. Skool. Huis. Dis om ’t ewe vir hom. Altwee ewe goor.
     Veral Eugene lyk asof dit die dobbelklokke is wat lui. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” gil hy en gooi albei sy arms in die lug dat sy penne- blik dáár trek; die muskietbyte op sy wang nou rooipers op- geswel van al die gekrap.
     “Dis ’n klaskamer, nie Sun City nie, meneer Truter!” raas die KK-juffrou.
     Die twee meisies in die bank voor hom draai om na Eugene toe. Dan begin albei giggel, hande voor die monde. Blosend. Hulle laaik vir Eugene. Enige aap kan dit sien.
     Buite die skoolhek kan hy Masindi al van ver af met haar bont kopdoek en voorskoot tussen die wagtende ouers uit- maak. Pikkedys hardloop by hom verby; boksterte reguit agtertoe. Haar hele gesig straal toe sy Masindi sien. Sy peil op haar af en gee haar ’n druk om die lyf. Masindi vat Pikkedys se tas uit haar hand. Hulle staan vir hom en uitkyk. Doelbewus kyk hy anderkant toe en begin aanstap huis toe. Hy skaam hom dood. Hy ken tog die pad huis toe. Hulle maak ’n moewiese fout as hulle dink hy gaan saam met húlle huis toe stap. Lekker, my happy family. Asseblief !
     Toet! Toet! Toeeeet! hoor Rampie agter hom.
     Vrekkit! Hy het nie besef daar is karre binne-in die skool- terrein wat ook die hoofhek gebruik nie. Hy was só ingedagte dat hy glad nie eens agtergekom het dat hy reg in die middel van die pad staan nie.
     Rampie spring met een beweging tot op die sypaadjie. ’n Kanariegeel Golf kom by die skoolhek uitgery. Kiertsregop agter die stuurwiel, sit juffrou Cheezie. Sy gee vir Rampie ’n vuil kyk en wys ’n plomp voorvinger in sy rigting. Die twee aardbolle aan haar ore swaai woes heen en weer soos sy be- duie. Rampie trek sy skouers op in ’n askies-juffrou-gebaar. Goeiste, hy het sy alie afgeskrik.
     Nou toe nou, dink hy terwyl die Golf al hoe kleiner word. Nie net hou sy van kaas nie, sy ry ook iets wat soos ’n hompie kaas lyk. ’n Veldmuis in ’n kaas op wiele.
     Teen die tweede week het Pikkedys Kleinvlei klaar vergeet. Nee, newwermaaind vergeet – eerder verloën. Dit smile en skitter en pronk en “geniet alles net so vrééslik” in hierdie af- skuwelike plek. Pouses staan die meisies in ’n kringetjie om haar. Sy het haarself gaan inskryf by die skool se oefenklub en mik nou seker vir een of ander glorievolle oomblik op die Interlaer. Sy en Rampie loop nie meer soggens saam skool toe nie. Sy loop vooruit saam met Masindi en hy drentel agterna. Kan natuurlik nie wag om by die skool te kom om te gaan kruip by die onderwysers nie, dink Rampie as hy haar so opgewonde sien. Skynheilige vroumens! Smiddae loop hy op sy eie terug, terwyl Pikkedys die Vrolike Sonskynsuster en Masindi gesels-gesels op hul eie aankom.
     Die stadskool is alles wat Rampie geweet het dit gaan wees: aaklig. Die graad sewes het klaar hulle klieks; die onnies het klaarblyklik elkeen hul gunstelinge en almal behalwe hy weet waar die verskillende plekke op die skoolterrein is. Die skool is só groot dat daar viér graad 7-klasse is. Die leerlingraad is ’n groepie wat tog o-so-close is. Dis net heeltyd vergade- rinkies, kampe, dinkskrums en opleiding. Diegene wat nie dié uitverkiesing gemaak het nie, is eintlik daar doer onder. Die gepeupel van die groep.
     Rampie is heeltyd op die verkeerde vloer by die verkeerde klas. Hy verstaan nie die rooster nie en daar is niemand wat lyk asof hulle omgee nie. Dit het hom klaar so lank geneem om uit te vind “eerste vloer” beteken die ry klasse in die middel van die gebou; nie dié op die grond nie. Daardie ene is “grondvloer”. Dit is vir hom so simpel. Dis mos: eerste vloer, tweede vloer, derde vloer – nie grondvloer, eerste vloer, tweede vloer nie, vervlaks! Die skool het dan drie ver- diepings!
     Niemand van die kinders vra vir Rampie waar hy vandaan kom nie. Niemand vra watse werk sy ouers doen of waar hulle bly nie. Niemand wil weet of hy boeties of sussies het of wat hulle naweke of vakansies doen nie. Vir Pikkedys sien hy glad nie. Die seuns se speelgrond is op ’n heel ander terrein as die meisies s’n. Niemand by die skool weet van Dêrra se siekte nie. En Rampie is ook nie van plan om dit vir iemand te sê nie. Dis net Xander wat eintlik met hom praat. Seker omdat hy ook nie die BBP-groepie gehaal het nie.
By die huis gaan dit nie veel vroliker nie. Kiekel is óf by die musieksentrum, óf agter die klavier, óf besig om die musiek- sentrum se personeel tot satwordens toe te besing. Pikkedys oefen atletiek asof haar pad geteer is Comrades toe. Sy ma is heeldag besig met haar naskool en haar snoepiegoed.
     Dêrra gaan steeds elke dag werk toe, behalwe nou die Vrydae wanneer hy dokter toe gaan. Dan bly hy gewoonlik die hele naweek daarna in die kamer. Hulle praat nie oor Dêrra se siekte nie. In elk geval nie waar Rampie iets kan hoor nie. Hy vra ook nie uit nie, behalwe as dit gaan oor reëlings. Hoe laat hulle gaan en hoe laat hulle gaan terug wees en so aan. Hulle sal eers weet wat gaan vir wat as al die “behandelings” verby is, sê sy ma. En dit gaan maande duur. Hulle gesin gaan intussen nêrens anders heen nie. Woon niks by nie. Kuier nie met mense nie. Eet nie uit nie. Dêrra moet rus. Hy moet oppas vir die koue. Hy voel nie lekker nie. Of hy is in die kamer.

Boekbesonderhede

Potgooi: Lizz Meiring gesels oor Ismail Mahomed se verhoogstuk, Cheaper than Roses

In die kolligLizz Meiring het onlangs met Maroela Media gesels oor haar jongste verhoogproduksie, Cheaper than Roses.

Hierdie toneelstuk gaan oor identiteit en die skep daarvan. “As ons oor die basiese grondslag van wie ons is moet jok, om te voel dat ons in pas en aanpas en aanvaar sal word, sal ons nooit in eerlikheid kan leef nie,” sê Meiring en gesels oor Ismail Mahomed se toneelstuk wat hy meer as twintig jaar gelede spesiaal vir haar geskryf het.

Cheaper than Roses kan later vanjaar by die Clover Aardklop gesien word. ’n Versameling van Meiring se verhoogtekste is beskikbaar in In die kollig: Speeltekste vir dramaleerders.

Luister na die potgooi (die onderhoud begin om 14:10):

Boekbesonderhede

I Feel Writing Comp for RSA High Schoolers

The I Feel Writing Competition has opened. The contest is for South African high school writers. The categories are Poetry and Essay and may be submitted in English or Afrikaans. The project is being run by Jeanne Fourie-Hattingh in collaboration with George Library and EdenExpress. I will be judging the category: English Essay 8-9. The other judges are: Johan Murray, Michael Lindt, Moira Richards, Marga Jonker, Andiah Myburgh and James Fouché.

Categories are as follows:

  • Afrikaans Poetry 8-9
  • Afrikaans Poetry 10-12
  • English Poetry 8-9
  • English Poetry 10-12
  • Afrikaans Essay 8-9
  • Afrikaans Essay 10-12
  • English Essay 8-9
  • English Essay 10- 12

Students may enter up to 2 entries per category. Deadline: 31 October. Full details and entry forms can be found on the website: http://ifeelcompetition.yolasite.com/

Submerged Wonderland: an Extract from Devilskein and Dearlove by Alex Smith

Devilskein and DearloveDevilskein and Dearlove, the new young adult novel from Alex Smith, is dark and colourful, intriguing and peculiar.

The novel tells the story of Erin Dearlove, a 13-year-old who is struggling to adjust to living with her aunt in a bustling part of Cape Town. Erin is clever, precocious, and troubled by a dark secret. She develops a friendship with Mr Devilskein, her upstairs neighbour, who has secrets stranger than her own: he guards the keys to six mysterious doors. When he shares access to the magical worlds behind the doors with Erin, danger, friendship and adventure ensue.

In this excerpt, Erin discovers an underwater paradise:

* * * * * * * *

A smile crept onto Mr Devilskein’s hideous face, and it would have been fearsome had there not been a twinkle in the monster’s eyes. ‘I have heard, or let me be honest, overheard, that you have an interest in the sea.’

Erin stared at the inside of her cup, where a last drop of tea rolled away to reveal a delicate image of a lady’s face. ‘You mean surfing?’

‘That involves the sea, doesn’t it?’ He frowned.

‘I guess so.’

‘Well,’ he clapped his hands together, and produced from his palm a key. ‘This is the key to the turquoise door and it will take you to your surprise.’ He placed the key before her. It didn’t look at all like the key Erin already possessed for that particular door. It was older and more brassy and ornate. She felt she was being tricked. She stared at the key without touching it.

‘Oh for goodness’ and badness’ sake!’ Mr Devilskein looked fierce. ‘Finally, I give you permission and a key and all you do is sit there. Run along, child, and see what is beyond the door.’

Erin looked from the key to Mr Devilskein and then at Calvados, who had opened one eye and was watching with interest. ‘Where is Zhou?’

‘You will not need the cricket for what is behind that door. Now go before I change my mind.’

Quite slowly and reluctantly, Erin left the kitchen where they had been having tea, passed through the shadows created by the towers of shoeboxes and up to the turquoise door. The lock had definitely been changed. It had a wider gape, fit for a fatter key than the one she owned. She inserted the key and gave it a turn. As she stepped across the threshold, she was sucked inwards into a cool, green, underwater realm. The door was no longer visible. Ah! He has found me out and now he is murdering me: a deep-sea death. At first she thought she would surely drown, because try as she might to surface from the salty world, no matter how far up she swam, there never was a brim or top or surface. There was water everywhere. Soon she realised she could see quite well in spite of the salty atmosphere and that she wasn’t struggling to breathe. On the contrary, a stream of bubbles moved with her as she went, and when she touched her cheeks it felt like she had developed gills. How curious and how glorious! As she was beginning to enjoy being like a fish, from nowhere came the whooshing sound of water bodies and momentarily she was overwhelmed by thousands of translucent jellyfish, brilliant yellow arrow squids and indigo-blue flying squids, all with waving, feathery legs like those of dancers. If the sight of them hadn’t been so beautiful and strange, Erin might have been frightened, especially since if they so chose, the jellyfish could have stung her to a painful demise. But the creatures were not interested in harming her. They were on their way to an important gathering and they were moving at a rapid pace. Soon they left Erin behind in the peace of the ocean and its corals of many hues.

It was dreamy and serene until the swishing of currents and kelp was outdone by a clatter of armour-coated claws and feelers. Coming up on Erin’s left was a vast orange and red battalion of lobsters, spider crabs, horseshoe crabs, and porcelain crabs. Erin yelped, for fear that they would trample her as they went their way, but she need not have worried, for they parted briefly to accommodate her presence.

‘What is this place?’ Erin asked nobody in particular, since there was nobody to ask, except the slither of ten thousand green and blue sea snakes that, like the crabs and the squids had appeared from nowhere, and were heading somewhere in a great hurry. Never having been a great fan of snakes, Erin froze in horror at the sight of all those beady eyes and lithe, patterned bodies. Again her trepidation was unnecessary; the creatures had no interest in the human who was not hurrying to the ball, like every other body in that watery realm.

Book details

A tale of two would-be Springboks: Johannes and Fikile

NO LESS a figure than Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has weighed in on the rugby transformation debate.

In a letter to the Cape Times, written as the Springboks were preparing to take on Argentina in Salta last month, Tutu remarked that it was “particularly hurtful” to see the selection of black players as “peripheral squad members never given the chance to settle down and earn their spurs”.

“Now, 20 years later, I lament the tortoise pace at which transformation at the highest level is being effected.”

The country, he wrote, deserved a Springbok team that was representative of the “full spectrum of the rainbow that defines us — not on the basis of quotas or affirmative action or window-dressing, but on merit and for our long-term wellbeing as a nation”.

Tutu is entirely correct in lamenting the paucity of black Springboks and, as spiritual successor to Nelson Mandela, his words carry particular weight.

But I’m not sure they make a useful contribution to a debate that has become shallow and polarised. With accusations as serious as racism being bandied about, the South African Rugby Union is becoming increasingly paranoid and defensive. The government, under pressure from its own constituency, issues threats. Coaches, already under intense pressure to win no matter what is thrown at them, feel under siege. Racial quotas result in black boys from poor areas becoming commodities, bought by richer schools to bring up their numbers — and then ruthlessly discarded if they lose form.

A proper debate needs to be opened up about the role of rugby in SA which takes into account the fact that it cannot be separated from the ecosystem in which it operates. It can be argued, for instance, that the Springbok team is mostly white because, even in 2014, SA still affords white people the best chance of fulfilling their potential: and not only in sport.

We know that we live in the most unequal society on earth, with the biggest gap between rich and poor anywhere in the world. And the post-apartheid dispensation has only increased the concentration of wealth in the upper echelons.

Figures released by Stats SA earlier this year show that the poorest households are black and headed by women. Black rugby talent is largely concentrated in the Eastern Cape. Stats SA revealed that, in the Buffalo City metro, for instance, 45.8% of households are female-headed. Only 52.6% have piped water into their homes.

Almost one in five live below the poverty line.

Poverty follows a child from such a home — let’s call him Fikile — to school: where he is likely to encounter inadequate buildings, poorly motivated and educated teachers, little or nothing in the way of sporting or training facilities. It’s likely to be a non-fee-paying school, so operating with minimal resources.

No matter how talented a rugby player he is, his chances of developing his skills are limited.

Compare him to a pupil — let’s call him Johannes — at Grey College, Bloemfontein, the most prolific producer of Springboks. Grey College comes weighted with more than a century of investment from the ranks of SA’s privileged. Its buildings and sports facilities are magnificent. Parents can afford to pay for extra staff to supplement teacher numbers. Old boys are willing and able to make generous donations.

ohannes also benefits from historically enriched social capital: his mother will be waiting in her car to pick him up after practice. He will go home to a hot shower, a comfortable bed and a nutritious meal. He will likely have access to nutritional supplements. On match days his family will be out in force to support him.

Meanwhile, Fikile is more likely to have to make his own way home. He will have to fetch water from a communal shower to wash; his evening meal will be bread or pap. There will be little in the way of the protein essential in this adolescent growth phase to build the muscle required to make it as a top South African rugby player.

On match days he will have to hustle for taxi money to get to the field. His mother, single-handedly supporting her family, probably on a social grant, is unlikely to have either the money or the time to accompany him.

Both Fikile and Johannes will dream of one day donning the green and gold. But the lives each has been born into will determine which one has any chance of realising his dream.

This inequality extends beyond school. Black players have spoken about the additional stress poverty imposes on them even if they make it to semi-professional teams. One told how, throughout a training session, he would be fretting about whether he had enough cash for the taxi home afterwards, while his white teammate climbed into the Golf bought for him by his father.

This is serious because it distracts the black player from what should be single-minded concentration on his performance. The coach notices and chalks it up to lack of commitment — and he ends up being sidelined. Poverty brings with it a sense of shame so the black player is unlikely to try to explain his predicament in such a competitive environment.

Even at the highest level the emotional toll of inequality puts many black players at a disadvantage. For instance, Jean de Villiers’ dad, Andre, still accompanies him to almost every game, no matter where he plays. Andre de Villiers makes no demands on his son but is simply there to offer support

By contrast, Siya Kolisi, who grew up in poverty in Zwide, has spoken of how he experiences his family as an additional source of stress: “If I don’t play,” he told me, “people in the township don’t eat.” So he has to deal not only with the psychic wounds of a deprived childhood but an ongoing dearth of emotional support.

Playing at Springbok level requires emotional resilience: you need to be able to bounce back from long injury lay-offs, poor results, losing your place in the team. Only players who have this kind of resilience are able to cement their places in the starting line-up. Life has given Jean de Villiers the best chance of acquiring this. Kolisi is one of thousands of talented black players for whom it will always be a struggle.

We are not going to be able to close the inequality gap in the short term so we need to think about how to draw on rugby as a nation-builder in the meantime.

*This column first appeared in Business Day