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Lauren Beukes and Nechama Brodie’s #FeesMustFall-Flavoured Launch of Maverick and The Cape Town Book

Lauren Beukes and Nechama Brodie

Readers should expect the unexpected when approaching the fiction of Lauren Beukes. But the same applies to her non-fiction and, it would seem, to her book launches! Collaborating with the firebrand Nechama Brodie only escalates things.

The Cape Town BookMaverickThe Book Lounge was the venue for the recent double launch of Maverick: Extraordinary women from South Africa’s past by Beukes and Brodie and The Cape Town Book by Brodie. It is just a few hundred metres from Parliament, where the recent Fees Must Fall protests took place, and reflecting this important moment in South African history Beukes and Brodie treated those who attended the event to a different kind of book launch.

Lauren Beukes, Nechama Brodie, Pam Dhlamini and Thabo TshelaneBeukes and Brodie included some of the people involved in the Cape Town student protests in the discussion, and two authors and four activists made it an evening to remember. The six powerful personalities linked arms to raise awareness of how history is being written about even as it is being made on the streets outside. The activists described the tensions at UCT, where workers and management continued negotiations to end outsourcing. The seriousness of the situation was brought home when UWC erupted on the day following the launch, with the police reportedly dragging students out of their residences.

The night was remarkable in many ways. The launch of two terrific books, each one worthy of a solo launch, in combination with a bigger vision made for an event that afforded those present a rich opportunity to understand and engage with some of the issues currently dominating the country’s consciousness.

Earlier this year, Beukes teamed up with Brodie, insisting that she was the best person to co-author the expanded and updated edition of Maverick. The book, which features a number of the great and interesting women that populate South Africa’s past, was Beukes’ debut, first published in 2004. Brodie, who is the editor and co-author of the best-selling The Joburg Book and Inside Joburg, is the head of training, research and information at Africa Check, an independent fact-checking agency.

The gifted writer’s latest work is The Cape Town Book, which was also the raison d’etre for the unusual activities at the book launch. It was described by Louanne van Riet of The Book Lounge as “a beautifully rendered portrait of our strange and weird city that makes for essential reading for inhabitants and visitors to Cape Town”.

Readers will certainly find in the pages of these two books much to keep them thinking deeply about Cape Town and about South Africa’s powerful, feisty and courageous women.

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Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted live from the event using the hashtag #livebooks:


 

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