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Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

Umuzi to Publish New Zakes Mda Novel, Little Suns

Zakes Mda
Ways of DyingThe Heart of RednessSometimes there is a VoidRachel’s Blue

Zakes Mda’s new novel, a work of historical fiction titled Little Suns, will be published by Umuzi in 2015.

In the novel, to be released in December, Malangana (“Little Suns”) searches for his beloved Mthwakazi. They were parted after the assassination of Hamilton Hope, a British magistrate in the 19th Century Cape Colony, and their love story weaves itself into the true history of Hope’s assassination and into the exile of members of the author’s family from Qumbu to Lesotho, and later to Herschel on the Cape Colony side of the Lesotho border.

The novel also opposes the findings of the Nhlapho Commission, which in 2010 rejected the kingship of the amaMpondomise, whose kingship was taken from them after the murder of Hope.

Fourie Botha, publisher of local fiction for Penguin Random House, says: “A new novel by Zakes Mda is a brilliant event. We are honoured that Prof. Mda chose Umuzi to publish this very important book. Little Suns is a love story and a deeply human story set in a brutal history.”

A recipient of the Order of Ikhamanga, Mda was born in the Eastern Cape in 1948. He is the author of the famous novels Ways of Dying and The Heart of Redness, among many others, and his work has been translated into 20 languages. He spent his early childhood in Soweto, and finished his school education in Lesotho, where he joined his father in exile. Mda has studied and worked in South Africa, Lesotho, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and is a prolific writer, not only of novels, but also of plays, poems, and articles for academic journals and newspapers. His creative work includes paintings, and theatre and film productions. He is based in Athens, Ohio, in the United States, where he spends his time writing and teaching. His memoir, Sometimes There Is a Void, was published in 2011.

Mda was recently announced as the winner of the 2014/2015 University of Johannesburg Prize for Rachel’s Blue.

The publishing deal was brokered by Mda’s agent Isobel Dixon of the Blake Friedmann Literary, TV and Film Agency.

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Johnny Clegg in gesprek met Hanlie Retief: Ek het op 16 Zoeloedanse by trekarbeiders geleer

Orania“Lank voor ubuntu, lank voor die Nuwe Suid-Afrika, lank voor simunye en al die reënboog-modewoorde het Johnny Clegg al kom wys hoe ons Suid-Afrikaners van mekaar kan hou.”

Só beskryf Hanlie Retief die legendariese sanger, danser en Wit Zoeloe, Johnny Clegg, in ‘n artikel vir Netwerk24. Die Orania: Afrikanervolkstaat deur die oë van ’n lens-outeur het by die liedjieskrywer gekuier om uit te vind wie hy is en wat sy hart laat klop.

Clegg gesels oor sy grootwordjare in destydse Rhodesië (vandag Zimbabwe), sy rebelse moeder wat terug Engeland toe moes gaan toe sy swanger geraak het met hom, sy agtergrond as antropoloog en die dag toe hy die Universiteit van die Witwatersrand verlaat het en sy professor vir hom gesê het: “Johnny, vir jou sien ons nooit weer nie.”

Lees die artikel waarin Clegg vertel hoe hy op 16 by die trekarbeiders in die hostelle geleer dans het:

“Ek was so 16, en ­elke naweek daar – natuurlik heeltemal onwettig. Die dansers het singend uit die hostel gemarsjeer tot buite die hekke, dan glip ek tussen hulle in en hulle ‘sing’ my verby die twee Black Jacks (munisipale polisie).

“In die saal, met die beddens teen die muur opgestapel, het ons heelnag gedans. Tydens ’n klopjag flits twee jong konstabels tussen ons rond. Toe hulle my sien, vra hulle verskrik: ‘Is jy oukei? Wat doen jy hier?’ ‘Ek leer dans,’ piep ek. En hulle troos: ‘Toemaar, jy’s nou veilig.’ Hulle’t gedink ek word as gyselaar gehou!

“Hulle vat my huis toe, en toe my ma die voordeur oopmaak, skrik sy haar morsdood, veral toe die konstabels sê die Zoeloes kon my doodgemaak het vir moetie.


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Read an Extract from Spanner in the Works: Pat Fahrenfort’s Journey from Factory Floors to Corridors of Power

Spanner in the WorksSpanner in the Works by Pat Fahrenfort is the story of one woman’s journey from the factory floors of Cape Town to being part of the country’s first post-apartheid administration. It provides a unique view of the challenges faced by ordinary South Africans under the extraordinary circumstances of that unforgettable period of history. Fahrenfort’s story is an unflinchingly frank account of one woman’s resolve to speak truth to power, irrespective of where she discovers it.

Namibiana Buchdepot has shared an excerpt from Spanner in the Works in which Fahrenfort introduces herself and her family. Her story is not unlike the one told by many South Africans who were classified as non-white, but speaks with a unique voice about the daily struggles of ordinary working class people who had to negotiate their way through an unforgiving system.

Read the excerpt for a taste of what to expect from Spanner in the Works:

From the school bench to the factory floor

I didn’t know what to expect from my first job, certainly not that I’d be working until my fingers bled. It was 1960 and the year I came of age. I was fifteen. With my slight build and short stature I was often mistaken for a boy or a young child, so I began wearing my hair loose on my shoulders, the top part teased up Brigitte Bardot-style with a fringe over my too-broad forehead, and I would fill up my bra with cotton wool. “As jy wil ougat wees, moet jy gaan werk,” my mother would say when my sisters and I wanted to dress up. My parents believed that when you began to fret about your appearance, you were old enough to work.

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Read Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Introduction to Bandiet out of Jail by Hugh Lewin

Bandiet out of JailNamibiana Buchdepot has shared an excerpt from Archbishop Desmond Tutu’ introduction to Bandiet out of Jail by Hugh Lewin.

Bandiet out of Jail was awarded the 2003 Olive Schreiner Prize, and was rereleased in a new edition in 2013. Lewin won the 2011 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for Stones against the Mirror, as well as the 2014 International Human Rights Book Award.

Bandiet out of Jail has been called one of the finest ever examples of prison writing from South Africa, and was originally published in 1978, while Lewin was still in exile.

Read the excerpt:

Hugh Lewin went through sheer hell and emerged, not devastated, not broken, and not consumed with bitterness or a lust for revenge. He amazed, he humbled with his gentleness, his generosity of spirit, his willingness to forgive, when he could have been otherwise, and made a telling contribution to the work of the trc as a member of its Human Rights Violations Committee. He is endowed with ubuntu-humanness, the very essence of being human. He reveals another quality of many who suffered: a resilience that prevented him and his fellow ‘politicals’ from going to pieces when they had the stuffing knocked out of them.

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Nelson Mandela Would Have Been Ashamed by Violence Against Foreigners – George Bizos

Odyssey to FreedomAdvocate George Bizos, prominent human rights lawyer and lifelong friend of Nelson Mandela‚ says the attacks on foreigners were not triggered by xenophobia but a deep hatred for foreigners.

He said late former president Mandela would have been ashamed by the violence against foreigners.

“We are dealing here with hatred for foreigners … I am pleased that the majority of people of South Africa‚ universities‚ human rights organisations and schools have stood up to put an end to this hatred of foreigners‚” Bizos said.

He added that it had never occurred to him that South Africans “could display such cruelty against their brothers and sisters”.

Bizos was speaking in Pretoria on Thursday at a Unisa debate on the state of ethics 20 years after the country’s attainment of freedom and democracy.

He said he was pleased that it was only a few who committed crimes against foreigners‚ saying fellow Africans provided refuge for South African freedom fighters and supported the struggle against apartheid.

Bizos said people who stood against the attacks on foreigners did so at the great risk to their own personal safety‚ saying it is their ethical barometer that told them it was the right thing to do.

He said that‚ since his family came to South Africa from Greece as refugees‚ he knew how it felt to be a foreigner‚ away from family and friends and confronted by a language he could not speak.

“Fortunately we were welcomed with open arms‚” said Bizos, whose remarkable life is recorded in the autobiography Odyssey to Freedom.

Over the past three weeks‚ South Africa has been struggling to contain xenophobic attacks that began in KwaZulu-Natal and spread to various parts of the country, and which have claimed seven lives.

The government has since deployed the National Defence Force to help police restore order and stem the spread of the attacks.

RDM News Wire

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A Conversation With George Bizos, A Man Who Immersed Himself in the Struggle (Video)

Odyssey to FreedomYadhana Jadoo spoke to human rights lawyer George Bizos to find out more about his own struggles in life, all experiences which shaped him to be one of the pivotal figures in the struggle against apartheid.

“As a refugee, Bizos related to those who had been oppressed when he arrived in this country,” Jadoo writes. Bizos told her about the hardships he has faced and how he reacted to the injustices he witnessed from the moment he arrived on Durban’s shores at a young age, sharing anecdotes from his still vivid memory.

He also explains where he got the inspiration for the famous lines Nelson Mandela used in his Rivonia Trial speech, “if needs be”. It is said that these words were of crucial importance in relation to the outcome of that event. Bizos and Mandela were close friends until the end of the former president’s life.

Bizos’ autobiography, Odyssey to Freedom, was published by Umuzi and relates his incredible life story from escaping from the Nazis in Greece as a young child, to to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings and the 2004 trial of Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe.

Jadoo filmed the interview, sharing the video on YouTube, and wrote an article about her meeting with Bizos:

YouTube Preview Image

Bizos is nearly 88 years old. His memory of these events has, however, not faded. As his story unfolds, Bizos would be filled with both laughter and tears. His life was not easy. Some 54 years since the Rivonia Trial – where he was part of a team re- presenting the likes of Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada – Bizos is still working towards the greater good at the Legal Resources Centre. “I have been away from the office for very long. They must be wondering where I am,” Bizos would remark at the end of the interview.

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Video: George Bizos Remembers His Great Friends Nelson Mandela, Nadine Gordimer and Phillip Tobias

Odyssey to FreedomGeorge Bizos, author of Odyssey to Freedom and Nelson Mandela’s former lawyer, was interviewed by Jennifer Sanasie for News24.

In the video, Bizos remembers three of his dear friends, Nelson Mandela, Nadine Gordimer and Phillip Tobias. He says he misses them a great deal, but he is glad that he can be part of acknowledging the contribution they all made to South African society.

Watch the video:

YouTube Preview Image

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Excerpt from Byleveld – Dossier of a Serial Sleuth: A Cruel Murder in Natal

ByleveldByleveldNamibiana Buchdepot have shared an excerpt from Hanlie Retief’s biography of former brigadier Piet Byleveld, Byleveld: Dossier of a Serial Sleuth.

The excerpt includes a snippet from a murder case Byleveld worked on years ago, after two men picked up a a 16-year-old hitchhiker in Durban and drove towards the Drakensberg, where they set up camp before sodomising and strangling the boy. Retief captures the details of Byleveld’s person as he talks to her “in the belly of a building somewhere in Randburg”, sharing his life story.

Byleveld is also available in Afrikaans as Byleveld: Dossier van ‘n baasspeurder.

Read the excerpt:

The two men in the car drive away from the city with their passenger, The younger man is attractive, well built, and with a refined appearance. The other one is big, bald and macho. They drive in the direction of Est ourt, towards the Drakensberg. Later they stop, unload camping gear, and walk deeper into the mountains with the boy. They climb a few grass-covered slopes and eventually pitch camp on the banks of a stream in a deep kloof, The younger man sodomises the boy, after which the bald one takes his turn. When it is over, they strangle David Sehmel. The two men are hungry.

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Umuzi Authors at the South African Book Fair (13 – 15 June)

The 2014 South African Book Fair takes place from 13 to 15 June at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Umuzi authors at the fair include Imran Garda, Hanlie Retief, Claire Robertson, Brendon Bell-Roberts, Johann Rossouw, Imraan Coovadia and Mike Nicol.

The Thunder That RoarsOraniaByleveldThe Spiral House ></a></p>
<p><a href=100 Good IdeasVerwoerdburgOf Cops and RobbersTransformations

Friday, 13 June

“Are Trout South African?” Identity and belonging in South Africa
10 AM – 11:30 AM (Room 1.43)
How do we look at ourselves? How do we categorize others? Who belongs and who doesn’t? Exploring issues of South african identity are Duncan Brown, author of Are Trout South African?; Johann Rossouw, author of Verwoerdburg; Adam Haupt, author of Static: Race & Representation in Post-Apartheid Music, Media & Film + 1. Session chaired by the irreverent and erudite Marianne Thamm.

Tick-tock, tick tock – ramping up the tension
1 PM (Literary Forum 1)
Crime authors Mike Nicol, Michael Stanley and Chanette Paul chat crime, and how building tension is the key to successful crime writing. Chaired by Jonathan Amid.

Saturday 14 June

The power of a positive story
10 AM (Literary Forum 2)
Derryn Campbell, author of Awesome South Africa, Brendan Bell Roberts, 100 Good Ideas and businessman Victor Kgomeoswana praise the power of spreading the good news

How to write about Africa
4 – 5:30 PM (Room 1.43)
Telling our story now – reconsidering what our story is now and how to tell it are Professor Njabulo Ndebele, author of Reconsidering the Ordinary and The Cry of Winnie Mandela; Award-winning author Mia Couto, in conversation with Johann Rossouw, author of Verwoerdburg.

Sunday 15 June

Stories that rocked our world
1 PM (Room 1.44)
The Grand Scam, The Griekwastad Murders, Byleveld, child trafficking – exploring the power of the story in journalism are Rob Rose, Melissa Siebert, Jacques Steenkap, Hanlie Retief and Thomas Mollett.

The Muezzin calls: Muslims in the South African imagination
2:30 – 4 PM (Room 1.43)
Exploring the spirit of Islam and how it manifests in food, the arts, literature, music and poetry in South African culture is Imraan Coovadia, author of Green-Eyed Thieves; Lubna Nadvi co-author of (De)monopolising Paradise; Imran Garda, international journalist for Al Jazeera and author of The Thunder that Roars ; Poet Gabeba Baderoon, author of Regarding Muslims, and chaired by Yunus Omar (Cape Town editor of the Muslim Views newspaper)

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George Bizos: Nelson Mandela’s Will Prompts Us to Walk in His Footsteps

Odyssey to FreedomGeorge Bizos, author of Odyssey to Freedom, says Nelson Mandela’s will is “proof of his generosity and the values he embraced”.

The details of Mandela’s will were revealed in early February and Bizos, Madiba’s former lawyer and friend says the wishes laid out in the will are “a summary of his wishes in life”.

To say in a will I leave these sums of money to education institutions because it is my wish that people of South Africa should get proper education is evidence of what his thinking was, unlike some of his successors who say they are following in his footsteps. It’s a good reminder as to what he meant of what he said about his footsteps.

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