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Archive for the ‘Namibia’ Category

Johan Vlok Louw Discusses Eric the Brave with JB Roux

Eric the BraveJB Roux from LitNet interviewed Johan Vlok Louw about his book, Eric the Brave.

Louw spoke about how he went from banking to selling vacuum cleaners despite always wanting to be a writer: “The ‘other stuff’ was only meant to keep food on the table.” He now writes and paints full time. Roux describes reading Eric the Brave and compares it to a painting that “vibrates with energy and silent emotion”:

A platoon of conscripts guarding a remote outpost in the then South-West Africa (today’s Namibia) smoke, drink, drool over pictures of naked women. And size one another up …

It’s the anticipation, the sense that something dreadful is about to happen, must happen, that keeps readers turning the pages of Eric the Brave, shocked, almost, by the accuracy with which the writer recalls life “on the border”. He “paints” realistically, with short, accurate strokes of the brush. The picture that emerges is dominated by shades of brown. Army brown.

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Extract from Johan Vlok Louw’s Border War Novel Eric the Brave

Eric the BraveRandom House Struik has released an extract from Johan Vlok Louw’s debut novel, Eric the Brave. Set on the border between between Namibia and Angola in 1993, Eric the Brave examines the horrors and unreality of the Border War.

In the following excerpt, taken from Chapter 3, Louw describes how much of war time is spent waiting for something to happen:

Benjamin Darrell Woods is sun-tanning on his back in his underpants reading Wilbur Smith from behind sunglasses in the Angolan bush war.

He’s turned slightly now to look up at Eric looking down at him from the tower.

“Bored already, hey, Eric?” “Very.”

“Tough shit, man, sure you don’t want the tapes? I can bring up some music if you want.”

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Launch of Book of Ghosts at the SA National Museum of Military History, Johannesburg

Bush of Ghosts - Launch Invite

Bush of Ghosts: Life and War in Namibia 1986-90Join John Liebenberg and Patricia Hayes for the launch of their Bush of Ghosts: Photographs of Life and War in Namibia 1986-90 at the South African National Museum of Military History.

The remarkable photographs in this book, taken from 1986 to 1990, show the “Border War” where the chief antagonists were the South African Defence Force and swapo, the South West Africa People’s Organisation.

Emotional pictures – and doubtless a very emotional event. We look forward to welcoming you.

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New From Umuzi: Bush of Ghosts: Life and War in Namibia 1986-90

Bush of GhostsThis October from Umuzi: Bush of Ghosts: Life and War in Namibia by photographer John Liebenberg and historian Patricia Hayes.

War can hide many things but not everything, and a camera can see more than is supposed.

The remarkable photographs in this book, taken from 1986 to 1990, show the “Border War” where the chief antagonists were the South African Defence Force and swapo, the South West Africa People’s Organisation.

John Liebenberg’s camera entered many places where cameras were not allowed, and his photographs show much of what has remained hidden ever since. They show battles fought and life lived on both sides, regardless of the conflict. Then they take us into the tumultuous transition period when international forces entered the theatre of conflict, and finally to the aftermath in Namibia, when a fledgling nation was testing its wings and living with its ghosts.

The photographic narrative is strongly augmented by the contextualising essay by historian Patricia Hayes, by transcripts of conversations between herself and Liebenberg as they worked through his archive, and by Liebenberg’s own extended comments about most of the images. The book is material for historians and a valuable resource for photographers. But mostly it is a space of recall for those who were there, and a reminder for those who were not.

About the Authors

John Liebenberg was introduced to Namibia in 1976 when, together with his fellow conscripts, he was sent to Ondangwa Air Force Base near the border with Angola. He later returned to Namibia and in 1985 was appointed photographer for a new Windhoek weekly, The Namibian. Following independence his family moved to Johannesburg where he worked for Drum magazine and did freelance work, notably in Angola. He is a senior and established news photographer whose work has been exhibited in Africa and Europe.

Patricia Hayes is Professor of History at the University of the Western Cape where she runs the Visual History research project, part of which involves researching southern African documentary photography. Her co-authored book The Colonising Camera: Photographs in the Making of Namibian History (1998) was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. She has published several other works on the history of colonial Namibia, gender and visuality.

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Chris Harvie’s Tall Namibia Story

Do NOT Take this Road to El-KaramaFrom Chris Harvie, author of Do not take this road to El-Karama, a story of tall women, tall horses and a pants-shredding mountain in Namibia:

Rising at dawn the next morning from my tent on its banks, I valiantly forded the deep sand in the dry riverbed that is occasionally the Fish River, and set about climbing a cumbersome rocky outcrop on the far bank. The challenge was described in the guide book as a “quick one-hour jaunt affording magnificent views of the world’s second-largest canyon”. The cumber wasn’t mentioned at all.
Three hours later, my shorts ripped to shreds by the assault of giant boulders, ankles ablaze from staggering around on the loose scree, I found myself stuck on a rock face, held aloft by one foot in a narrow fissure and one hand on a slippery jut of rock. No way up. No way down.

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Do Read This Excerpt from Do NOT Take This Road…

Do NOT Take this Road to El-KaramaIn the winter of 2006, English-born Chris Harvie and his travelling companions commenced a 28 000 km road trip around Africa which would become the subject of the travelogue, Do NOT Take this Road to El-Karama.

The travellers meandered through Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zanzibar, Malawi and Namibia. Upon his return, Harvie bought and restored a historical house in Graaff-Reinet, where he wrote this book. Besides fulfilling his duties as hotelier, Harvie writes on food and travel on a freelance basis for the Sunday Times.

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Don’t Take this Road – but You Might Want to Take this Book – to El-Karama

Do NOT Take This Road to El-KaramaTired of the African tales of misery with which we find ourselves bombarded every day, new author Chris Harvie sets out to find the good news on an epic 28 000-kilometre journey between his home outside the Kruger National Park and the Nile River in Uganda, traversing eight African countries: Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zanzibar, Malawi and Namibia.

The result is the delightfully entertaining travelogue, Do NOT Take this Road to El-Karama.

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On the (African) Road with Sihle Khumalo

Sihle Khumalo Yvette Geyer & Busi DlaminiAt the Johannesburg launch of Sihle Khumalo’s Dark Continent, My Black Arse the author shared the delights of the travels he embarked upon to celebrate his 30th birthday: he took himself on a three-month Cape-to-Cairo jaunt.

“It had always been a dream to experience Africa for myself,” said Khumalo. “It had also always been a dream to write a book.” He left his fiancée and their 18-month-old child behind and ventured on the fabled and fabulous route, travelling as a backpacker, by public transport only, spending upwards of $50 per day.

“My friends wanted to know if I’d won the lottery. They said it didn’t make sense for me to resign from my job and leave my fiancée and baby behind.”

Most of his trip was, indeed, fabulous. In particular the first half, leading up to Nairobi, where Khumalo experienced quad-biking on ancient Namibian dunes and the thrill of microliting over the Victoria Falls, and encountered the soul-searching that results after visits to historical sites where, for instance, slaves were whipped and traded.

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South African Author Unmasks Jack the Ripper

Charles van OnselenAs Managing Director of Random House South Africa, it gives me great pleasure to announce our association with a work of monumental achievement; I’m honoured to be the first to reveal that renowned South African historian and University of Pretoria professor, Charles van Onselen, has unmasked the world’s most notorious serial killer, London’s Jack the Ripper – after more than a hundred years of speculation about the murders.

In his book The Fox & the Flies – the World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath, published today, van Onselen produces compelling evidence that points to the killer being a man who went by the name Joseph Silver – a trader in “white slavery” who fled from Poland during the anti-Jewish pogroms of the late 19th century.

Silver spent years running brothels in London, Cape Town and Johannesburg, and was part of a white slave network that spanned the Atlantic World.


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