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Watch: Sifiso Ndlovu discusses his participation in the Soweto uprisings

When the Soweto uprisings of June 1976 took place, Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu, the author of The Soweto Uprisings: Counter Memories of June 1976 was a 14-year-old pupil at Phefeni Junior Secondary School.

With his classmates, he was among the active participants in the protest action against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

Contrary to the generally accepted views, both that the uprisings were ‘spontaneous’ and that there were bigger political players and student organisations behind the uprisings, Sifiso’s book shows that this was not the case.

Using newspaper articles, interviews with former fellow pupils and through his own personal account, Sifiso provides us with a ‘counter-memory’ of the momentous events of that time.

Here, Sifiso discusses the book and his participation in the protest with David O’Sullivan on O’Sullivan’s Kaya FM breakfast show:


 
 

 
 

 
 

 

The Soweto Uprisings

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Author of The Soweto Uprisings: Counter Memories of June 1976 participated in the march at age 14

When the Soweto uprisings of June 1976 took place, Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu, the author of this book, was a 14-year-old pupil at Phefeni Junior Secondary School.

With his classmates, he was among the active participants in the protest action against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

Contrary to the generally accepted views, both that the uprisings were ‘spontaneous’ and that there were bigger political players and student organisations behind the uprisings, Sifiso’s book shows that this was not the case.

Using newspaper articles, interviews with former fellow pupils and through his own personal account, Sifiso provides us with a ‘counter-memory’ of the momentous events of that time.

This is an updated version of the book first published by Ravan Press in 1998. New material has been added, including an introduction to the new edition, as well as two new chapters analyzing the historiography of the uprisings as well as reflecting on memory and commemoration as social, cultural and historical projects.

Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu is an Executive Director at the South African Democracy Education Trust. He has a PhD in History from the University of the Witwatersrand and an MA in History from the University of Natal. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the multi-volume Road to Democracy in South Africa series.

He originally published The Soweto Uprisings in 1998, and was the co-editor, with Miranda Strydom, of The Thabo Mbeki I Know (2016). He is a Professor of History at the University of South Africa and also a member of UNESCO’s Scientific Committee responsible for updating the General History of Africa series.
 

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Lorenzo Fioramonti’s Wellbeing Economy lays bare society’s perverse obsession with economic growth

Wellbeing Economy

Using real-life examples and innovative research, acclaimed political economist Lorenzo Fioramonti lays bare society’s perverse obsession with economic growth by showing its many flaws, paradoxes and inconsistencies.

He argues that the pursuit of growth often results in more losses than gains and in damage, inequalities and conflicts.

By breaking free from the growth mantra, we can build a better society that puts the wellbeing of all at its centre.

A wellbeing economy would have tremendous impact on everything we do, boosting small businesses and empowering citizens as the collective leaders of tomorrow.

Wellbeing Economy is a manifesto for radical change in South Africa and beyond.
 
 
 
 
 

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40th anniversary edition of I Write What I Like includes a foreword by Njabulo S. Ndebele

I Write What I Like features the writing of the famous activist and Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko.

Before his untimely death in detention at age 30, he was instrumental in uniting Black Africans in the struggle against the apartheid government in South Africa.

This 40th anniversary edition includes a foreword by Njabulo S. Ndebele, personal reflections on Steve Biko and Black Consciousness, as well as Biko’s first known published piece of writing.

In addition, it features all the material of the original Picador Africa edition: a collection of Biko’s columns entitled “I Write What I Like” published in the journal of the South Africa Student Organisation under the pseudonym of ‘Frank Talk’; other journal articles, interviews and letters written by Steve Biko at the time; an introduction by Nkosinathi Biko; a preface by Archbishop Desmond Tutu; and a moving memoir by Father Aelred Stubbs, which pays tribute to the courage and power of this young leader, who was to become one of Africa’s heroes.
 
 
Steve Biko was born in Tylden, Eastern Cape, South Africa in 1946. As a medical student, he founded a black student organisation in 1969 and created a national ‘black consciousness’ movement.

The movement’s aim was to combat racism and the South African apartheid government. He was banned in 1973, which prohibited him from speaking in public, writing for publication and any travel. Biko was arrested by police in September 1977 and died in detention, naked and manacled, from extensive brain damage, six days later.

He left a widow and two young children. His death caused international protests and a UN arms embargo. Biko became a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement. An inquest in the late 1980s found no one responsible for his death, but in 1997 five former policemen admitted being involved.

I Write What I Like

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Achmat Dangor’s Bitter Fruit back in print after more than 10 years

The last time Silas Ali encountered Lieutenant Du Boise, Silas was locked in the back of a police van and the lieutenant was conducting a vicious assault on Silas’s wife, Lydia, in revenge for her husband’s participation in Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress.

When Silas sees Du Boise by chance twenty years later, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is about to deliver its report, crimes from the past erupt into the present, splintering the Alis’ fragile peace.

A clear-eyed story of a brittle family on the crossroads of history and a fearless skewering of the pieties of revolutionary movements, Bitter Fruit is a cautionary tale of how we do, or do not, address the deepest wounds of the past.

‘Freshness and bold vividness are the qualities of Achmat Dangor’s writing … inn the post-apartheid era, he has tackled, in Bitter Fruit, as in Kafka’s Curse, with the honesty of his insight, the problem as well as the promised fulfilment of the enormous change that freedom brings about.’ – Nadine Gordimer

Achmat Dangor lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has published four novels, Waiting for Leila (1981), The Z Town Trilogy (1990), Kafka’s Curse (1997) and Bitter Fruit (first released in 2001), as well as a short-story collection, Strange Pilgrimages (2013).

Bitter Fruit was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for 2004 as well as the 2003 International Dublin Impac Award. Dangor’s new novel, Dikeledi, will be released in August 2017.
 

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“I feel that as a writer, our duty is to capture the human experience” – read an interview with Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

I think a lot of novels that we have coming out that most people consider particularly African novels are expected to play on politics, on corruption, on all these things. I don’t want those to be at the forefront. They are there, obviously, and they are very dominant, like on the landscape and the scenery. But despite all this, people carry on with their lives. They are little romances in hidden corners, they have their issues with their children, and all that. This corruption, this politics, this violence, in a way it kind of shapes certain things in the way we behave and the way we act, it is not necessary that every time you have to struggle with corrupt politicians and corrupt people, but the decisions they make somewhere, so far away from you, somehow have a resonance in the way you make your decisions and the choices you make in life.

Jennifer Malec, editor of the Johannesburg Review of Books, interviewed Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, winner of the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature, during Ibrahim’s recent visit to Johannesburg.

Ibrahim received the Nigeria Prize for Literature for his novel Season of Crimson Blossoms.

Read their interview here and listen to Ibrahim read an excerpt from Season of Crimson Blossoms here.

Season of Crimson Blossoms

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Launch – Wellbeing Economy: Success in a World Without Growth by Lorenzo Fioramonti

Using real-life examples and innovative research, acclaimed political economist Lorenzo Fioramonti lays bare society’s perverse obsession with economic growth by showing its many flaws, paradoxes and inconsistencies.

He argues that the pursuit of growth often results in more losses than gains and in damage, inequalities and conflicts.

By breaking free from the growth mantra, we can build a better society that puts the wellbeing of all at its centre. A wellbeing economy would have tremendous impact on everything we do, boosting small businesses and empowering citizens as the collective leaders of tomorrow.

Wellbeing Economy is a manifesto for radical change in South Africa and beyond.

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Book launch – Longthroat Memoir: Soups, Sex and Nigerian Taste Buds by Yemisi Aribisala

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Pan Macmillan SA to publish Peter Harris’ debut novel

Pan Macmillan South Africa is delighted to announce it will publish the debut novel of award-winning author Peter Harris. The book will be released in South Africa in October 2017.

The narrative revolves around Max Sinclair, the CEO of Wits Mining, who is in the process of selling 25% of the company to a consortium. As the deal-making gathers pace there are casualties on all sides as corporate and political intrigue spiral, and Johannesburg reveals its true colours as a gritty mining town. The novel is an acerbic exploration of post-apartheid South Africa, with a particular focus on the deepening corruption and cronyism that is threatening the country’s long-term development.

Peter Harris has gathered many accolades for his non-fiction writing. In a Different Time: The Inside Story of the Delmas Four was awarded the prestigious Sunday Times Alan Paton award as well as the Booksellers’ Choice Award in 2009. He is also the author of the best-selling Birth: The Conspiracy to Stop the ’94 Election.

Harris was born in Durban and moved to Johannesburg after qualifying as a lawyer. In the early 1990s, he was seconded from his law firm to the National Peace Accord. Thereafter, he was seconded to head the Monitoring Directorate of South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission for the 1994 election. He currently practises as a lawyer.

Peter Harris commented: ‘In a Different Time was a book about the 1980s, and an extraordinary treason trial. It also chronicled the huge sacrifices that were made to bring about democracy in South Africa. My second book, Birth, was about the transition in the early 1990s and the extreme challenges that the country encountered in getting to and conducting the 1994 election, in the face of significant odds. This novel, located in the cauldron of Johannesburg, is about the society we have become.’

Terry Morris, Managing Director of Pan Macmillan South Africa, said: ‘It is such a privilege for Pan Macmillan to work with an author of Peter Harris’s calibre. Peter is well known for his non-fiction writing, but our team was instantly hooked by the storyline and characters of his debut novel and we look forward to sharing this gripping book with readers.’
 

In a Different Time

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Birth

‘I grew up a slave’ – Justice Dikgang Moseneke inspires with his life story at the launch of My Own Liberator

‘I grew up a slave.’ – Justice Dikgang Moseneke inspires with his life story at the launch of My Own Liberator

 
Former Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa Dikgang Moseneke was recently at Atteridgeville Community Hall in Pretoria to launch his new memoir: My Own Liberator.

I grew up a slave. I grew up oppressed.

This was the main reason he wrote the book, Moseneke told the audience, which included a few prominent politicians such as former President Thabo Mbeki and newly appointed mayors of Pretoria and Johannesburg, respectively, Solly Msimanga and Herman Mashaba.

My Own LiberatorMoseneke was arrested and sent to Robben Island at the age of 15 for activities against apartheid, and he brushed off the suggestion that he was young or immature at that age. In response, he said it was often the young who saw the cracks in an unjust system.

“At 15, I didn’t think I was young. I thought I was equal to the task,” he said.

Moseneke said his generation and comrades took the side of people who said “inkululeko ngexesha lethu – freedom in our lifetime”.

Moseneke spoke of his childhood friends and recounted the bullying he faced as a child. To win over the bullies, he sometimes shared fishcakes and cheesecakes his grandfather, a self-taught chef, brought home from work. When Moseneke had become successful, with a safe career and a comfortable life, he often wondered what his friends and erstwhile bullies had become in terms of their careers.

Moseneke relived the harsh, cruel experiences of prisoners at Robben Island – prisoners being chained in pairs and sometimes taking a fall when the other prisoner fell. But instead of being broken by these experiences, Moseneke used the time to study and better his life.

When an audience member asked the former chief justice to speak on the contentious land issue dominating headlines in South Africa at the moment, Moseneke said “restitution has been slow”. He believes that if everyone had land, there would be nobody living in shacks. For the land issue to be solved, however, he said the government itself may have to consider giving away land it occupied yet didn’t own.

‘I grew up a slave.’ – Justice Dikgang Moseneke inspires with his life story at the launch of My Own Liberator

 
Mbeki, who wrote the book’s foreword and the one to appoint Moseneke as Deputy Chief Justice during his tenure as president, said My Own liberator was the kind of story that “needed to be told in these directionless times”.

‘I grew up a slave.’ – Justice Dikgang Moseneke inspires with his life story at the launch of My Own Liberator

 
When the country needed skilled judges for the transformation of the judiciary, people like Moseneke had been more than willing to put their hands up, Mbeki said. Mbeki also took the opportunity to thank Moseneke for the service he had rendered to the country as a judge.

‘I grew up a slave.’ – Justice Dikgang Moseneke inspires with his life story at the launch of My Own Liberator‘I grew up a slave.’ – Justice Dikgang Moseneke inspires with his life story at the launch of My Own Liberator

 
Lungile Sojini (@success_mail) tweeted live from the event:

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