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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Pan Macmillan South Africa acquires first book by Trevor Noah

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Pan Macmillan South Africa is thrilled to announce that it will publish Trevor Noah’s forthcoming book in November 2016.

Pan Macmillan South Africa has acquired southern African rights to comedian Trevor Noah’s first book, a collection of personal stories about growing up in South Africa during the last gasps of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that came with its demise.

Already known for his incisive social and political commentary, here Noah turns his focus inward, giving readers an intimate look at the world that shaped him. These are true stories, told in the tradition of David Sedaris – sometimes dark, occasionally bizarre, frequently tender, and always hilarious. Whether subsisting on caterpillars during months of extreme poverty or making comically hapless attempts at teenage romance, from the time he was thrown in jail to the time he was thrown from a speeding car driven by murderous gangsters, the experiences covered in this book will shock and amaze, even as they leave you rolling on the floor with laughter.

Terry Morris, MD of Pan Macmillan South Africa, says: “Trevor Noah captured the hearts of South Africans long before he took up the helm at The Daily Show.

“His incisive, intelligent brand of humour became the perfect antidote to the stresses of life in South Africa. His international success has become our collective success and we so look forward to working with Trevor to bring his unique voice to print.”

Trevor Noah said: “I couldn’t find a good book about myself so I decided to write one. And just like me this book doesn’t have an appendix.”

Rights were acquired from Abner Stein on behalf of Peter McGuigan of Foundry Media, Inc. The book, as yet untitled, will be published in print and electronic form in southern Africa in November 2016.

For all press enquiries please contact Laura Hammond at Pan Macmillan

For all translation rights enquiries please contact Kirsten Neuhaus at Foundry Literary + Media in New York

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Moeletsi Mbeki Predicted an “Arab Spring” Youth Uprising in South Africa – Back in April (Video)

Advocates for ChangeArchitects of PovertyIn an interview earlier this year Moeletsi Mbeki, economist and editor of Advocates for Change: How to Overcome Africa’s Challenges, predicted the student protests that have shaken up South Africa for the past month.

Mbeki, who was interviewed by Trust Matsilele for CNBC Africa, characterised South Africa as “a bomb waiting to explode, all it needs is a little match to spark it and it will go up in flames”. He said that the country was moving towards an “Arab Spring” type uprising because of the shortage of opportunities and useful employment, particularly for the youth.

Mbeki also commented that military reactions against protesters are fruitless; only employment will curb young people’s restless frustration.

Watch the video:

 

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Read All About Nnedi Okorafor’s Recently Published Binti (With Excerpt and Interview)

BintiTor.com Publishing has just published Nigerian-American fantasy and science fiction author Nnedi Okorafor’s Afrofuturist novella Binti.

Binti – Okorafor first book set in outer space – is now available in ebook, print on demand and audiobook editions.

Tor.com Publishing is distributed locally by Pan Macmillan.

Binti tells the story of a 16-year-old girl from Namibia who is leaving home to take advantage of an opportunity to study at the prestigious Oomza University. The story is rooted simultaneously in the current reality of Africa and an speculative universe of the future, which makes it socially relevant in a number of different ways.

Read a review of the novella by Mahvesh Murad:

What is most important about Okorafor’s work is that she sees diverse races and cultures as being just as much of the future as they are of the present—something mainstream SF doesn’t always do. Not just does she put Africans from all over the continent in the futures she creates with great clarity and purpose, she makes certain that their various cultures travel forward with them, informing these futures, maintaining unique customs. Okorafor’s stories are where the ancient cultures of Africa meet the future, where what we have been and what makes us human meets what we can be and what we may be in the future.

Tor.com announced the publication of Binti earlier this year, and Carl Engle-Laird reported that the publisher was “thrilled to have her onboard”. Okorafor is equally happy about it:

“I’m really pleased and excited to be a part of Tor.com’s new novella program. My novella Binti is the first story I’ve ever written that is set in outer space. Tor.com’s novella program is daring, progressive and pioneering in ways that remind me of my main character Binti, so I think this is a perfect fit.”

Read an interview with the author on Tor.com, in which she shares a bit about what inspires her writing:

Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.

Godzilla. And not the heroic Godzilla, the one that comes and destroys sh*t for no reason.

Would you rather discover the fountain of youth or proof of life on Mars?

Life on Mars, definitely! Youth is highly overrated, Martians aren’t.

Tor.com has also shared an excerpt from the novella. In the excerpt, Binti sneaks away from her family home and set out on a space journey to university:

I powered up the transporter and said a silent prayer. I had no idea what I was going to do if it didn’t work. My transporter was cheap, so even a droplet of moisture, or more likely, a grain of sand, would cause it to short. It was faulty and most of the time I had to restart it over and over before it worked. Please not now, please not now, I thought.

The transporter shivered in the sand and I held my breath. Tiny, flat, and black as a prayer stone, it buzzed softly and then slowly rose from the sand. Finally, it produced the baggage-lifting force. I grinned. Now I could make it to the shuttle. I swiped otjize from my forehead with my index finger and knelt down. Then I touched the finger to the sand, grounding the sweet smelling red clay into it. “Thank you,” I whispered. It was a half-mile walk along the dark desert road. With the transporter working, I would make it there on time.

Press Release

Tor.com Publishing, an imprint dedicated to novellas and short novels, launched this September with Kai Ashante Wilson’s critically acclaimed fantasy The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. Tor.com has long published award-winning short genre fiction, and our new line provides a home for emerging and established writers to tell focused, engaging stories in exactly the number of words they choose.

From Afrofuturist science fiction to darkly imagined fairy tales, Tor.com Publishing offers a diversity of genre titles for a wide variety of readers. Our current books include:

Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell: The villagers in the sleepy hamlet of Lychford are divided. A supermarket wants to build a major branch on their border. Only Judith Mawson (local crank) knows that Lychford lies on the boundary between two worlds, and that the destruction of the border will open wide the gateways to malevolent beings beyond imagination. But if she is to have her voice heard, she’s going to need the assistance of some unlikely allies…

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor: Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach. If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.

Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace: In New York, eating out can be hell. Everyone loves a well-catered event, and the supernatural community is no different, but where do demons go to satisfy their culinary cravings? Welcome to Sin du Jour—where devils on horseback are the clients, not the dish.

You can find out more about our current titles, including Sunset Mantle by Alter S. Reiss, Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter, and K.J. Parker’s The Last Witness, here.

All of our titles are available globally in print, DRM-free ebook, and audiobook format. Starting next year, a select number of our titles, including Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (April 2016) and Infomocracy by Malka Older (June 2016), will also receive traditional print runs in partnership with Tor Books.

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Image courtesy of nnedi.com


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Ten Years of Game-Changing Headlines: A New Edition of Africa is Open for Business by Victor Kgomoeswana

Africa is Open for BusinessPan Macmillan is proud to present a new and revised edition of Africa is Open for Business by Victor Kgomoeswana:

Victor Kgomoeswana, well known as an African business expert with a profile on radio and television, shares 50 stories of innovation and opportunity behind the business headlines of the last ten years on the African continent. From the introduction of M-pesa in Kenya to changing the image of Nigeria as Africa’s fraud capital, and from Rwandan coffee farmers to Ethiopian Airlines, and other remarkable stories in between, Kgomoeswana criss-crosses the continent to highlight the most fascinating business stories and their impact on the future of Africa.

Africa is Open for Business contains a dynamic and different view of the opportunities available in Africa from those usually portrayed in the news and in other media. Kgomoeswana focuses on the stories behind the headlines as well as sharing his personal experiences of Africa while travelling and doing business in a way that is as entertaining as it is informative.

It’s time for the continent to tell its story to the world, and this book validates and amplifies the message that is slowly, but increasingly, finding resonance with the international community: that Africa is indeed open for business.” – Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

About the Author

Victor Kgomoeswana is an independent consultant who has previously worked as an adviser to and representative of several listed and unlisted multinationals, guiding them in their expansion in the African continent. He presented the weekly “African Business Report” on Talk Radio 702’s The Money Show from July 2007 until 2014, and on SAFM’s AM Live since October 2012. He is currently the anchor of Africa Business News, a weekly show on CNBC Africa, presents Power Hour, a daily show on Power FM, and is a columnist for the Sunday Independent.

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South Africa has an Unhealthy Dependency on China and its Demand for Minerals – Moeletsi Mbeki

Advocates for ChangeArchitects of PovertyMoeletsi Mbeki, political commentator and author of Advocates for Change: How to Overcome Africa’s Challenges and Architects of Poverty: Why Africa’s Capitalism needs Changing, was recently called on by Iman Rappetti to speak about China’s “Black Monday” on her Power FM show.

In the podcast, Mbeki speaks about the links between the Chinese economy and the South African economy, and why the dip in the Chinese currency affected this country.

Mbeki says there is a problem in the economic relations between the two countries. Because South Africa sells a large amount of minerals to China, a shrinkage in that country’s demand has a dramatic effect on employment and development here. South Africa should have focused on diversifying its economic product in the past 21 years to avoid a situation of dependency.

Listen to the podcast:


 

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The Peace Bus: An Incredible Initiative to Fight Xenophobia, Organised by Khaya Dlanga and Shaka Sisulu

To Quote MyselfKhaya Dlanga and Shaka Sisulu – two of the most influential people in the South African Twittersphere – have mobilised a group of 32 people to travel by bus from Johannesburg to Durban, where they will join a march organised by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government in reaction to the raging xenophobic violence in the city.

The idea for the Peace Bus, as it has been dubbed, originated on Twitter just two days ago, with Dlanga calling on South Africans to show leadership where “our leaders won’t”. Within hours, Dlanga and Sisulu had teamed up to organise a return trip, with many seats sponsored. The short notice, unfortunately, meant that the bus could not be filled. However, Dlanga and Sisulu both stressed that waiting is not an option, as the violence would not wait and could only get worse.

The march is set to start at 10 AM this morning, departing from the Curries Fountain to the City Hall and led by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal and Mayor of eThekwini. The hashtag #PeaceBus has been trending on Twitter all morning, with people congratulating Dlanga and Sisulu for taking action instead of talking about it on social media (as we tend to do).

Dlanga, whose latest book To Quote Myself was recently published, explains why they decided to do something:

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EWN also interviewed Dlanga and Sisulu, as well as their fellow activists on the Peace Bus. Read the short article, and watch the video clip:

Both Dlanga and Sisulu say their instincts refuse to allow them to keep quiet about the brutality on fellow Africans.

 

Follow #PeaceBus and #No2Xenophobia on Twitter to keep updated:


 

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Greg Mills: African Heads of States’ Recommitment to the SADC Does Not Fix Everything

Why States Recover“All is now fixed. Or is it? Don’t hold your breath. While always willing to rhetorically commit and sign on the dotted line, leaders less enjoy walking the talk, not least as it involves difficult choices, undoing vested interests and actually doing stuff,” Greg Mills writes in an article about African heads of states’ recent recommitment made to The Southern African Development Community (SADC), an inter-governmental organisation headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana.

Mills, author of Why States Recover: Changing Walking Societies into Winning Nations – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, explains his scepticism and compares the SADC to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), using examples from Singapore and Indonesia.

Read the article:

WHAT do Gary Player, Singapore, Indonesia, regional integration and diplomacy have in common?

Jobs. African countries love talking about regional integration. There are bodies, communities, common markets, summits, customs unions and master plans. Only last month the 15 heads of state of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) renewed their commitment to the Sadc Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan.

All is now fixed. Or is it?

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Victor Kgomoeswana at TEDxSoweto 2014: You Won’t Know About Africa if You Don’t Explore

Victor Kgomoeswana | TEDxSoweto 2014

 
Africa Is Open For BusinessVictor Kgomoeswana, author of Africa Is Open For Business, spoke at TEDxSoweto 2014.

The topic of his talk was that of his book: the potential for business in Africa. He said that in order to be able to grasp firmly at the opportunities that abound in Africa, Africans need to change the way they think about their continent. The only way to do this, he said, is to cast off fear and explore it.

Read the article:

“Despite terrorism, disease plaguing Africa, Nigerians are making their own smartphones and versions of the iPad,” he adds. “The only way can begin to take advantage of business in Africa is to change how we see Africa, change the way we think about Africa… And finally, change the way we behave when we go to other African countries. Don’t be afraid of reports about widespread disease, you won’t know about Africa if you don’t explore.”

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Excerpt: Victor Kgomoeswana Demonstrates the Downsides and Upsides of South Africa in Africa Is Open For Business

Africa Is Open For BusinessVictor Kgomoeswana is a business expert who is well known for looking beyond the headlines about the business world in Africa. In Africa Is Open For Business, he has collected 50 stories about interesting businesses in Africa.

In the excerpt below, Kgomoeswana looks closely at the idea of South Africa being the gateway to Africa. He looks at the downsides and well as the upsides of the country, and links this to immigration and South Africa’s recent problems with xenophobia.

Read the excerpt:

* * * * * * * *

SOUTH AFRICA – THE GATEWAY TO AFRICA

I wrote this chapter under the influence. The day was Tuesday and Johannesburg was drenched in showers. A record 100-odd heads of state were congregated at the FNB Stadium to pay homage to the founding father of my country, fondly known as Madiba. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela had passed away five days before, and the world was united in remembering the multitude of virtues he symbolised.

I recall watching the broadcast, and hearing US President Barack Obama crediting his yearning to be a better man to Madiba. President Manmohan Singh and Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations were but few of the many speakers who all shared their grief with South Africa, while celebrating the icon of justice, peace and reconciliation.

The magnitude of the event reminded me how significant South Africa had been, politically, in the build-up to independence in April 1994 and afterwards. I recalled how, as the first democratically elected president, Madiba became the epitome of African excellence and hope. For his ability to prevail over adversity with grace and resolve, he joined the elite league of revered African leaders like Julius Kambarage Nyerere of Tanzania, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. So, yes, I wrote this chapter under the influence of the grief that had gripped South Africa and the world in the second week of December 2013.

The BBC invited me for a radio interview to reflect on the economic legacy of Madiba on Friday – the day after his death. I found the very thought of inviting me to talk awkward, but the reflection profound and realistic in a useful way. What did Madiba bequeath to South Africa’s economy? As others were ululating and singing his praises, was the country’s economic trajectory doing justice to his legacy?

SOUTH AFRICA – THE DOWNSIDE

The education system was making headlines for slip-ups such as the failure to deliver textbooks in time for some schools in Limpopo province, where I come from. Although Limpopo is but one out of nine provinces in South Africa, it was indicative of the problems in the entire country’s education system. The country’s universities – for example, Fort Hare, Cape Town and Wits – used to be the preferred institutions of higher learning, attracting students from many African countries, but are likely to lose their appeal if this is not corrected soon.

In 2012, according to the United Nations, although South Africa was spending 18% of its total government expenditure on education, its literacy rate of 89% was lagging behind that of other developing countries, such as Indonesia and Chile. These two countries were spending the same proportion, with literacy rates of 92% and 98.6% respectively. The rate did not compare favourably with South Africa’s BRICS counterparts, whose literacy rate averaged 90% (Brazil), 93.7% (China) and 99.5% (Russia) after spending only 10%. Without education, no country can lift itself to the next level in terms of development.

Although many good government policies were in place, their implementation did not always match the intent. The Constitution of South Africa, particularly Chapter 2 (Bill of Rights), guarantees basic human rights. However, the rape of six-week old children without evidence of successful prosecutions, for example, does not give hope to citizens and the world. Corruption makes headlines far too often, and involves high-ranking government officials without commensurate follow-up and punishment.

At 41 in the 2014 World Bank Ease of Doing Business report, South Africa’s ranking remained unchanged from the previous year. But the country dropped eight places in sub-indicators such as ‘starting a business’, one place in ‘dealing with construction permits’ and four places for both ‘getting credit’ and ‘registering property’. These are not good areas in which to register deterioration in the eyes of investors.

Lastly, with the country’s economy growing at around 2% and without any marked rise in job creation, we could safely say that South Africa needs to up its game. There are many areas of the country that are worth celebrating, though. But before that, we need to tackle the other elephant in the room.

XENOPHOBIA – OR IS IT AFRO-PHOBIA?

Whenever violence flares up in some of South Africa’s poorer overcrowded settlements and reports of xenophobia blot our media, I hang my head in shame. This is more shameful when I travel to another African country wearing South African colours. I find myself fielding questions about how we could be so inhuman towards other Africans.

At the rate Africans from elsewhere on the continent migrate towards South Africa in search of opportunities, things are not looking up. I would also migrate to South Africa if I had been born in some parts of Africa. That is a natural human instinct – to search for better prospects if they are not available where one happens to be. I then put myself in the shoes of those South Africans without opportunities, for reasons such as education, or the country’s political history.

Personal economic depression does not make torching a fellow human being, let alone an African, inexcusable, but I often wonder where the solution lies. Immigration control is a problem all over the world. South Africa is not coping with its own socio-economic complications. Its economic growth is not creating enough jobs to support the many South Africans without marketable skills. With growing inequalities and no promise of a better tomorrow, those of us privileged South Africans should make the elimination of Afro-phobic attacks our priority. We should do this by taking individual responsibility to create a better life for those less fortunate than we are. We need to do this by using our social standing and better income to improve the quality of life for our families (especially extended families) and create a sustainable way of life for others.

The government is not going to be able to do it alone. Developed societies of the world are not better off because of governments. They are effective because they cherish active citizenship, including holding their governments accountable. Alongside that, however, are ordinary citizens who accept responsibility for making things happen. It is no different in South Africa.

SOUTH AFRICA – THE UPSIDE

Good news abounds in South Africa. First of all, the infrastructure is world class in certain areas. For example, the high-speed train connecting certain parts of the Gauteng province is as good as you can find anywhere in the world. Even if the service is not necessarily the most affordable, it is still one commendable piece of pioneering work for Africa and the world to emulate.

The roads, highways in particular, are the best in Africa. Innovative services such as the Bus Rapid Transit system in parts of the country’s major centres are indicative of how – compared to the rest of the continent – South Africa is streaks ahead. Getting around the country is relatively easier than in most African countries.

South African airports are outstanding. I do not particularly feel any different landing at OR Tambo International or Heathrow. Other than size, the level of sophistication, safety checks and general aviation ambiance are on par with the best in the world. This state of the aviation industry makes South Africa the logical and safe option for anyone coming to Africa for the first time; more so when South African Airways has been voted Africa’s best airline, in the customer survey by SKYTRAX – a global aviation research organisation – for ten years in a row, up to 2012.

The attractive tourism industry is booming (page 266). The long coastline, biodiversity, sunny climate and cultural variety are among the country’s major selling points. Hotels in the country are at the level one would expect in Africa’s leading economy. Compared to other emerging markets, the biggest test of South Africa’s tourism potential was the 2010 FIFA World Cup (page 263), but before that, there had been other events that cast this small African country in a very positive light. Take the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, for example; or the BRICS Summit in Durban ten years later. In between, there were also the All Africa Games, the African Cup of Nations twice – 1996 and 2012 – as well as the Rugby World Cup in 1995. Be it leisure, or business and conference tourism, every time South Africa has had a chance to host a major event it came up trumps.

Then there is the financial reporting excellence. The country is top in the world, and I have had the benefit of working for two of the Big Four audit firms. Even smaller firms such as Nkonki Inc. and SizweNtsalubaGobodo are highly competitive in their trade. Nkonki Inc., for instance, hosts the Annual Audit Committee Conference and recognises excellence in sustainability reporting. The CEO has published a great book (The ACE Model) on the effectiveness of audit committees in 2013.

Over and above that, the South African banking system sailed through the rough seas of the 2008/9 global financial crisis without any major incident, attesting to the financial stability of its banking system.

Top that up with South Africa’s reliable legal system backed by a good constitution. Most individuals and companies would prefer to litigate in South Africa than anywhere else on the continent. The constitution also opened the way for women to assume positions of leadership in both the public and private sectors, achieving the highest levels of representation in parliament – matched only by Rwanda.

The same can be said for the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, JSE, (page 51). Given a choice, most investors and entrepreneurs would rather list their company on the JSE than anywhere else on the continent. This should be expected, since the 2014 World Bank Ease of Doing Business report ranks the country at 10 out 189 for protecting investors.

South African companies like Shoprite, Tiger Brands, SAB, Standard Bank and MTN are among the trailblazers elsewhere on the continent, matching multinationals from other parts of the world on competitiveness and capitalising on their Africanness to drive Africa’s economic renaissance. State-owned development finance institutions, including the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) are also making investment inroads north of the South African border. My enduring disappointment – and that of most business leaders I meet on the continent – is why more South African enterprises aren’t taking advantage of what Africa has to offer in growth.

Post-1994, South Africa also played a crucial role in improving stability and democracy in other parts of the continent, including Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan (and South Sudan) and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Anyone who appreciates the significance of these countries to the general peace and stability of the continent will appreciate how vital South Africa’s interventions are to the long-term sustainability of democracy in Africa.

Former president, Thabo Mbeki, is a well-respected thinker on African matters. His presidency intensified South Africa’s seniority in advancing the cause of the African Union, as well as its predecessor the Organisation of African Unity. It is not surprising that he continues to take part in facilitating dialogue to bring about lasting African solutions to African problems.

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Podcast: Babongile Zulu Chats About the New Picador Africa Classics Series

Babongile Zulu spoke to Power FM about the new Picador Africa Classics series, which celebrates 10 years of publishing local and African literature in South Africa as well as honouring Phaswane Mpe in the 10th anniversary of his passing.

When a Man CriesI Speak to the SilentWellcome to Our HillbrowSmall ThingsBrooding Clouds

The 13 titles selected to be released as ebooks are time-honoured African works that are not readily available in print or in digital form.

Zulu, assistant editor of Picador Africa Classics, spoke about the motivation for the project and the specific titles that were selected, which include Mpe’s Welcome to Our Hillbrow and The Brooding Clouds.

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