Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Pan Macmillan

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Centre for Conflict Resolution public dialogue to launch Andrew Harding’s The Mayor of Mogadishu

The Mayor of Mogadishu: A Story of Chaos and Redemption in the Ruins of SomaliaThe Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, is holding a public dialogue to launch The Mayor of Mogadishu: A Story of Chaos and Redemption in the Ruins of Somalia by Andrew Harding.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, 19 October, at 6 Spin Street, from 5:30 to 7 PM.

Harding, one of the BBC’s most experienced foreign correspondents, will address the meeting. Abdikadir Khalif Mohamed, Western Cape Director of the Somali Association of South Africa (SASA), will act as discussant. Professor Shamil Jeppie, Director and Associate Professor of History, Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA), University of Cape Town, will chair the meeting.

In The Mayor of Mogadishu, Harding reveals the tumultuous life of Mohamud “Tarzan” Nur, an impoverished nomad who was abandoned in a state orphanage in newly independent Somalia and became a street brawler and activist. When the country collapsed into civil war and anarchy, Tarzan and his young family became part of an exodus, eventually spending 20 years in north London. In 2010 Tarzan returned, as mayor, to the unrecognisable ruins of a city now almost entirely controlled by the Islamist militants of Al Shabab. For some in Mogadishu, he was a divisive thug who sank beneath the corruption and clan rivalries that continue to threaten the country’s revival. But for others, both locally and in the diaspora, Tarzan became a galvanising symbol of courage and hope for Somalia. The Mayor of Mogadishu is a rare insider’s account of Somalia’s unravelling and an intimate portrayal of one family’s extraordinary journey.

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 19 October 2016
  • Time: 5:30 to 7:00 PM
  • Venue: 6 Spin Street
    Church Square
    Cape Town | Map
  • Chair: Professor Shamil Jeppie
  • Discussant: Abdikadir Khalif Mohamed
  • RSVP: Nombulelo Mthimkhulu, CCR, nmthimkhulu@ccr.org.za

Book Details


» read article

The Mayor of Mogadishu: What you get when African cliche is dropped

Keith Somerville, University of Kent

The Mayor of Mogadishu

News reporting is always shaped by a considerable amount of tension. How do you strike the balance between hooking the audience with the sensational while supplying sufficient detail and context for an informed understanding of the events being reported?

This tension is most apparent when dealing with complex issues set in environments geographically distant from your audience. Reporting Africa to the world has been shaped by this tension. It has also been shaped by frames that can replicate colonial prejudices, Cold War stereotypes or project images of “otherness”.

This is captured in Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century: From Heart of Darkness to Africa Rising, a new volume by Mel Bunce, Suzanne Franks and Chris Paterson.

In their fascinating and informative new study of Africa’s media image, the trio relate how journalists have to fight to get stories from Nigeria and other key states into the news as areas worthy of reporting in their own right and not just when there was “trouble” there.

They quote the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who says that if …

all I knew about Africa were from popular images, I too would think that Africa was a place of beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals, and incomprehensible people, fighting senseless wars, dying of poverty and AIDS, unable to speak for themselves and waiting to be saved by a kind, white foreigner.

Somalia is Black Hawk Down

If there is one country that could sum up this, it is Somalia. Decades of war, civil dislocation, poverty, hunger and disease have been the stock-in-trade of Western reporting. Given the country’s history this is not altogether surprising. It has been almost constantly at war since the uprisings in the late 1980s that overthrew the dictator Siad Barre.

The dictator’s departure led to the fragmentation of a highly centralised system of government, the growth of clan-based militias and the rise of Islamist movements. This in turn drew the hostility of neighbours and the US.

For many in the West reliant on sporadic but sensationalist media coverage, Somalia is Black Hawk Down. Added to that is a dash of piracy, stick-thin children starved by rapacious warlords and saved only by Western aid or intervention. Until, of course, that intervention went horribly wrong.

Harding’s grasp for the detail

There are elements of these themes but, fortunately, a lot more to be found in the intriguing new work, The Mayor of Mogadishu by Andrew Harding. There is detail, nuance, context and first-hand experience in this account by the well-travelled BBC foreign correspondent.

At times, it reads like a series of dispatches. While this may make it a little disjointed, it imbues the story with the sense of being there and knowing what is important to report or describe.

Harding is very well aware of the danger of stereotypes. He warns at the start that the name Mogadishu seems “forbidding” and has in the media

become a bloated cliché, not just of war but of famine and piracy, terrorism, warlords, anarchy, exodus … All the worst headlines of our time invoked by one lilting, gently poetic, four-syllable word.

Harding peoples the city and brings it alive as a place where lives are lived, ambitions followed, family dramas played out and stories told. As he points out, some stories are exaggerated for effect or to inflate the egos of the tellers or flatter their subjects. The central character is Mohamud “Tarzan” Nur – the Mayor of Mogadishu.

There are many and often conflicting stories of a man whose image to fellow Somalis is equally complex. He is hated or despised by some, loved and admired by others. Among his stories is the one about escaping a school dormitory to hang from the branches of a tree, earning himself the nickname Tarzan.

Mohamud Nur is a man of passion, of drive, of ruthlessness. His language is colourful and, in a passage where Harding comes perilously close to Somali stereotyping, can sound “like a gunfight in a sandstorm”.

Siad Barre gets off lightly

The author is surprisingly forgiving of the Somali dictator Siad Barre. He says that history has not been kind to him. Should it have been? A man who overthrew an elected government and switched sides in the Cold War to maximise his accumulation of weaponry. These weapons were used to pursue violent irredentist campaigns and to suppress brutally any vestige of opposition. On the pretext of ending clan conflict, this man used force and coercion against clans and their leaders. All these while single-mindedly pursuing advantage for his own Marehan clan, which is part of the wider Darod clan system.

The Marehan dominance eventually, as Harding does go on to describe, led to revolt and a high degree of polarisation back into clans by the majority that were excluded from power and influence.

Later in the book, clear analysis and context are more assured with the description of the US’s “coldly logical” but totally misinformed conclusions about the situation in Somalia. This led to US funding for warlords out of a 9/11 generated fear of the Somali Islamic Courts Union, which was succeeding in ending conflict and bringing stability to Mogadishu.

Washington encouraged Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia and destruction of the Islamic Courts Union. This led to its militia, the Al Shabaab, becoming the dominant and destructive Islamist force it remains today.

The contemporary part of the story and continuing vicissitudes are again viewed through the eyes of Nur, his wife and friends. This gives a personal and very human touch to the whole narrative while not losing sight of complex national and international dimensions.

This ability to both tell stories with impact and grasp the impact of a multiplicity of factors emerges from the Bunce, Franks and Paterson volume as the key factor in getting the media to portray more accurate, informed and less stereotypical accounts of events in African states.

The Conversation

Keith Somerville, Visiting Professor, University of Kent

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Book details


» read article

An insider’s account of Somalia’s unravelling: The Mayor of Mogadishu by Andrew Harding

The Mayor of MogadishuPan Macmillan is proud to present The Mayor of Mogadishu: A Story of Chaos and Redemption in the Ruins of Somalia by Andrew Harding – an epic, uplifting story of one family’s journey through the violent unravelling of Somalia, and a timely exploration of what it means to lose your country and then to reclaim it:

In The Mayor of Mogadishu, Harding, one of the BBC’s most experienced foreign correspondents, reveals the tumultuous life of Mohamud “Tarzan” Nur – an impoverished nomad who was abandoned in a state orphanage in newly independent Somalia and became a street brawler and activist. When the country collapsed into civil war and anarchy, Tarzan and his young family became part of an exodus, eventually spending 20 years in north London.

In 2010 Tarzan returned, as mayor, to the unrecognisable ruins of a city now almost entirely controlled by the Islamist militants of Al Shabab. For some in Mogadishu, he was a divisive thug who sank beneath the corruption and clan rivalries that continue to threaten the country’s revival. But for others, both locally and in the diaspora, Tarzan became a galvanising symbol of courage and hope for Somalia.

The Mayor of Mogadishu is a rare an insider’s account of Somalia’s unravelling and an intimate portrayal of one family’s extraordinary journey.

It is easy to gawk at the tragedy of Somalia; assuming an attitude of sensationalised disbelief. Andrew Harding refuses to do this. Instead he offers a wry, sceptical story. Part fable, part journalistic account, Harding’s tale brims with sympathy and admiration for the human capacity for survival. The Mayor of Mogadishu is a great big gorgeous read.

- Sisonke Msimang, columnist and writer

One of Africa’s most experienced correspondents zeroes in on one of the most intriguing characters in the extraordinary post-apocalyptic world of modern Mogadishu. Like the city and its mayor, Harding brings depth, clarity, nuance and occasional poetry to his story. Rich, epic and important.

- Alex Perry, author of The Rift: A New Africa Breaks Free

Andrew Harding’s elegantly written account is much more than a portrait of the Mayor of Mogadishu. In bold, vivid brush-strokes it captures all the charm, colour, contradiction and menace of contemporary Somalia.

- Michela Wrong, author of Borderlines

Africa can be explained in dry prose, in figures, in newspaper reports; or it can be explained, as Andrew Harding does in this book, through an astonishing personal story, vivid and utterly memorable.

- Alexander McCall Smith

About the author

Andrew Harding has been living and working abroad, as a foreign correspondent, for the past 25 years, in Russia, the Caucasus, Asia and Africa. He has been visiting Somalia since 2000. His television and radio reports for BBC News have won him international recognition, including an Emmy, an award from Britain’s Foreign Press Association, and other awards in France, the United States and Hong Kong. He currently lives in Johannesburg with his family.

Book details


» read article

The God Who Made Mistakes – the powerful, poignant new novel from Ekow Duker

The God Who Made MistakesPresenting The God Who Made Mistakes, the third novel by Ekow Duker:

Behind the closed doors of their suburban Johannesburg home, Themba and Ayanda Hlatshwayo, both legal professionals, are beset by deep tensions that claw with relentless intensity at the polished facade of their lives. Ayanda seeks solace in dance classes, while Themba is increasingly drawn to the male companionship he finds at a book club.

With wit and sympathy, The God Who Made Mistakes explores the origins of Themba’s unease and confused sense of identity. It takes us back to a river bank in Alex, the township where he grew up, and to a boy he once knew who met a violent death there. As the story peels back the painful layers of recollection, Themba’s domineering mother, Differentia, has a major decision to make. When developers set their sights on buying the family home and building a supermarket in its place, tendrils of envy and greed begin to curl out of unexpected quarters, as the unscrupulous seek to grab a share of the spoils.

Backyard tenant Tinyiko, with her short skirts and questionable morality, and Themba’s disgraced, unemployed elder brother, Bongani, begin to plot and scheme, while across town Themba’s fragile marriage faces its biggest challenge. When his past walks unexpectedly into his present, it threatens to blow apart his carefully constructed world.

The God Who Made Mistakes is a powerful, poignant story of unexpressed longings which, when finally uttered, can no longer be contained.

About the author

Oil field engineer turned banker turned writer Ekow Duker was educated in Ghana, the United Kingdom, the United States and France. His time in the oil industry took him to the harsh expanses of the Sahara desert and the fetid swamps of the Niger delta, with lengthy stopovers in several countries in between. Since leaving the oil field, Duker has worked mainly as a corporate strategist and in banking, roles that, at their core, are really all about storytelling. Duker lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Duker’s previous novels are White Wahala and Dying in New York:

White WahalaDying in New York

Book details


» read article

Pan Macmillan to represent Cassava Republic Press in South Africa

Season of Crimson BlossomsBorn on a TuesdayThe Lazarus Effectnullnull
nullnullnullnull

 
Pan Macmillan is delighted to announce that as of July 2016 the company will represent Cassava Republic Press in South Africa.

Cassava Republic Press is a leading African publishing house and their list comprises an eclectic selection of quality literary fiction, non-fiction, crime, young adult fiction, children’s books and romantic fiction under the Ankara Press imprint. The publisher aims to spotlight the vibrancy and diversity of prose by African writers on the continent and in the Diaspora.

Their 2016 fiction list includes Elnathan John’s breathtakingly beautiful Born on a Tuesday which tackles unexplored aspects of friendship, love, trauma and politics in recent Northern Nigerian history; Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s mesmerising Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, a subtle story about ageing, friendship and loss and the erotic yearnings of an older woman; the crime novel Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s Season of Crimson Blossoms, a controversial and gripping story of an affair between a devoted Muslim grandmother and a 25-year-old drug dealer and political thug.

Cassava Republic Press has headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria with a second base in London. Since its founding 10 years ago in Nigeria, it has become a dynamic and truly international publishing house that Pan Macmillan is proud to represent.

Related links:

 

Book details


» read article

Pan Macmillan South Africa acquires first book by Trevor Noah

null

 
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

Image: Supplied


» read article

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:

 

Book details


» read article

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.

Ends

Also read:

Book details

Image courtesy of nnedi.com


» read article

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.

Book details


» read article

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:


 

Book details


» read article