The Council of the University of Johannesburg, annually bestow the Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award to individuals who, in the estimation of the Council, demonstrates sustained and exceptional contributions beyond the confines of teaching and research over an extended period of time to the promotion of the well-being of the University or the well-being of society in a manner that are aligned to the University’s vision, mission, core values and strategic goals and with which the Institution is proud to be associated.
Naidoo received the award in absentia but his response was filmed by the University of Johannesburg. In the video, shared on Naidoo’s website, he says that he got up every day wanting to make a difference, with the specific focus on alleviating poverty. He is particularly grateful for this award because “Ma Ellen”, as he calls her, and his mother, inspired him “through their service, spirituality and dedication”.
Naidoo says, “I think Ellen Kuzwayo is really a hero of our story, of our political narrative…there’s so much political arrogance out there that we’ve forgotten what we fought for and why we fought.”
Professor Valiant Clapper, acting CEO and Executive Director of the SBL, said that Chikane “embodies the principles of honesty, loyalty, transparency and ethics”. Chikane offered advice to the delegates attending the upcoming ANC conference in Manguang, urging them to vote based on who will be able to better the situation in South Africa and not based on who would offer them tenders:
Struggle veteran Reverend Dr Frank Chikane was presented with the Leadership in Practice Award at a prestigious dinner in Midrand last Thursday.
“Don’t vote for factions, vote for leaders that will take this country forward.” That is what the Reverend Dr Frank Chikane would say to delegates going to the ANC conference in Mangaung.
If he had a chance, Chikane would urged delegates to vote for a leadership that will move the country from the present crisis to a better South Africa; and not to vote based on who will give them a ministerial post or a tender.
Anele Mdoda, author of The Youngsters series title It Feels Wrong to Laugh, But…., has been awarded the Women in The Media’s Rising Star Award at this year’s 1st for Women Insurance Company Women of the Decade in The Media awards. The CEO of Primedia Broadcasting, Terry Volkwyn, was named the Woman of the Decade in Media.
Mdoda is one of the few women on South African radio to host a prime time slot which she maintains at 94.7 Highveld Stereo.
In the words of Nikiwe Bikitsha, she has “chutzpah, spunk and savvy. She is hell of a funny, loud and abrasive” and you can’t miss her because her big personality simply radiates out from her in waves.
Bikitsha, who is a past recipient of the Women in The Media Rising Star award, was paying homage to this year’s winner, Anele Mdoda, at the 1st for Women Insurance Company Women of the Decade in The Media awards.
The 94.7 Highveld Stereo DJ, says Bikitsha, has “worked hard to become an overnight success” and is one of the few women in South Africa at the helm of a drivetime slot, as well as being a writer and television presenter too.
Craig Higginson is the Literary Manager of the Market Theatre in Johannesburg and teaches creative writing at the University of the Witwatersrand. In February 2010, Craig’s novel Last Summer was released to critical and popular acclaim, followed by the release of The Landscape Painter in March 2011. Higginson is also well known as a playwright. The Girl in the Yellow Dress has had sold-out seasons at the Grahamstown Arts Festival, the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town and the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. His first play, Dream of the Dog, appeared at the Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End in a sold-out production featuring Janet Suzman.
Description of The Landscape Painter:
It is winter in London in 1947. When Arthur Bailey, an elderly painter who lives alone, catches sight of a young woman, Felicity, about to move into the neighbouring bed-sit, he is stirred to recall in haunting detail a long-suppressed narrative.
The Landscape Painter is a double tale of obsession, betrayed trust and irrepressible hope, which emerges as Arthur’s story unfolds. As a young, brilliant landscape painter he travelled to South Africa in 1898 in pursuit of his best friend’s sister, the beautiful and mysterious Carwyn Hamilton. Carwyn’s subsequent shocking betrayal led Arthur down a dark path of humiliation and haunted him for the next fifty years.
As Arthur delves ever deeper into his most intimate thoughts and desires, the past and present come together in a series of surprising turns and parallels and we meet a range of memorable characters – from the malevolent German governess, Miss Klimt, to Carwyn’s flirtatious and increasingly senile grandmother, Mutti. Finally, Arthur is forced to confront Felicity with the irreducible damage done to him.
From the gold-crazed streets of early Johannesburg to the epic battlefields of the Anglo-Boer War, and the austerity of post-Second World War Britain, The Landscape Painter is a spectacular historical novel packed with wit and insight and crafted in Higginson’s lyrical and sinuous but surgical prose.
“Craig Higginson is one of the most exciting and talented younger writers in the country, bringing with him a remarkable blend of free-ranging imagination and superlative narrative control. His sense of time and place is stunning and with his story-telling sleight of hand he is set to conquer the world of fiction.” – Andre Brink
Mandy Wiener is an Eyewitness News journalist. She joins a prestigious group of six South African authors shortlisted for the non-fiction Alan Paton Award. To date over 66 000 copies of her debut release have been sold across all editions.
In September 2005 Brett Kebble, a prominent South African mining magnate, was killed on a quiet suburban street in Johannesburg in an apparent ‘assisted suicide’. The top-level investigation that followed was a tipping point for democratic South Africa. It exposed the corrupt relationship between South Africa’s Chief of Police, Interpol President Jackie Selebi and his friend, Glenn Agliotti, and revealed an underworld dominated by drug lords, steroid-fuelled bouncers, hit men for hire, an international smuggling syndicate, a dubious security unit moonlighting for the police and sinister self-serving sleuths abusing state agencies.
Indemnified by an agreement struck with the state, Mikey Schultz, Nigel McGurk and Fiazal ‘Kappie’ Smith come clean to Mandy Wiener in exclusive interviews about the chilling events leading up to the night Kebble was shot dead and the life paths of the ‘bungling assassins’. Glenn Agliotti, the man once accused of orchestrating the hit, has also provided Wiener with unlimited access to his story, as have other characters whose versions of the events are previously untold.
‘To be shortlisted as a first-time author for such a prestigious award is a tremendous accolade and one that I am extremely grateful for – particularly in a year that features such strong titles and esteemed writers. I’ve been so overwhelmed by the success of Killing Kebble and a shortlisting is a fabulous crowning for what has already been a pretty wild ride since it was released.’ – Mandy Wiener
‘Pan Macmillan is delighted to see Killing Kebble on the shortlist for the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. It is welcome recognition for an extraordinary debut that was South Africa’s top-selling non-fiction title in 2011.’ – Andrea Nattrass, Publisher at Pan Macmillan South Africa
Pan Macmillan South Africa is pleased to unveil the 2011 Citizen Book Prize longlist. The Citizen Book Prize is the only South African literary award voted for by the people. The winner gets R 10 000 from the Citizen and, either publication by Pan Macmillan SA or a spot on a top SA creative writing course.
We’ve been through the longlist for the prize with a fine-toothed comb. We carefully evaluated each entry’s synopsis as well as accompanying chapters. Based on our criteria, and due to the high standard that we believe the Citizen Book Prize should maintain, it has been decided only to shortlist 10 synopses. This is to ensure that the winning entry, which could be published by Pan Macmillan in either digital or print form, is on a par with the quality of all Pan Macmillan’s titles.
Vote for your favourite synopsis using the poll below. Voting ends 31 August at midnight, and the results will be announced shortly thereafter. Please only vote once. Getting your granny, all your cousins and anyone who’ll accept a bribe to log on will not ultimately make a difference – the judges’ choice is final. Helping them accurately gauge the response to each title is far more valuable.
Without further ado, here are the synopses:
The Nocturnal Life Of Mrs Smithby Mbonisi P Ncube
SENIOR detective Miles Ncube and his rookie partner, Morrison, have a mind boggling case on their hands.
A serial killer stalks the dark streets of Bulawayo at night.
He has killed three women, all prostitutes, and his modus operandi is bizarre – the killer ritually stuffs his victims with odd numbered pages from books he leaves lying on their bodies after killing them. He leaves no other clues at his crime scenes.
Morrison and Ncube begin a tedious investigation, searching for the murderer, code-named the Page Killer.
They know that it is not a case of if someone will get killed, but rather when the killer will pounce on his next victim. But the Page Killer is always a step ahead of them.
Cunning, efficient and intelligent, and driven by revenge, the killer will not stop until his hunger to kill is sated, and until the ultimate number of his victims is reached.
~ ~ ~
Deadlineby James-Brent Styan
JOSHUA Botha is a journalist at one of the biggest daily newspapers in Joburg.
While researching an article on a major energy consortium in South Africa, he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens to derail the fragile democracy that is post-apartheid South Africa.
The job is complicated and dangerous, but Botha follows the trail as it leads him from the underbelly of the city’s criminal world to the glamorous Sandton headquarters of the powerful corporations that sit behind the thugs Botha uncovers along the way.
A deadly assault under the streets of the City of Gold and a massive ambush on the mine dumps that line its horizon leads to a final climax in the streets of Africa’s most dynamic city.
Along the way, Botha learns that trust is not to be given or received cheaply.
His decisions may well cost his life or those of the ones he loves.
~ ~ ~
Open Roads, Hidden Storiesby Vivienne Fouché
AS young adults embark on personal quests for pastures greener, so the cities of the world become their melting pots, and their nomadic tales unfold. In Open Roads, Hidden Stories, the heroine is presented as being young and responsible. She has been working and saving money, but in the process she has – young as she is – lost sight of her original dreams and her sense of self.
With the relative freedom that a small nest egg can bring, her personal odyssey takes her on a whim from Joburg to London, joining two friends who are about to embark on an overseas work-and-travel adventure before they settle down to the business of being adults. Having joined them, however, she realises that she needs to walk her own path to come to grips with some issues lurking in her subconscious. Her journey alone takes her to Scotland, Rome, Greece, a few other places – and eventually back again. Love steps in, as love will do. And then it steps back out. The question is: who is she when it retreats and what lessons have been learned? Having returned to Joburg and a life of new responsibilities, she has just about resigned herself to having her travelling days done and dusted, when she decides – on another whim – to take some leave and head off to Cape Town for a short break. It’s to be a journey that is much shorter than her previous trip, but even more significant emotionally and spiritually, as she finally comes to grips with the last few issues she’s been wrestling with and closes the circles of self-discovery.
Written for a young-at-heart reader, this book targets those who have travelled, those who want to travel and those who are happy to stay on their couch and share the emotional journeys of others.
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The Great Agony And Pure Laughter Of The Godsby Jamala Safari
IT seemed that just yesterday Bukavu was paradise, with its splendid natural beauty and streets with happy smiling faces. But everything changed in the Congolese civil war in 1994. Death became a daily reality.
Ristos, 15, and Néné, 13, were abducted by a foreign militia operating in the villages around Bukavu in South Kivu, DR Congo.
Néné became a sex slave of a militia soldier, while Ristos hardened his heart in order to stay alive. He had to kill in cold blood; it was the rule of the forest, imposed by militia and reinforced by a need for survival. After an almost fatal beating, Ristos found himself back in the streets of Bukavu. His dark past haunted him. His only option was to leave the country. In an epic odyssey, he left the Congo for Tanzania and then travelled from Tanzania to Mozambique. Ristos proved to be a courageous soul, a man of change. But the dream of becoming a farmer was cut short by an United Nations interview, which questioned his right to refugee status. Ristos returned to the Congo, half dead, lost in the hallucinatory world of cerebral malaria. But the last reason for his return was an ancestral inheritance that glued hearts with an everlasting love, and which had been left in his hand by the shy girl Néné, who had been unable to speak the language of her heart.
~ ~ ~
The Ice Queenby Norman Acton
WITH the death of his wife two years ago and his daughter leaving home shortly after, Peter’s life is fraught with unhappiness.
Then, when his brother Karl is murdered, Peter is drawn into the world of crime and intrigue. Peter follows clue after clue to find his brother’s killer. A reference to a Cape dresser (a piece of furniture) leads Peter to attend an auction where he meets another of Karl’s associates, Winston-Smith, an upper- class gentleman. But there’s something not quite right about the bidding on the Cape dresser, as it attracts more attention than it deserves. Peter accepts an invitation to Winston-Smith’s house where he meets the man who purchased the piece.
Why does he seem frightened when he learns that Peter is Karl Hogan’s brother?
Peter begins to unravel a series of events all pointing to a gang operating from South Africa, who are searching for a missing diamond called “the Ice Queen”. And in the background, watching Peter’s every move, is the dogged Inspector Murray. Peter, together with his daughter, travels to South Africa and stay at the farm of an old family friend. There, he learns that Karl had visited the farm twice previously, the last visit ending in tragedy for the family. Then the prophecy of a witch doctor comes true when Peter is tricked into returning to the shop and is trapped in the burning building. But it is not Peter who dies in the fire, but one of the leaders of the smuggling ring. Another member of the gang escapes and is hell-bent on revenge.
The English arm of the smuggling ring is still intent on finding the “Ice Queen”. And now Peter has the clue to its whereabouts. In their attempt to retrieve the diamond, the gang drug Peter and kidnap his daughter.
Peter has to use all his skills to thwart the gang’s plans to kill him.
~ ~ ~
The Jewelled Crossby Norman Acton
TIMOTHY White befriends a new boy at school who is teased about the stories he tells about a “magic train” that he says takes him to strange lands and places.
During the school holidays, Timothy stays with his friend and together they travel on the train to one of these lands, meeting odd creatures and animals during their journey.
But Timothy does not conform to the rules set out for travellers on the train and his unconventional behaviour takes them to a land far stranger than they could ever have imagined; a land with no sun and no night.
It’s a land at the centre of the universe, where the forces of good and evil have been finely balanced since the beginning of time.
Timothy seeks help from the guardian of the Great Book of Prophesies, who takes him to the pinnacle of the world and shows him how his actions have upset the balance of power between the forces of good and evil.
Timothy is then given the task of restoring a strange cross to the Divide – the place where the forces meet – to fulfil a prophesy. But before the cross can be returned, Timothy has to find four precious stones missing from each end of the cross. And his only clue to their whereabouts are the words “They can be found everywhere and nowhere”.
Armed only with a stone sword and a magic cloak, Timothy sets off on a journey that takes him across strange lands where he must use all the resources at his disposal to defeat the creatures sent by the Evil One to stop him. And the closer he gets to the Darkness, the weaker his stone sword and the cloak become. Time is not on Timothy’s side, because the Darkness of the Evil One is spreading quickly over the planet. Yet Timothy knows he must not fail, as the fate of a million and more other planets scattered throughout the universe is in his hands.
~ ~ ~
The Munhumutapa Candidateby Mbonisi P Ncube
WHEN an undercover detective is found murdered in his office at night, the only clues that could possibly lead to the killer are found written on the tiled floor next to him – in his own blood. With this message from the other side of the grave, the two detectives arriving at the scene of the crime must try and figure out who the killer is, before he pounces again. But they are not alone…
Another group of rogue agents from the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) also seem intent on getting their hands on the killer, before the police detectives do.
Who is the killer? And what information did the dead man pass on to him? Racing against time, a cat-and-mouse game ensues, and the detectives must use wit and experience to stay on top of their game, and to try and unravel the trail of clues left by the dead man and his assassin. At the same time, they must stay ahead of the omnipresent CIO agents, who will stop at nothing to lay their hands on the fugitive and silence him , before he goes public with a state secret that has been kept hidden from everyone. This information could implicate the President, and suck him into a huge scandal, shaking the political foundations of the country.
~ ~ ~
No Perfect People Allowedby Pamela Moeng
NANDI Mhkize is a junior lecturer in the English department at Wits University in Joburg, South Africa’s largest city.
Her life is turned upside down with the unsolved murder of her taxi owner father, which happens just after her lover takes off for Rwanda and a post at the Kigali Institute. As if the sorrow at losing both her father and lover is not enough, Nandi discovers that she is pregnant. She struggles to accept her pregnancy and is afraid to tell her widowed mother and brothers about the baby’s father – a foreign lecturer at the university who happens to be white.
Raised in Joburg’s southern suburbs, Nandi is typical of South Africa’s current crop of 20-somethings who must find a way to realise their professional ambitions, remain true to their cultural heritage and yet find personal fulfillment in a modern changing world.
Somehow, Nandi must deal with the heartache of her father’s untimely death and the birth of her baby in a society where race still matters.
How she deals with her loss and her unplanned pregnancy is the centre of No Perfect People Allowed.
~ ~ ~
The Real Lindsay Stantonby Joanne Garland
LINDSAY Stanton is a 30-year-old South African substitute English teacher living in London. Her life is unraveling and she is unable to stop it. She has just lost her job and is about to find out that her long-time boyfriend, Josh Blake, is leaving her for no apparent reason. Hylton Heather is Lindsay’s closest friend. He, however, also has his own issues to deal with: he hates his job as a publicist, and his boyfriend Paul is off his rocker, becoming controlling and abusive.
Good-looking Alex Jordin has just immigrated to London from South Africa.
He is slick, a bit too smooth, and on the lookout for vulnerable women. Wanting to help Lindsay through her difficult time, Hylton moves in with her temporarily. They are soon joined by Chelsy Harris, a chef extraordinaire and friend from New York. Together, the trio try to get to the bottom of what has gone wrong in Lindsay’s life.
Desperate and unhappy, Lindsay tries to save her relationship and job. She suffers from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Misinterpreting her closeness to Hylton, Lindsay decides she must be love with him. This development puts pressure on their friendship, and he moves back home.
She is desperate and looking for love, and bumps into Alex, who is, incidentally, an ex-boyfriend from SA. Chelsy warns Lindsay against seeing him again.
Alex and Lindsay go out for dinner and a dark and terrifying memory comes to the surface. Alex drugged and raped her six years ago in South Africa. Lindsay realises that she has been blocking out a terrible memory all this time. She leaves the restaurant unnoticed. Despite being worried about their safety, Chelsy and Lindsay decide it’s best not to call the police. What would they tell them? How could they prove it? At least he doesn’t know where they live.
They research date rape drugs and realise why Alex is so confident and unconcerned.
Understanding how much Josh must have struggled to be with her, Lindsay misses him even more. Her recent issues and behaviour are starting to make sense. Lindsay isn’t sure what to do about Alex – should she report him? She calls Hylton and apologises.
Deciding to find Josh, she hopes it’s not too late to save their relationship. He is the only man she has ever loved. He is in Cape Town, and Lindsay returns home.
She finds a job as a news reporter. She goes for therapy to deal with the rape. Through her work, Lindsay discovers that she was not Alex’s only victim. He is wanted by the South African police. He is arrested in London after a tip-off from Lindsay.
This book touches on sensitive topics and shows how abuse can affect a woman’s life in more ways than immediately come to mind.
~ ~ ~
Centre Pivotby Jon Busser
CRACK soldier JJ and National Intelligence Agency head, Colonel Smith, lead a team of South African National Intelligence field operatives. They learn through intelligence obtained from the CIA that an international crime syndicate plans to use a private game lodge in the Kruger National Park as regional headquarters. They launch an undercover operation to infiltrate the lodge.
JJ and Themba are installed as game rangers. At the Reserve’s Head Office, their contacts are Ryan, the team’s IT expert and Michelle, their operational controller.
Their mission objective is to determine what the crime syndicate is doing in Southern Africa. Months of covert information gathering yields very little tangible intelligence. The surprising breakthrough finally comes when a group of syndicate members visit the lodge and discover the existence of a large commercial farming concession in northern Mozambique. Communication intercepted and analysed with the help of the CIA confirms that the syndicate orchestrate much of the regional criminal underworld and drug trade from the lodge. The data also confirms the Mozambique farm as central to the syndicate’s regional activities.
Once the operatives are safely extracted from the lodge, they plot a reconnaissance mission to northern Mozambique. During their preparations, JJ and Michelle’s relationship deepens. They negotiate with various government officials and obtain permission to launch their next clandestine operation.
JJ, Themba, Michelle and two other field operatives travel to Mozambique to investigate the crime syndicate’s activities. This time, they pretend to be tourists on a scuba diving holiday. They learn that the syndicate extorts refugees and uses them as slave labour to tend crops and work in factories.
They also ascertain that the farm yields a variety of narcotics including cannabis and opium which the syndicate refine in their processing factory. The drugs are packaged and dispatched to neighbouring African countries or shipped internationally. Their clandestine mission is, however, exposed and Michelle and her support team are apprehended. The captured members are interrogated and an elaborate man-hunt ensues in which JJ and Themba are tracked through the wilderness. A rescue mission is launched. JJ forms part of the operation. They forcefully capture most of the syndicate members.
Their success is bittersweet, though, as two of JJ’s team are killed, Themba is seriously hurt and Michelle sexually assaulted. Blinded by anger, JJ tracks down the remaining syndicate kingpin and takes his revenge. After the operation, the remaining team members split and JJ is devastated when he learns from Colonel Smith that Michelle has resigned and emigrated. She leaves clear instructions that she does not wish to see JJ again.
Selected from 126 entries from 17 African countries, the shortlist is once again a reflection of the Caine Prize’s pan-African reach. The winner of the £10,000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday 11 July.
The following Pan Macmillan titles are included in the 2011 Caine Prize shortlist:
Tim Keegan (South Africa) ‘What Molly Knew’ from Bad Company published by Pan Macmillan SA, 2008
Pan Macmillan extends heartiest congratulations to author Mandy Wiener, who was voted as South Africa’s Radio News Journalist of the year at last night’s National Press Awards. The tweets started flowing when the news was announced:
Earlier in March, Wiener was on-set at Cosmopolitan magazine for a #COSqueens shoot, where we sourced the picture above. Serious journalistic brawn and a touch of glam – Mandy Wiener in a nutshell. Congratulations once again!
Wiener also recently featured in the Sunday Times‘ “What I’m Reading” slot – check it out!
With time so short at the moment, I’ve developed an awful habit – reading multiple books simultaneously. I’ve just finished Peter Harris’s Birth, which should be mandatory for anyone born in this country post-1994. It made me realise how we teetered on the brink and came so close to imploding.
The Trust, in partnership with the Mail & Guardian, made the announcement at the Drivers of Change awards evening last night. The awards recognise outstanding organisations and individuals who are innovative in their efforts to eradicate poverty and which prioritise sustainability and partnerships towards this goal.
Naidoo is chair of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). The Drivers of Change judges said, “We applaud Jay Naidoo for making a significant impact towards overcoming poverty and stimulating economic growth. He has always worked closely with poor communities and always affirms that his most important insights come directly from people facing the daily challenges of poverty. Jay Naidoo is a driver of change for driving socio-economic development not only in South Africa but in the whole southern Africa region and beyond. He represents a unique way of being a political leader in partnership with others.”
Pan Macmillan congratulates Naidoo on such well-deserved high-profile recognition!
Pan Macmillan and CitiVibe are delighted to announce the winner of this year’s Citizen Book Prize, held for teen-fiction manuscripts: Justin Germishuys, for his synopsis on his manuscript, The Discoveries of Wispish.
Justin is a 27-year-old bookseller at Exclusive Books Woodlands. His favourite authors are PG Wodehouse and John Steinbeck. Justin says, “I have enjoyed creating things. Sculpting, drawing, inventing amazing contraptions that don’t work, I’ve done them all, but writing is by far my favourite, because in writing everything that I imagine exists. Even dragons.”
He receives R10 000 from The Citizen, and review of his manuscript, with the possibility of publication, by Macmillan South Africa. Congratulations to Justin!
The runner-up this year was Nic Zav for The Altar of the Spirit Thief. Here are the two synopses:
The Discoveries of Wispish by Justin Germishuys
For five hundred years, a family of four dragons has been living in exile in an underground system of caves.
Manvreet, his mate Doris, their son Lester, and Grandpa are all sitting around a rock table when Doris calls Manvreet aside to express her concerns that cave life is stifling Lester’s development. She asks Manvreet to consider returning to the topside world. Manvreet agrees to think about it, but he is afraid of the unknown dangers outside.
The next morning, Manvreet saves an unusual human named William Wispish from drowning in the underground river. William is possibly the only survivor of a team of four cave explorers. Manvreet realises he can find out more about the outside world from this man. So, to Doris’s annoyance, Manvreet decides, in the hopes of establishing a bond and getting information, to take William on a tour of the caves. Lester begs to go along, but when Manvreet denies him, he storms off on his own, blaming William.
On the tour, The Chariot, a box carried by rats, breaks down alongside the underground river. After William has a near-death experience with a catfish, the two males have a snack and William tells Manvreet how the world has changed. Suddenly, a dire rat attacks William, but just before it’s too late, Manvreet rescues him.
That night, a wounded William joins the dragons, excluding Lester, at the Main Chamber for a dinner of dire rats. There he learns some of the story behind the dragons’ exile. He also finds out that, in the morning, because of his wound, he will be staying alone with Doris, who hates him, while Manvreet attends to some chores.
Being alone with Doris is scary, which results in William’s needing to use the dragon’s very large toilet. William almost falls in, but Doris catches him, after which their relationship improves so much that Doris confides in him about her relationship problems with Manvreet. William decides to intervene with cosmetology and dance. The couple reconcile and decide they need time alone, so they cunningly convince Grandpa to take William to the tannery.
During the tannery adventure, William endears himself to the gruff and grouchy Grandpa, loses three priceless jewels, finds evidence that his teammates could still be alive and, most importantly, makes leather pants to replace his pair that was torn when he was attacked by the dire rat.
Later, when everyone is asleep, Lester tries to abduct William but fails. Manvreet insists they go looking for Lester to get an explanation. To William’s surprise, Manvreet abandons him in the middle of nowhere, and Lester finally captures him and takes him to his den. There, William finds Maggie, his teammate, very much alive in Lester’s care.
Manvreet, who secretly followed Lester to his den, eavesdrops and hears Lester explain to William how he doesn’t want to leave the caves. To decide finally if they should stay or go, Manvreet challenges Lester to a showdown. Manvreet wins. They have to leave.
~ ~ ~
The Altar of the Spirit Thief by Nico Zaverdinos
Deep in the heart of Zululand, Sarah Stevenson stumbles across a diamond embedded in a mysterious cave, and thinks she has found the answer to all her problems. But instead she and Bongani Ndladla, who that very same night is orphaned in a freakish attack and with whom she shares a strange magic, are drawn into an age-old and bitter war.
Pursued by a mysterious shape-shifting man who is able to transfigure ordinary people into homicidal zombie-like ghouls, the two teens flee to a ramshackle hotel near Greytown. There they find themselves in the midst of an eccentric group of people calling themselves the Children of Orford. The leader of this motley gang, the amiable Baba Ali, tells them the ancient story of the war being waged, and the part that Bongani and Sarah are to play in it. And he teaches them how to unlock the magic lurking in their bloodlines, while they in turn discover another phenomenon – they literally share each other’s dreams.
But can these people be trusted? Sarah has misgivings and decides they must leave. She drags Bongani off into the night and into immediate danger. They are attacked by a gruesome swarm of tokoloshes, controlled by their erstwhile shape-shifting adversary. Fortunately, Ali and his friends catch wind of the attack and Bongani and Sarah are rescued, and afforded the chance to test their new magic abilities.
Bongani and Sarah are moved to Durban, where they meet up with an expert on the mystery magic, Ignatius Chinsammy – a veteran of the ancient war, now forever fettered to a wheelchair. Ignatius has discovered that the Children of Orford’s mortal enemy is set to uncover an artefact that will grant them absolute supremacy in the war. He sends our two heroes to retrieve it, but they fail in their quest and in the process Sarah realises that her birthright – unlike the pureblood Bongani – is that of the enemy they have been fighting – she is a child of the people she has come to hate. Fleeing her fate, she again places Bongani in peril and it is only through the quick thinking of Ignatius that he is saved.
Danger pursues them southwards and Sarah discovers first-hand how terrifying a perversely possessed mob can be. They are rescued from sure death by a kindly but bumbling police officer – another warrior in the primeval war – who takes them to a farm in Underberg. It is here that they meet the oracle Ouma Shipton, a woman who pervades their shared dreamscape. But battle soon looms and the two are whisked away to the Wild Coast for a final showdown with their adversaries.
In an almighty contest between these two factions, Sarah reconciles herself to the fact that she carries within her the blood of the enemy, and Bongani learns his true destiny. Our heroes fight for their lives to conquer all the terrors that have pursued them across the country. Except one … the shape-shifter is still on their trail.