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Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

New book by Ahmed Kathrada announced: Conversations with a Gentle Soul

Conversations with a Gentle SoulConversations with a Gentle Soul by Ahmed Kathrada, with Sahm Venter, will be published by Picador Africa in February 2017:

Without much fanfare Ahmed Kathrada worked alongside Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and other giants in the struggle to end racial discrimination in South Africa. He faced house arrest and many court trials related to his activism until, finally, a trial for sabotage saw him sentenced to life imprisonment alongside Mandela and six others.

Conversations with a Gentle Soul has its origins in a series of discussions between Kathrada and Sahm Venter about his opinions, encounters and experiences. Throughout his life, Kathrada has refused to hang on to negative emotions such as hatred and bitterness. Instead, he radiates contentment and the openness of a man at peace with himself. His wisdom is packaged within layers of optimism, mischievousness and humour, and he provides insights that are of value to all South Africans.

About the authors

Ahmed Mohamed “Kathy” Kathrada was born on 21 August 1929 in Schweizer-Reneke. He entered politics at the age of 12 when he joined a non-racial youth club in Johannesburg that was run by the Young Communist League.

Kathrada was jailed for the first time at the age of 17 in the Passive Resistance Campaign, for defying a law that discriminated against Indians. In 1952, along with Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and 17 others, Kathrada was sentenced to nine months in prison with hard labour, suspended for two years, for their involvement in the Defiance Campaign. He received his first banning orders in 1954 and was arrested several times for breaking them.

On 11 July 1963 he was arrested in a police raid on Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia. This led to the Rivonia Trial for sabotage, which resulted in life sentences imposed on Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Denis Goldberg, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni. Kathrada was in prison for 26 years and three months, 18 years of which were on Robben Island. A few months after his release on 15 October 1989, the African National Congress was unbanned.

Kathrada served as Mandela’s parliamentary counsellor from 1994 to 1999 and for one term as the chairperson of the Robben Island Museum Council. In 2008, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation was established, with the aim of deepening non-racialism. Kathrada lives in retirement in Johannesburg and Cape Town with his wife, Barbara Hogan. This is his seventh book.

Sahm Venter was born in Johannesburg and worked as a journalist for more than 20 years, mainly for the foreign media and the international news agency The Associated Press. The majority of her journalism career was focused on covering the anti-apartheid struggle and South Africa’s transition to democracy.

Venter was a member of the editorial team for Nelson Mandela’s bestselling book Conversations with Myself. She edited A Free Mind and has co-edited several books, including: Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorised Book of Quotations, with Sello Hatang; 491 Days: Prisoner Number 1323/69 by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, with Swati Dlamini; and Something to Write Home About: Reflections from the Heart of History, with Claude Colart. Venter has also authored a series of books called Exploring Our National Days. She is currently the senior researcher at the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

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OUTA investigating possibility of class action against Eskom

The E-Tolls SagaBlackoutThe Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says it is investigating the possibility of bringing a class action against Eskom.

This follows a court decision setting aside the 9.4 per cent Eskom electricity tariff increase.

The North Gauteng High Court ruled on Tuesday that Eskom had not followed the correct methodology when requesting an additional tariff increase for 2016 using the Revenue Clearing Account.

Eskom had failed to submit quarterly reports to the national energy regulator Nersa to lay the basis for the application and also submitted late‚ outside of the permitted time frame. The case was brought by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chambers and others.

Outa said on Wednesday evening it would be engaging with various experts to assess the viability of launching a class action against Eskom on behalf of the public to recoup the amounts unlawfully charged.

“We applaud the businesses and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chambers for successfully challenging the irrational manner within which Nersa approved the increase in Eskoms tariffs. Although not all amounts overcharged will be deemed significant in the eyes of some‚ it is an absolute matter of principle that Eskom pay back every cent they have overcharged,” said Ivan Herselman‚ director of legal affairs at Outa.

On 31 March 2016‚ Outa applied to interdict the Eskom tariff increase on the basis of insufficient time and information to analyse the reasons for the electricity tariff increase agreed to by Nersa‚ before it cames into effect.

Outa is currently on appeal against the judgment which ruled against the organisation. It said the judgment of this latest court ruling specifically confirmed Outa’s position that Eskom could revert to the lowest tariff‚ if the interdict was granted.

“We are fully aware that Eskom and/or Nersa are likely to appeal the ruling but will start with our preparations to determine whether a class action is feasible in the circumstances” Herselman added.

Source: TMG Digital

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Justice Dikgang Moseneke to publish two memoirs with Pan Macmillan South Africa

 

Pan Macmillan South Africa has announced that it will publish two memoirs by Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

The first book, titled My Own Liberator, will be published in October 2016 and is a personal autobiography covering the remarkable life of one of South Africa’s preeminent and most respected leaders. This memoir will also cover some of the challenges and cases Moseneke undertook in his earlier and formative years in general legal practice and at the Bar.

The second book will be a judicial memoir focusing on Moseneke’s 15-year term as a Judge of the Constitutional Court and the many varied cases that he presided over.

In the first memoir, Moseneke pays homage to the many people and places that have helped to define and shape him. These influences include his ancestry; his parents; his immediate and extended family; and his education both in school and on Robben Island as a 15-year-old prisoner. These people and places played a significant role in forming his principled stance in life and his proud defiance of all forms of injustice. Robben Island became a school not only in politics but an opportunity for dedicated studies towards a law degree that would provide the bedrock for a long and fruitful career. The book charts Moseneke’s rise as one of the country’s top legal minds who not only helped to draft the Constitution, but for 15 years acted as a guardian of it for all South Africans.

Managing Director Terry Morris says: “Pan Macmillan is delighted to work with Justice Moseneke on these momentous and remarkable books. Not only did Justice Moseneke assist in shaping our new Constitution, he has helped to make it a living document for many South Africans over the past 15 years.

“His commitment to justice throughout his life should be celebrated by all, and these books will undoubtedly be an inspiration and a reminder of how far we have come as a society through the collective pain and perseverance of so many. It is a humbling experience for the Pan Macmillan team to be able to work with an author of this stature.”

Moseneke commented, “Perhaps this little tale of my life will serve as a living compass for the young and generations to come.”

Pan Macmillan South Africa acquired World rights in both books.

Image: Wits University


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Bongani Madondo at his finest: Sigh The Beloved Country

Sigh The Beloved CountryPan Macmillan is proud to present Sigh The Beloved Country: Braai Talk, Rock ‘n Roll and Other Stories by Bongani Madondo, with a new introduction by Rian Malan:

Sigh, the Beloved Country is a saucy stew of literary performance that showcases essays, memoirs, the interview as an art form, profile as a form of theatrical set-piece, travelogues, political epistles and excursions into fantasy and fiction. It speaks to disparate genres with the same spirit as it addresses a country no longer at ease with itself.

At turns explosive, funny, irascible, memoiristic and epic in scope, it is also cosy and personal for its obsession with minutiae. Whether at home with subversive artists in cities’ back alleys, or enjoying himself at the invite-only black-tux balls, in Sigh, the Beloved Country, the culture critic morphs into a storyteller, eavesdropper and something of a travelling jester throughout the land to share stories of its prophets, beauty and tragic figures.

Madondo is at his finest tackling themes as disparate as race and its ‘isms’, the New Bourgeoisie, the idea of God, nascent black Punk Culture and Black Magic. Simultaneously a synopsis of and a critique of a country, Sigh, the Beloved Country comes out like a soul blast.

It also drops on the 10th anniversary of his debut, Hot Type, which was more concerned with the politics of glitz: what Madondo now refers to as “expensive crud”. With its inbuilt shrug, Sigh is less a fan-boy book enamoured with hipsters, and more of an adult lover and critic of a country, in conversation with its people: the so-called ordinary folks, the wealthy, the beautiful, the deranged and the truly genius. They are People of the South.

About the author

Bongani Madondo is a non-fiction writer, biographer and amateur filmmaker. He spends time in Johannesburg, Cape Town and the Eastern Cape. His books include Hot Type: Artists, Icons & God-Figurines (2007) and I’m Not Your Weekend Special: Portraits on the Life+Style & Politics of Brenda Fassie (2014). Madondo has contributed monographs and lectures on the politics of style, film and rock & roll at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), in Warsaw, and at Haus Kulturen der Welt, in Berlin. His work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Transition, Internazaionale, Sunday Times Lifestyle, Rolling Stone, Noted, Man, True Love, Readers Digest, Marie Claire and Elle.

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Celebrate Brenda Fassie 12 years after her death with Bongani Madondo at the first Newtown Junction Literary Evening

I'm Not Your Weekend Special: Portraits on the Life + Style and Politics of Brenda FassieNewtown Junction and Picador Africa invite you to a book reading and discussion of I’m Not Your Weekend Special: Portraits on the Life + Style and Politics of Brenda Fassie by Bongani Madondo.

Join them in honouring the great MaBrrr and marking 12 years since her death.

Madondo will be reading from his book and interviewing contributors and other friends of MaBrrr. Come and hear stories from those who knew and loved her and share a glass of wine and great music at the first of our Newtown Junction Literary Evenings.

Like Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and Miriam Makeba, Brenda’s music will always be in our lives. We will smile when we think of her. South Africa will never be the same without her.

- From the Foreword by Hugh Masekela

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 05 May 2016
  • Time: 6:30 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Newtown Junction Mall
    Miriam Makeba and President Streets
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine

 
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Oscar Pistorius due in court today for first time since Constitutional Court rejection

Behind the DoorOscar Pistorius is due in the Pretoria High Court today for the first time since he lost his final application for leave to appeal his murder conviction.

The case is expected to be formally postponed to June for sentencing proceedings.

The double-amputee athlete must be sentenced afresh after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) last year overturned his culpable homicide conviction for shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and replaced it with a murder conviction.

Pistorius‚ 29‚ shot Steenkamp‚ 29‚ through a locked toilet door at his Pretoria home on February 14, 2013.

He said that he had fired the four shots believing that an intruder was hiding behind the door and his and Steenkamp’s lives were in danger.

The Constitutional Court last month dismissed Pistorius’s application for leave to appeal to that court against the SCA ruling.

Pistorius has not been seen in public since that decision.

He is out on bail of R10,000 and has been living at his uncle Arnold’s luxury home in Waterkloof‚ Pretoria‚ ever since his release from prison in October last year.

He had served about a year of the five-year jail term imposed on him before being released under correctional supervision.

The state or the defence may ask for alterations to Pistorius’ bail conditions now that his attempt to appeal his murder conviction has failed.

Pistorius’s current bail conditions allow him to leave his uncle’s house between 7 AM and noon. He is not allowed to travel beyond 10km from his uncle’s house.

The Office of the Chief Justice announced last month that Pistorius’s sentencing proceedings have been set down for June 13 to 17 after agreement between the state and defence lawyers and Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba.

Source: TMG Digital

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‘The black writer is the least marketable in this country’ – Khaya Dlanga responds to Rod MacKenzie

To Quote MyselfKhaya Dlanga has written a response to a recent piece by Rod MacKenzie titled “Can a white man tell Khaya Dlanga how to write a memoir?”

The article, published on the Mail & Guardian Thought Leader website, refers to Dlanga’s To Quote Myself, which was released in a new, updated edition this year.

MacKenzie asks: “why should the rise of yet another young man in the advertising world that could be anywhere on the globe [...] be of any interest, indeed, be publishable? Is it simply because Khaya is ‘black’ and therefore more marketable? Should a whitey be suggesting how Khaya should write his own memoir?”

In his response, “Telling black people how to tell their stories is a way of gate-keeping storytelling”, Dlanga says MacKenzie wrote what he thought were “some good points here and there and some fair criticisms”.

“Yet,” he adds, “there is thinly veiled racism that he can’t even pick up in his commentary. It was polite racism. Which is the worst kind.”

Dlanga continues: “It was precisely because I am a black writer telling his own black experience that I am not marketable.”

Read on:

It is miraculous that [To Quote Myself] made it on the bestseller list to begin with. But guess what? It was the only book on that list by a living black writer. That is disgusting. We are in a majority black country yet there was only one book on the list. Just one. And worse, it was dead last on that list. I felt like the Some of My Best Friends Are Black of books. Look how generous and nice we are, we allowed a black, oops, a black person in the club.

Rod MacKenzie must tell us how that makes me or any black writer more marketable. I am very curious. The black writer is the least marketable in this country. The system is stacked against them. If black writers were more marketable, why aren’t they on bestseller lists? Why are there so few published? Rob forgets his privilege.

 
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Sanral is flogging a dead horse, says Outa’s Wayne Duvenage

The E-Tolls SagaThe Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says Sanral’s announcement that civil summonses will be issued to e-toll defaulters is merely a scare tactic for motorists and a show of force for the benefit of ratings agencies.

Outa says the public “need not panic or become anxious about this latest development‚ as this is precisely what Sanral seeks to achieve”.

Sanral said on Monday that the orders will be handed to individuals and “higher value summonses of mostly companies”.

Owing to the amount owed in the latter cases‚ said the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project’s Alex van Niekerk‚ “the summons has to be managed by the high court”.

Outa‚ however‚ pointed out on Wednesday that a “high court civil claim … entertains debt in excess of R400 000”.

“Civil claims of this nature‚ if properly defended‚ will take many months‚ if not years to bring to fruition‚” Outa said.

“What Sanral would like to have the public believe is that everyone will shortly be receiving a summons to appear in court‚ but this is not the case and is virtually impossible for them or the courts to do.”

Outa’s Wayne Duvenage also took issue with Van Niekerk’s contention that there was “an obligation to act” as “global ratings agencies and the investment community are also looking towards Sanral and expect from us to demonstrate our commitment to financial responsibility and high standards of corporate governance”.

Duvenage said Sanral has “a need to demonstrate to the ratings agencies that they can and will take action‚ following two years of threatening to do so”.

“Eventually‚ there comes a day when they would either have to drop the cause or decide to carry through with their threats‚” Duvenage said.

“Sanral and the government have unwisely demonstrated their decision to press on with their failed scheme‚ which is akin to flogging a dead horse.”

Outa’s statement also claimed that “well-connected debt collection companies stand to make large undisclosed amounts from all historic e-toll fees collected” is another “motivating factor for the renewed drive to create the heightened anxiety levels that will steer some of the public toward settling the e-toll debt”.

It said unpaid e-toll debt incurred before September 2015 totals more than R14-billion.

Source: TMG Digital

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Jub Jub, Oscar Pistorius – that could have been me: Read an excerpt from Kabelo Mabalane’s book I Ran For My Life

I Ran For My LifePan Macmillan has shared an excerpt from I Ran For My Life: My Story by Kabelo Mabalane.

In I Ran For My Life, Mabalane shares his extraordinary life journey, from being a multi-platinum-selling musician with TKZee, through the highs and lows of drug addiction, to finding hope again through running – eight Comrades Marathons and counting.

In this excerpt, Mabalane reflects on how he close he became to becoming just like Jub Jub, or even Oscar Pistorius. He also describes his experience of rehab, where he was no longer surrounded by “yes people”, but by people who would not tolerate his arrogance.
 
 
 
 
 
Read the excerpt:
 

I am the Monster

Maybe I am contributing to that myth of famous people who always get away with crap. When the Jub Jub thing came out I was very slow to point fingers, because I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that it could have been me. Even Oscar Pistorius – every time I watched that case, my heart broke. That could also have been me, on so many levels. My temper, mixed with the drugs I was taking. Uncalculating, but angry. I hit a woman once. It was when I was stone-cold sober, had been off drugs for a couple of months. It was the most frustrated I had ever been. I don’t know if, even now, I am ready to talk about this. These men we see as monsters, it’s also something that can be closer than you know. You can be the monster. You just got lucky that you didn’t get caught.

The first step of the Twelve-step programme is to admit that you are powerless over your addiction, and that your life has become unmanageable. Before then, my life was unmanageable. I could not manage my life. If I could, I wouldn’t have been there, in that place. And it was flipping hard work. It hurt. It required real bravery to go through that process. I actually understand why a lot of people stay the way they are.

I went into rehab, as planned, on 1 November, and I came out on 13 December. Two days after that I had a gig – it was something that had been planned a lot earlier, before I even went into rehab. I remember getting on stage and the crowd going berserk. I was really appreciative of getting a second chance. I felt like I had got my selfrespect back. That people would start respecting me for being honest about what I was going through. I had been like this villain, and all of a sudden I was made to feel like I was a hero.

But there were people who weren’t happy with my sobriety. It said more about where they were at. I was accused of doing it as a publicity stunt, of being a media whore. Often by people who were in active addiction. For the first second, when you find out, it hurts deeply. But I had to rise above it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I can’t force someone to think about me in a certain way. If an orange tree says it’s an orange tree, then you’ve got to give it time to bear some oranges. If harvest time comes and it bears apples, you will know who the imposter is. You will know me by my fruit.

My mother came to visit me at the rehab centre every weekend. She was always there for me. She didn’t have to say anything; she was known by her actions. The addict goes in, but, parallel to that, the family goes through their own counselling. When I saw my mom give herself over to that, try to understand me, I knew that she was really there for me.

One of the things you have to do as part of a Twelve-step programme is write your own life story. See what kind of a prick you actually were. You have to travel down that road, start writing down all this stuff. For me, that is part of what spurs an addict on to sobriety: jeez, I did that? I didn’t sign up to be this person. Then, of course, after a few weeks you have to read your story out loud, to your group. When you learn about other people’s crap, you hear their stories week after week, it slowly becomes a safe environment for you to share yours. When you see someone else become transparent, it encourages you to become transparent.

When I finally read out my story, there were proud moments – because of the good stuff I had achieved – but also embarrassing moments, humbling moments. If anything, rehab humbled me. It made me realise that the sun didn’t shine out of my bum, and that when I drive around at night the moon is not following me. So there was pride, and there was regret. Regret because … if I had paid more attention and not missed so many things, I would be much further in life. As much as you pat yourself on the back after rehab, because you came out clean, you did it, part of that process is also realising how many opportunities you missed because of your addiction.

The first day I arrived at Houghton House, I was shown around, told where to go, and then thrown straight into ‘group’. There were plastic chairs placed in a circle. I sat down with this kind of ‘Do you know who I am?’ attitude. I folded my arms – I was completely arrogant, even though by that time I was already clean; or maybe it was because of that – and I just sat and looked at these people, pretended to listen to them. Maybe I was hearing what they said, but I wasn’t really listening. This one girl was sharing her story with the group. Like I said, you share where you have been so that people can identify with you and find strength in where you have been. It’s kind of a sacred space. It requires a huge amount of trust.

So, she was sharing her stuff. And I decided to just chip in. I gave her advice: I think you should do this, and you should do that. This is so embarrassing when I think of it now – not just me thinking that I obviously knew better than everyone else, but just the complete disrespect, like I was stomping all over the stuff she was sharing. I think everyone in the group was completely horrified at my behaviour. Worse, still, I carried on acting like that for another week or so. That story about me made the rounds. And my mistake ultimately wound up being the beginning of my healing process, and me understanding what I was there to do.

A week later, when the group met and got to confront each other, or confront another addict for their conduct, or applaud someone – it didn’t have to be negative – I remember basically the whole room just gunning for me. ‘We don’t know who you think you are. This is not the music industry. You are so arrogant …’ They really let me have it.

I had always had ‘yes people’ surrounding me – there were very few people who challenged who I was, or what I did. For the first time in my life that I could remember, there were all these people in this room, and they were all telling me where to get off. It was the first time that the penny dropped: that I had come there to change.

They didn’t just tell me what they thought about my behaviour. People told me how I made them feel. Nobody with a conscience would want to give off what I was giving off. And that’s when I started putting in the work. At the end of five weeks, the reports about me had changed. People thanked me for taking to heart what they had said about me. But it wasn’t just what they’d said about me that caused that change. My headspace started to shift when I started hearing their stories, really hearing them. When you hear someone else’s life story, it gives you the ability to put everything in a different context. You start to understand people more, you’re able to empathise with them. The fact that some people made my mountains look like molehills … it made me want to understand people more.

 
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Outa says the fuel levy hike ‘will push up the cost of living’ for everyone

The E-Tolls SagaThe Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa, previously the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance) said it found it “strange” that government “has no problem increasing the general fuel levy by 60 cents over the past two years”.

Yet‚ the civil watchdog said‚ government baulked at “an additional nine cents on the fuel levy to cover e-tolls” as it “would affect the poor”.

Outa’s Wayne Duvenage said the 30 cents-a-litre levy hike – announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan during Wednesday’s Budget Speech – “was predictable during this time of low fuel prices”.

But‚ he added: “We are concerned these high fuel levies (now at 36 percent of the fuel price)‚ will give rise to over R110-billion in the general fuel levies (general fuel levy and Road Accident Fund)‚ which is over 200 percent up on this revenue stream of a decade ago.

“The taxes applied to motorists and the transport industry will unfortunately be passed on to all citizens and will push up the cost of living.”

Duvenage held out hope that Gordhan will call the South African National Roads Agency Ltd and the Department of Transport to see reason and apply rational thinking in halting the failed e-toll decision”.

He also called for more transparency at government entities and said Gordhan should instruct them “to fully grant access to people who are rightfully inquiring about information pertaining to expenditure and tender allocation and if that information is not all there‚ the CEO’s job should be on the line”.

He also said that Wednesday’s speech did not give the sense that corruption was “being handled with conviction”.

“We need the removal of those officials who have been responsible for the waste‚ and criminal charges laid where necessary‚ so that a clear message is sent to those who waste and steal our taxes.

“They must fear the potential consequences and thereby change behaviour. In addition‚ we would like to see government claw back on the known lost revenues from people and organisations who have been fraudulently enriched with taxpayers’ money.”

Source: TMG Digital

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