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Archive for the ‘Book Excerpts’ Category

“Non-racialism is Dead”: Read an Excerpt from What If There Were No Whites In South Africa? by Ferial Haffajee

What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?The Star has shared an extract from Ferial Haffajee’s latest book, What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?, which provides thought-provoking analysis of our country.

In the excerpt, Haffajee unpacks the #RhodesMustFall movement and the removal of the Cecil John Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town, which marks the “generational shift in how transformation is understood”.

The reflection also turns inwards, as the respected political commentator and editor-in-chief of City Press writes about her relationship with her freedom and shares her own doubts and fears about writing this book.

Haffajee writes: “For me the political is intensely personal – freedom has been good for me and to me. I know it’s not the same for many, many South Africans, but there are enough of us who have benefited from freedom to build on it.”

Read the extract:

This is a generational shift, and a seismic one at that, in how South Africa’s transition is understood. It’s interesting to me that while Frank Chikane – liberation theologian, politician and democratic South Africa’s second director general of the Presidency – is a father of democracy, it is his son, Kgotsi Chikane, who is leading the #RhodesMustFall movement, a second transition.

In former EFF MP Andile Mngxitama’s words: “It was always about preserving white civilisation, ultimately. Because if this liberation movement was devoid of white anxiety (or anxiety about whites), it would have spoken in a different language.”

So, as I pursue my quest of understanding why I feel almost completely out of step with a generation I venerate, I realise that what we are living through is a generational shift. Those of us who admire South Africa’s transition and have studied the masterclass in pragmatism that underlined the painstaking negotiations for freedom are regarded as outmoded by a young, new establishment. We are regarded as compradors for striving for diversity and non-racialism. Non-racialism is, to all intents and purposes, dead.

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Sarah Wild Tells the Story of the CoroCAM, an Innovation that Saves Power Utilities Millions

InnovationInnovasieIn Innovation: Shaping South Africa through Science Sarah Wild investigates and celebrates science and innovation happening in South Africa right now.

pArticipate has featured an excerpt from the book, in which Wild tells the story of the development of the CoroCAM, a device that detects electrical current leaks in the transmission lines that traverse South Africa.

The device was developed by Roel Stolper at the CSIR after he was contacted by Wallace Vosloo from Eskom. He devised a way to make the ultraviolet light visible so that defective insulators can be fixed.

Read the excerpt:

Finding Fault

It all started with a phone call that was forwarded through to Roel Stolper by chance. It was 1992, an that conversation – between Stolper, a researcher at the CSIR, and Eskom’s Wallace Vosloo – and their subsequent research collaboration have saved the power utility millions of rands and created a multimillion-rand business.

Vosloo had a problem: he was completing his docyorate in the use of different insulators on transmission lines – they sometimes look like a collection of stacked side plate or an upside-down bell that connect the powerline to the pole or pylon – but he could not see the effects of the insulator, whether the current was leaking out, or determine how it was ageing.

Which is why Vosloo phoned the CSIR and was put through to Stolper.

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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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“You Can Never Relax in This Country, This South Africa” – Wise Words from Legendary Activist Emma Mashinini

"You Can Never Relax in This Country, This South Africa" - Wise Words from Legendary Activist Emma Mashinini

 
Strikes Have Followed Me All My LifeStrikes Have Followed Me All My Life is the compelling account of the life of Emma Mashinini, one of South Africa’s leading trade union organisers and gender-rights activists.

In the book, Mashinini describes her childhood in Sophiatown, her lasting contributions to labour organisation in South Africa, and the dark days she spent in detention under apartheid.

Mashinini’s activism began when she was working in a clothing factory. She was the first General Secretary of the Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union of South Africa (CCAWUSA), and was also involved in the formation of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). In 1981 she was arrested under the Terrorism Act and held in solitary confinement for six months. Strikes Have Followed Me All My Life was first published in 1989, and republished by Picador Africa in 2012.

Ma Emma’s overall experience and her drive to make a difference and fight for human dignity no matter the personal cost is what makes her autobiography so memorable.

In his introduction to the new edition, Jay Naidoo writes: “This book is more relevant today than ever. It is yet another indication of the heavy price paid for freedom so that we and those who come after us live in a society free from oppression and hate, a society that respects the right to life and dignity and a society where the only limitations placed on us is our own imagination.”

In the context of the current fees protests at universities around the country, Mashinini’s words hold some valuable advice.

6 quotes from Strikes Have Followed Me All My Life relevant to #FeesMustFall:

You are never an island in your problem … We unite, and we especially unite in our crisis times.

It was vital that we should be recognised for who we were, and that we should fight for our identity and respect as human beings. That was the battle we had to fight then. And human dignity is the battle we must still fight.

I am deeply concerned about what is happening, especially in terms of education, health and the negligence of the elderly … It is important that we continue to give back, and that we do not get too obsessed with the shine. We have to remember our past, and how far we’ve come together as a nation.

The money is important, and we should never forget that, much as we might be fighting injustices and claiming human rights for each and every black person, the money must always be seen as part of that injustice, and that right. Equality is important, and the money stands for that.

Lastly, I would like to encourage our teachers, who may influence and encourage an appreciation of literature. I must highlight the importance of reading and writing, and I would like to encourage other women to write and tell their stories, as we can learn a great deal from them.

You can never relax in this country, this South Africa. With each step forward comes a step backwards.

Read an excerpt from Jay Naidoo’s Introduction to the new edition of Strikes Have Followed Me All My Life:

[Mashinini's] story is an important part of the story for freedom in South Africa and it contains vital lessons for our democracy. One thing, at least, that I have learned from Ma Emma, is that the struggle for democracy and accountability has to be fought day by day. Many of the challenges we face today, including joblessness, poverty and social inequality, remain as deep-seated and structural as they were in our apartheid past. As a predatory elite today works to undermine the fabric of our society by corrupting state officials, stealing tenders and robbing the poorest of the poor of resources meant for reconstruction and development, we need to be reminded by the example of leaders like Ma Emma of why we fought for freedom. We need a return to the values that put service to our people above the vested interests of the individual. That was our contract with the people in 1994 – the commitment to deliver a better life to all.

There is a growing concern shared by many that the democratic and political space that we won is shrinking, and that a veil of secrecy
is being drawn over our country by fearful leaders. We must resist this with all the conviction we had in the past. Our struggle against apartheid was a struggle for voice. As Ma Emma insists: When we elect leaders to be public representatives, we do not mean that they have divine rights to rule us. They are servants of the people and must accept that we have a right to criticise them. That’s what we learnt from the trenches of the labour struggle that dealt a death blow to apartheid.

The struggle to make ends meet also continues today across the country. The homes of domestic workers, gardeners and factory workers still take the form of tin shacks strewn across townships in different parts of South Africa. Poverty and immense wealth lie side by side. Eighteen years into our democracy and it’s clear that the struggle for a better life for all continues. Emma’s compelling story remains relevant in a society where labour laws are often flouted and in some cases even the minimum wage is not adhered to. And so the strikes and the struggles continue …

In the education sector, in our rural and township schools, Emma speaks strongly against worker leaders who do not accept that the rights we have won come with the responsibilities of being in the classrooms and teaching: ‘Discipline won us our freedom. It seems today we have the freedom to do what we want without thinking about the interests of our children.’

Watching the breakdown of basic services in many of our township schools and clinics and the arrogance of many of those in power,
I agree that we have mislaid the values of humility, compassion and service to our people, which were the bedrock of our fight for social justice and human dignity.

And while Emma Thandi Mashinini, the Tiny Giant, prepares to celebrate her 83rd birthday, eighteen years of democracy and the 100th anniversary of Africa’s oldest liberation organisation, I celebrate her life of dedicated service: a life of immense suffering, but mostly a life of remarkable achievement. She defied the limitations of her gender at a time when apartheid denied people justice, freedom and equal rights for all. Instead, she fought selflessly for a cause so powerful that it almost ruined her own life. This book is more relevant today than ever. It is another indication of the heavy price paid for freedom, so that we and those who come after us can live in a society free from oppression and hate, a society that respects the right to life and dignity and one where the only limitation placed on us is our own imagination. Let us practise the values of Emma Mashinini every day that we live.

Jay Naidoo
Johannesburg
2012

 
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Read an Excerpt from Cat Hellisen’s Beastkeeper, a Thrilling Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

BeastkeeperBeastkeeper by Cat Hellisen, which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, is the story of a girl called Sarah whose family is cursed by a strange old magic.

Dave de Burgh has shared an excerpt from the book, in which Sarah’s mother deserts her family because she cannot bear living with the curse any longer. For Sarah, the event is shocking and unexpected, but also the start of the journey of discovering her family’s history and how to escape it.

Read the excerpt:

The air was full of ice the night that Sarah’s mother packed all her bags and walked out. That was the thing Sarah remembered most. How it was so cold that the weather-men had said it might snow. She lay awake, listening for snow hushing against the roof—and instead she heard her parents arguing.

“I can’t do this,” her mother said. She was whispering so as not to wake her daughter. She never seemed to realize that Sarah was almost always awake. The smallest sounds could keep her from sleeping.

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Concentrating Solar Power: Read an Excerpt from Innovation by Sarah Wild for More on the Helio100 Project

InnovationSarah Wild’s new book Innovation: Shaping South Africa through Science celebrates the science and innovation happening in South Africa right now, featuring projects which address the needs of everyday South Africans. It focusses on current initiatives, shedding light on the many ways people from this country are contributing to the future of various industries.

The Helio100 project, located on Stellenbosch University’s Mariendahl experimental farm, is one of the incredible projects elaborated on in Wild’s book. Funded by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), it is a test-bed for concentrating solar power (CSP) technology. Wild describes in laymen’s terms how the plant will eventually work and why it is such an important project in terms of renewable energy and solar power generation.

Read an excerpt from Innovation: Shaping South Africa through Science for all you need to know about this project and the challenges and triumphs that go with it:

CSP is the solar equivalent of the Drakensberg Pumped Storage Scheme, in which water from a dam is pumped to a dam with a higher elevation: when electricity is needed, the water from the higher dam is released, to flow down to the lower dam, generating electricity as it goes. With CSP, the sun’s energy is stored – currently within a molten salt mixture – and then released when it is needed.

According to the International Energy Agency, “by 2050, with appropriate support, CSP could provide 11.3% of global electricity … In the sunniest countries, CSP can be expected to become a competitive source of bulk power in peak and intermediate loads by 2020, and of base-load power by 2025-2030.”

This is good news for a country like South Africa. The nation has one of the highest rates of direct normal irradiation, a measure of sunniness. But the difficulty is: How do you harness and store this solar energy?

Molten salt mixture
In a CSP plant, mirrors position themselves independently to best reflect the sun’s rays to a receiver on top of a tower, converting the solar energy (concentrated solar flux) into thermal energy (heat). This heat can either be stored, usually in a molten salt mixture, to be released later or used immediately to heat water to superheated steam to power turbines – similar to what already happens in a coal-fired power station, except that it uses the sun’s heat instead of burning coal for energy. This technology is different from photovoltaic (PV) technology – such as solar panels on a roof – which directly converts sunlight into electricity.

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It’s Not Cricket in Cricket South Africa: An Excerpt from Deliberate Concealment by Mtutuzeli Nyoka

Deliberate ConcealmentMtutuzeli Nyoka has shared an excerpt from his latest book, a memoir called Deliberate Concealment: An Insider’s Account of Cricket South Africa and the IPL Bonus Saga.

Deliberate Concealment is Nyoka’s account of his time as president of Cricket South Africa and the drawn out battle with the organisation’s board. The author gives a behind-the-scenes look at the underbelly of the cricketing body, his own mistakes and his fight to uncover the truth.

In the excerpt, Nyoka narrates his involvement in the legal investigation into the misconduct of his predecessor and his interaction with Bernard Matheson, the excellent attorney who assisted him.

Read the excerpt:

On 19 October 2012, Advocate Karel Tip SC delivered his historic sanction in the matter between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and its CEO, Gerald Majola. It was a much-anticipated judgment.

Bernard Matheson, my attorney, had alerted me to its release. Matheson wasn’t just my lawyer, he was a great friend. His support and guidance had served me, at the worst of times, when very little else could. Much as this is my story, it is also his, since with his wisdom he lit the way for me in this journey from its beginning till the end.

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Stay Away from the Comment Section! An Excerpt from Rebecca Davis’ Best White and Other Anxious Delusions

Best White and Other Anxious DelusionsRead an excerpt from Best White and Other Anxious Delusions, in which Rebecca Davis ponders the thoughtless cruelty of internet comments.

Davis considers the growing “chasm” between people’s online and real-life personalities, admitting that she too is “braver, chattier and about a million times more confrontational” online.

She compares online behaviour to drunken behaviour, with people “oversharing with strangers, picking fights, getting needlessly emotional over tiny things”.

“The internet is like the perpetual closing time at the biggest bar in the world,” she says.

Read the excerpt, shared by Women24:

I have stopped reading the online comments on articles I write – particularly on op-ed pieces. This makes me quite sad because sometimes people say really nice things, which make me feel proud and happy.

Sometimes they also say pretty useful things: constructive feedback, factual corrections, interesting additions to the debate. But so often the comments are so genuinely hateful that I have had to wean myself off the habit of reading them.

When journalists whose work is posted online tell people this, they often accuse you of arrogance – of not wanting to engage with readers or of thinking you’re too good to listen to advice.

Then I say: ‘Imagine, if you will, that someone bursts into your workplace, where you’re sitting trying to do the best job that you can, over-worked and underpaid. This person then whips down their pants and proceeds to piss all over your desk, while hurling abuse about your appearance and character.’

Would you simply accept this as part of your job? Would you say: ‘Oh well, it’s only two out of every ten people who burst in here who urinate over my stationery and shout terrible personal insults at me. The other eight are pretty level-headed.’

As much as I try to convince myself that the worst commenters are using one hand to pound their tiny genitals while the other bashes out their hate-filled words, the problem is that their bile tends to stay with you.

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Despite Progress, Things Have Not Gone as Well as They Might Have – An Excerpt from How South Africa Works

How South Africa WorksHow South Africa Works: And Must Do Better by Greg Mills and Jeffrey Herbst takes a look at what this country needs to do in order to spark growth and reform in its economy.

Rand Daily Mail recently shared an excerpt from the book, in which the authors look at unemployment in South Africa. This is an important problem for a number of reasons, most importantly because the ratio of employed to unemployed people is shrinking and the proportions of government spending that goes into subsidies “have strained a narrow tax base”.

It is in the ANC’s best interests, the authors write, to address this problem as efficiently as possible.

Read the excerpt:

There is much to celebrate from the last 21 years in South Africa.

The systematic, legislated exclusion of the majority of South Africans from sharing the country’s wealth resulted in one of the most highly unequal societies world-wide, where race largely determined life chances. There have been notable improvements in access to education, to public health clinics, and to electricity and clean, piped water. All of these efforts are reflected in absolute poverty levels: only 11 per cent of South Africans experienced hunger in 2011, for example, down from a quarter of the population just 10 years earlier.

Yet, for all of the above progress, things have not gone as well as they might have.

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An Excerpt from A Hill of Fools by Mtutuzeli Nyoka: An Old Man Remembers the Country of Doma

A Hill of FoolsMtutuzeli Nyoka has shared an extract on his website from his latest novel, A Hill of Fools.

Set in the fictional African country of Doma, A Hill of Fools tells the tale of the dictatorial King Kutu who calls on a high-ranking member of the country’s police force when Queen Anuba is brutally murdered.

In the excerpt, an old man is lying on his deathbed, remembering the country of Doma, “the land of riches and poverty, and of vice and virtue”. The old man begins to tell his visitor about the country, the kingdom, and all the sadness and romance that transpired there.

Read the extract:

The room was hot and stuffy – in fact it was an inferno. From the glow of the fire I could see his wrinkled features, his papery brown skin and his long and curly white hair and beard. He was a tall man, with broad shoulders, and a wide boxy and hairy chest. His brawny arms were to his side.

My eyes were drawn to the heavy bronze bracelet around his right wrist. Was this a sign of rank or station? Was this a symbol of a former life of privilege and grandeur? Had he been a soldier, or was I in the presence of royalty?

His breathing was laboured, his face sweating and his brown eyes half closed. He was old and ailing, and looked like a crumbling and dilapidated ruin. Next to the large and heavy wooden door lay an old dog.

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