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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Launch: Turning and turning by Judith February (16 August)

South Africans often are deeply polarised in our perspectives of the present and the past. Our ‘ways of seeing’ are fraught with division, and we fail to understand the complexities when we do not see what lies beneath the surface.

There is no denying that the Jacob Zuma presidency took a significant toll on South Africa, exacerbating tensions and exposing the deep fractures that already exist in our society along the lines of race, class and even ethnicity. The Zuma years were marked by cases of corruption and state capture, unprecedented in their brazenness, and increased social protests – many of which were accompanied by violence – aggressive public discourse, lack of respect for reason and an often disturbing resistance to meaningful engagement.

Importantly, those years also placed enormous pressure on our democratic institutions, many of which still bear the scars, and challenged the sovereignty of the Constitution itself.

As an analyst and governance specialist at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) for twelve years, February has had a unique perch. Turning and turning is a snapshot of her IDASA years and the issues tackled, which included work on the arms deal and its corrosive impact on democratic institutions, IDASA’s party-funding campaign, which February helped lead, as well as work on accountability and transparency.

Combining analytical insight with personal observations and experience, February highlights the complex process of building a strong democratic society, and the difficulties of living in a constitutional democracy marked by soaring levels of inequality. There is a need to reflect on and learn from the country’s democratic journey if citizens are to shape our democracy effectively and to fulfill the promise of the Constitution for all South Africans.

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Launch: The White Room by Craig Higginson (2 August)

South African playwright Hannah Meade arrives in London for the opening night of her new play. She has arranged to meet Pierre, the student she was in love with when she taught English in Paris. During their time together, they lied their way towards truths they were too young and inexperienced to endure.

Perhaps this time they will have a second chance.

As the reader is drawn from contemporary London back to Paris on the eve of the war in Iraq, the mystery of past events is brought to vivid life in a series of dramatic, intriguing and deeply moving encounters. Written in layered, stark prose, The White Room lays bare many of our assumptions about language, identity, memory, loss and love.

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Launch: The Golddiggers by Sue Nyathi (27 June)

It’s 2008 and the height of Zimbabwe’s economic demise. A group of passengers is huddled in a Toyota Quantum about to embark on a treacherous expedition to the City of Gold.

Amongst them is Gugulethu, who is hoping to be reconciled with her mother; Dumisani, an ambitious young man who believes he will strike it rich, Chamunorwa and Chenai, twins running from their troubled past; and Portia and Nkosi, a mother and son desperate to be reunited with a husband and father they see once a year.

They have paid a high price for the dangerous passage to what they believe is a better life; an escape from the vicious vagaries of their present life in Bulawayo.

In their minds, the streets of Johannesburg are paved with gold but they will have to dig deep to get close to any gold, dirtying themselves in the process.

Told with brave honesty and bold description, the stories of the individual immigrants are simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-warming.

SUE NYATHI was born and raised in Bulawayo and resides in Johannesburg. An investment analyst by day and a storyteller to her son at night, she writes to escape the reality of financial markets and economic shop talk. She made her screenwriting debut on the award-winning e.tv series Matatiele. Her first novel, The Polygamist, was published in 2012 and readers can look forward to its film adaptation in 2019.

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Launch: Becoming Iman by Iman Rappetti (24 May)

Iman Rappetti is an award-winning journalist who has been involved in print, radio and television.

She worked as a young journalist in South Africa and then abandoned it (along with all her worldly possessions) when she became Muslim. She lived in the Islamic Republic of Iran for two years, where she also worked on a current affairs TV show for the state broadcaster before returning to South Africa and resuming her life here.

She describes herself as ‘the youngest of five children. One Rasatafarian brother (passed away), one ex-con brother (who can dance the pants off any woman and has a wicked sense of humour), another brother who’s a big shot in the marine engineering industry (he makes a mean curry), and a sister who has the thankless task of staying at home and raising the rugrats (she has a way with words, and also makes a kick-ass briyani)’.

In this moving and entertaining memoir, Iman shares stories and what she has learned from her colourful journey through life.

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Launch – Ministry of Crime: An Underworld Explored by Mandy Wiener (23 May)

As a follow up to the bestselling Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed (2010), the new book from Mandy Wiener, Ministry of Crime: An Underworld Explored, examines how organised crime, gangsters and powerful political figures have been able to capture the law enforcement authorities and agencies.

These various organisations have been eviscerated, hollowed out and left ineffective. They have been infiltrated and compromised and, as a result, prominent underworld figures have been able to flourish in South Africa, setting up elaborate networks of crime with the assistance of many cops.

The criminal justice system has been left exposed and it is crucial that the South African public knows about the capture that has occurred on different levels.

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Launch: Winging It by Joanne Jowell (10 May)

Jonathan Kaplan, celebrated international rugby referee and former world record-holder for most Test caps, had his fair share of challenging moments on the field.

He was known for his commitment to fair play, ability to defuse tense situations, and courage in making difficult, and sometimes controversial, decisions. All this would stand JK in good stead and come back into play when, at the age of 47, he made two life-changing decisions.

The first was to blow his whistle for the last time and end his career as a professional rugby ref. The second was to become a parent – and a solo parent at that. This is the story of JK’s decision to have a baby by surrogate, the two-year fertility process that followed, and the subsequent birth of his son Kaleb.

Winging It draws on the insights of key role-players in JK’s journey, including the extraordinary experience of the surrogate mother herself. Exchanging rucks for reflux, mauls for milk bottles, scrums for storks (and other stories about Kaleb’s conception), this account of how JK navigates the choppy waters of parenthood is disarmingly frank and scrupulously honest.

At times poignant and tender, and at others downright funny, this is a thoroughly contemporary take on what constitutes a family and how we dare to build one.

Joanne Jowell is the author of the bestselling biographies On the Other Side of Shame: An Extraordinary Account of Adoption and Reunion (2009), Finding Sarah: A True Story of Living with Bulimia (2011) and The Crazy Life of Larry Joe: A Journey on the Streets and Stage (2014). She lives in Cape Town with her husband and three children.
 
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Launch – Ministry of Crime: An Underworld Explored by Mandy Wiener (9 May)

As a follow up to the bestselling Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed (2010), the new book from Mandy Wiener, Ministry of Crime: An Underworld Explored, examines how organised crime, gangsters and powerful political figures have been able to capture the law enforcement authorities and agencies.

These various organisations have been eviscerated, hollowed out and left ineffective. They have been infiltrated and compromised and, as a result, prominent underworld figures have been able to flourish in South Africa, setting up elaborate networks of crime with the assistance of many cops.

The criminal justice system has been left exposed and it is crucial that the South African public knows about the capture that has occurred on different levels.

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Launch – Ministry of Crime: An Underworld Explored by Mandy Wiener (8 May)

As a follow up to the bestselling Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed (2010), the new book from Mandy Wiener, Ministry of Crime: An Underworld Explored, examines how organised crime, gangsters and powerful political figures have been able to capture the law enforcement authorities and agencies. These various organisations have been eviscerated, hollowed out and left ineffective. They have been infiltrated and compromised and, as a result, prominent underworld figures have been able to flourish in South Africa, setting up elaborate networks of crime with the assistance of many cops. The criminal justice system has been left exposed and it is crucial that the South African public knows about the capture that has occurred on different levels.

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Launch: Michael K by Nthikeng Mohlele (19 April)

‘Those in the know claim Michael K disembarked from a diesel-smoke-spewing truck one overcast morning, looked around, and without missing a beat, chose a spot where he set down a small bucket (red, burnt and disfigured) that contained an assortment of seedlings, some fisherman’s twine and a rudimentary gardening tool – probably self-made.’

How is it that a character from literary fiction can so alter the landscapes he touches, even as he – in his self-imposed isolation – seeks to avoid them? How is it that Michael K, bewildered and bewildering, can remain so fragile yet so present, so imposing without attempting to be so?

In this response to JM Coetzee’s classic masterpiece, Life & Times of Michael K, Nthikeng Mohlele dabbles in the artistic and speculative in a unique attempt to unpack the dazed and disconnected world of the title character, his solitary ways, his inventiveness, but also to show how astutely Michael K holds up a mirror to those whose paths he inadvertently crosses. Michael K explores the weight of history and of conscience, thus wrestling the character from the confines of literary creation to the frontiers of artistic timelessness.

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Launch: Winging It by Joanne Jowell (17 April)

Jonathan Kaplan, celebrated international rugby referee and former world record-holder for most Test caps, had his fair share of challenging moments on the field.

He was known for his commitment to fair play, ability to defuse tense situations, and courage in making difficult, and sometimes controversial, decisions. All this would stand JK in good stead and come back into play when, at the age of 47, he made two life-changing decisions.

The first was to blow his whistle for the last time and end his career as a professional rugby ref. The second was to become a parent – and a solo parent at that. This is the story of JK’s decision to have a baby by surrogate, the two-year fertility process that followed, and the subsequent birth of his son Kaleb.

Winging It draws on the insights of key role-players in JK’s journey, including the extraordinary experience of the surrogate mother herself. Exchanging rucks for reflux, mauls for milk bottles, scrums for storks (and other stories about Kaleb’s conception), this account of how JK navigates the choppy waters of parenthood is disarmingly frank and scrupulously honest.

At times poignant and tender, and at others downright funny, this is a thoroughly contemporary take on what constitutes a family and how we dare to build one.

Joanne Jowell is the author of the bestselling biographies On the Other Side of Shame: An Extraordinary Account of Adoption and Reunion (2009), Finding Sarah: A True Story of Living with Bulimia (2011) and The Crazy Life of Larry Joe: A Journey on the Streets and Stage (2014). She lives in Cape Town with her husband and three children.
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