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Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

“I feel that as a writer, our duty is to capture the human experience” – read an interview with Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

I think a lot of novels that we have coming out that most people consider particularly African novels are expected to play on politics, on corruption, on all these things. I don’t want those to be at the forefront. They are there, obviously, and they are very dominant, like on the landscape and the scenery. But despite all this, people carry on with their lives. They are little romances in hidden corners, they have their issues with their children, and all that. This corruption, this politics, this violence, in a way it kind of shapes certain things in the way we behave and the way we act, it is not necessary that every time you have to struggle with corrupt politicians and corrupt people, but the decisions they make somewhere, so far away from you, somehow have a resonance in the way you make your decisions and the choices you make in life.

Jennifer Malec, editor of the Johannesburg Review of Books, interviewed Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, winner of the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature, during Ibrahim’s recent visit to Johannesburg.

Ibrahim received the Nigeria Prize for Literature for his novel Season of Crimson Blossoms.

Read their interview here and listen to Ibrahim read an excerpt from Season of Crimson Blossoms here.

Season of Crimson Blossoms

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“Transformation” Has Become an Abused Word in Our Society – Ferial Haffajee (Podcast)

What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?Sebenzile Nkambule recently interviewed City Press editor Ferial Haffajee about the pertinent themes and issues in her new book, What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?

In the interview, Haffajee talks about the events that compelled her to write the book: “My newsmaker of the year is definitely something between hashtag Pay Back the Money and hashtag Fees Must Fall, but if I were to choose a second then I certainly think this is the year where the race debate or perhaps even race rage took centre stage for me and became a talking point month after month after month.”

On the title, Haffajee says, “I hope it interests people enough to pick it up.” She continues, “It’s certainly not ‘let’s put all white people back on the boats to wherever’, not at all because I’m very much a child of the Nelson Mandela generation, I am that child of ’94, I completely buy into our constitutional vision, but what interests me is that 23 years hence, why does a new generation of our young people, what we have carelessly called ‘born-free’ in the past, still feel so overwhelmingly that white power stands in the way of a better life in our country? It’s that book, it’s their voices that come to the fore.”

In this insightful podcast, the author explains why she believes “transformation” has become an abused word in our society.

Listen to the podcast:

 
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Why was the Fees Must Fall Movement Ferial Haffajee’s Newsmaker of the Year? (Video)

What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?City Press editor-in-chief Ferial Haffajee spoke to Polity about her thought-provoking and rather controversial new book What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?

Haffajee held a number of round table discussions to inform this analysis of current affairs in South Africa. She says in writing this she essentially attempted to rethink the way we look at non-racialism and the politics of reconciliation.

During the interview Haffajee discusses hot topics like land redistribution, power structures and white dominance in the corporate environment, affirmative action laws, #FeesMustFall, the difference between the South African situation and the American civil rights movement and the younger generation’s vociferous dissatisfaction with the status quo – all addressed in What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?

“Fees Must Fall was perhaps for me, the hashtag #FeesMustFall that is, definitely my newsmaker of the year because I think those students took us into what we are going to be. They showed us that, mobilised around a single issue for a common good, young people can shift our country and shift our politics,” Haffajee says. She acknowledges that there were problematic elements, but says that she is excited to see where this movement will go.

Watch the video:

 

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Keep an eye on Books LIVE for our report on the launch of What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?
 

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“Not Very Nice” – Ferial Haffajee’s Mother on the Title: What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?

What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?Ferial Haffajee was interviewed by Sebenzile Nkambule earlier this week on her Power Up books feature on Power FM.

Haffajee begins by explaining the contentious title for her book, which her very polite mother called “not very nice”. The author, who is also editor of City Press, is launching her book at The Book Lounge in Cape Town tonight.

Haffajee says she is “a child of 1994″ and her “buy-in” to our constitution guided her thinking on the race issues she discusses in this book. In her the broadminded and deep-thinking conversation with Nkambule, Haffajee gives her opinion on the student movements, black and white power and what this country would be without white people.

Listen to the podcast:

 

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Alex van Tonder Discusses the Influence of Stephen King on Her Novel, This One Time (Video)

This One TimeAlex van Tonder chatted to Morning Live recently about her debut novel, This One Time.

Van Tonder describes the book as, “A modern-day take on Stephen King’s Misery”, with Kathy Bates as a “blueprint” for the female protagonist.

“I am very inspired by the horror side of how social media affects modern day life,” Van Tonder says. “I love reading horror stories and Stephen King has been a big influence on me, growing up.”

Watch the video:

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What If There Were No Whites In South Africa? Ferial Haffajee Explains the Title of Her New Book

What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?A few months ago, Ferial Haffajee chatted to Ruda Landman about her new book, What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?, which is now on the shelves.

The provocatively titled book is the respected journalist’s debut, and she explains to Landman where the title comes from.

“I’ve come to a point in my life where I want to think a little more deeply about what we’re going to be as a nation and where we’re going,” Haffajee says, “to answer those questions, because I get asked them a lot, and make myself part of the voice of those voices, saying, ‘here’s our scenarios, here’s what we could do’.”

“So, if Van Riebeeck didn’t come?” Landman asks.

“Then what would have happened? Not really,” Haffajee says. “But even now, I think it is a debate in our society, which believes falsely that only if we had all the stuff whites have got, then everything would be cool. But actually that’s not true. And it’s often a debate formed on very wonky foundations, and I recognise it will be a difficult book to write, but I feel like the time is right for it.”

Haffajee says the basis of the book is not opinion but research, with the aim of showing how much situations around property, pension, provident fund ownership have changed.

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“When the Words Won’t Come Down the Stairs” – Ekow Duker Chats About Being a Writer

Ekow Duker Book Launch

 
White WahalaDying in New YorkEkow Duker is an oil field engineer turned banker turned writer. His first two novels – White Wahala and Dying in New York – were both published and very well received last year, with the latter being longlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize.

Aerodrome caught up with Ghana-born, Joburg-based author to talk about his working life, which includes his favourite ritual: writing two pages a day. He reveals that he is working on “a novel exploring how a gay man stumbles into a heterosexual marriage” and says that when he feels stuck he likes to “stand at the bottom of the stairs and shout at the words that refuse to show their face”.

However, the hardest thing about writing, Duker says, is “When the words won’t come down the stairs. Or when they do and they’re all dishevelled and in disarray and I send them back again because it’s got to be right.”

Read the article to learn more about this fascinating writer:

What does “writing” mean?

Writing for me is that piece of the puzzle that makes all the other pieces fall into place and make sense

Which book changed your life?

It’s got to be Dying in New York. Now I get invited to events I only read about before and strangers come up to me and shake my hand. Well, one person did.

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Moeletsi Mbeki Predicted an “Arab Spring” Youth Uprising in South Africa – Back in April (Video)

Advocates for ChangeArchitects of PovertyIn an interview earlier this year Moeletsi Mbeki, economist and editor of Advocates for Change: How to Overcome Africa’s Challenges, predicted the student protests that have shaken up South Africa for the past month.

Mbeki, who was interviewed by Trust Matsilele for CNBC Africa, characterised South Africa as “a bomb waiting to explode, all it needs is a little match to spark it and it will go up in flames”. He said that the country was moving towards an “Arab Spring” type uprising because of the shortage of opportunities and useful employment, particularly for the youth.

Mbeki also commented that military reactions against protesters are fruitless; only employment will curb young people’s restless frustration.

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13 Years Clean and On the Way to a Comrades Silver: Kabelo Mabalane Shares His Story (Podcast and Video)

I Ran For My LifeKabelo Mabalane, TKZee star who has just released his biography I Ran For My Life: My Story, was recently invited to The Complimentary Breakfast radio show on Jacaranda FM to speak about his story.

For the first part of the interview, host Rian van Heerden spoke with Mabalane while they were both on treadmills. Mabalane, who has completed the Comrades Marathon eight times and is hoping for a silver medal next year, was hardly short of breath. Van Heerden, in contrast, was in great need of the emergency stop button by the end of the chat.

Watch the video:

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Mabalane told Van Heerden why “Vida la Vida” by Coldplay is one of the best songs on his running playlist, and shared what it felt like to cross the finish line of the Comrades the first time:

 

 
In an different interview with Ntombizodwa Makhoba for City Press, Mabalane spoke about his being “13 years clean”. His message to other addicts is “There is help, hope, and it is possible.”

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Achmat Dangor “Perversely” Thanks the Apartheid Government for His SALA Lifetime Achievement Award

Strange PilgrimagesThis month, the 2015 South African Literary Awards will present Achmat Dangor with a Lifetime Achievement Literary Award.

The legendary activist, whose most recent book is Strange Pilgrimages, spoke to Morning Live presenter Samm Marshall about his literary life and what being nominated for the SALAs means to him.

Reflecting on where it all started, Dangor said the apartheid banning order that prohibited him from publishing any books or preparing any manuscripts for publication gave him the time to focus on writing.

“In many ways, perversely almost, I need to thank the South African government, the old apartheid government,” he says. “In 1973, I was part of the Black Consciousness Movement, the student movement, and I was banned for five years.

“But my spare time I devoted to my writing because I had nothing else to do.

“Every time I wrote a manuscript, in those days yes it was pen to paper, I’d even hide it. I had manuscripts in my ceiling, in friends’ ceilings, in the garden.”

Dangor was also part of a literary group called Black Thoughts that went around to schools reading banned literature to students.

Watch the video:

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The SALA ceremony will be held at the Tshwane Events Centre on 7 November, 2015:

 

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