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Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

“It’s a sexy, sexy book!” – Eusebius McKaiser and Angela Makholwa discuss The Blessed Girl

When you are accustomed to the finer things in life – designer shoes, champagne, VIP lounges, exotic holidays abroad, a luxury penthouse, expensive wheels – what independent young woman in her right mind would want to let them go? Certainly not the beautiful, ambitious and super-streetsmart Bontle Tau, the girl who has used her good looks and winning charm all her life to get exactly what she wants. The lifestyle doesn’t come cheap, though, nor does maintaining the body that allows it (just ask Dr Heinz at the beauty clinic).

Luckily, Bontle has a degree in MENcology, and there is no shortage of blessers at her penthouse door, eager to give her all the love and (financial) support she needs.

Papa Jeff might be overweight and getting on a bit, and receiving some unwanted attention from the Hawks; and Teddy might not have fully come through for her on that messed-up tender business; but Mr Emmanuel, the Nigerian businessman with deep pockets and the possibility of conferring second wife status … could that be love? Keeping all her boyfriends happy and living a fabulous life is not without its challenges.

With so many people clamouring for Bontle’s attention – from her shebeen queen mother Gladys in Mamelodi, who is taking strain bringing up her teenaged brother, Golokile, on her own; to her girlfriends, Iris and Tsholo; not to mention her soon-to-be ex-husband, the ever-patient, ever-loving Ntokozo, Bontle barely has time to post on Instagram these days.

Sooner or later something’s got to give …

Angela recently was a guest on Eusebius McKaiser’s 702 Literature Corner show. Listen to the juicy conversation:

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Listen: Marcus Low discusses Asylum on AmaBookaBooka

AsylumBarry James is detained in a quarantine facility in the blistering heat of the Great Karoo.

Here he exists in two worlds: the discordant and unforgiving reality of his incarceration and the lyrical, snowy landscapes of his dreams. He has cut all ties with his previous life, his health is failing, and he has given up all hope. All he has to cling to are the meanderings of his restless mind, the daily round of pills and the journals he reluctantly keeps as testimony to a life once lived.

And then there’s an opportunity to escape. But to escape what? And where to? Can there be a life to go back to? Is there still a world out there in the barren wasteland beyond the fence?

I was sitting in the train looking out at the falling snow. I knew then that I was not going home … I was going to an unknown place on a train full of unknown people. And even though I knew I would not be coming back, that the factories that whooshed by were instantly hundreds of kilometres behind us, that the train would not deliver us anywhere where we’d want to be, I still felt grateful for the snow, the impossible snow. For it seems to me that even in the most bleak of worlds we’ll find something to hold on to … even if that is something as impossible as snow in this god-forsaken wasteland.

Low recently was a guest on Jonathan Ancer’s podcast, AmaBookaBooka. Listen to their conversation here:

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Listen: Sara-Jayne King and Sibusiso Mjikeliso discuss Being a Black Springbok

Thando Manana was the third black African player to don a Springbok jersey after unification in 1992, when he made his debut in 2000 in a tour game against Argentina A.

His route to the top of the game was unpredictable and unusual. From his humble beginnings in the township of New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, Thando grew to become one of the grittiest loose-forwards of South African rugby, despite only starting the game at the age of 16. His rise through rugby ranks, while earning a reputation as a tough-tackling lock and later open side flanker, was astonishingly rapid, especially for a player of colour at the time. Within two years of picking up a rugby ball, he represented Eastern Province at Craven Week, and by 2000 he was a Springbok.

But it isn’t solely Thando’s rugby journey that makes Being a Black Springbok a remarkable sports biography. It’s learning how he has negotiated life’s perils and pitfalls, which threatened to derail both his sporting ambitions and the course of his life.

He had to negotiate an unlikely, but fateful, kinship with a known Port Elizabeth drug-lord, who took Thando under his wing when he was a young, gullible up-and-comer at Spring Rose. Rejected by his father early in his life, Thando had to deal with a sense of abandonment and a missing protective figure and find, along the way, people to lean on.

Thando tells his story with the refreshing candour he has become synonymous with as a rugby commentator, pundit and member of the infamous Room Dividers team on Metro FM. He has arguably become rugby’s strongest advocate for the advancement of black people’s interests in the sport, and his personal journey reveals why.

As the editor of Kick Off magazine, Sibusiso Mjikeliso is one of the youngest editors of a national, monthly publication in South Africa. He has written on rugby, cricket, football and tennis for the Sunday Times, The Times, Daily Dispatch and Sowetan. He has also worked as the senior sports writer for Business Day. Mjikeliso spent time as an exchange reporter at the Sunday Mirror in London, where he wrote on Wimbledon tennis, English Premiership rugby as well as English Premier League football. His versatility as a writer and knowledge of different sporting codes has made him one of the most influential sports writers in South Africa. This is his first book.

Sibusiso recently discussed his book with Sarah-Jayne King on Cape Talk. Listen to their conversation here:


 

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Watch: Tony Park discusses The Cull on Morning Live

In The Cull, former mercenary Sonja Kurtz is hired by business tycoon Julianne Clyde-Smith to head an elite squad. Their aim: to take down Africa’s top poaching kingpins and stop at nothing to save its endangered wildlife.

But as the body count rises, it becomes harder for Sonja to stay under the radar as she is targeted by an underworld syndicate known as The Scorpions.

When her love interest, safari guide and private investigator Hudson Brand, is employed to look into the death of an alleged poacher at the hands of Sonja’s team, she is forced to ask herself if Julianne’s crusade has gone too far.

From South Africa’s Kruger National Park to the Serengeti of Tanzania, Sonja realises she is fighting a war on numerous fronts, against enemies known and unknown.

So who can Sonja really trust?

Tony recently discussed his fourteenth novel on Morning Live; watch the discussion here:

The Cull

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Watch: Zelda la Grange on typing up Mandela’s manuscript

‘I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.’
NELSON MANDELA, Long Walk to Freedom

Dare Not Linger
In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first president of a democratic South Africa. From the outset, he was committed to serving only a single five-year term. During his presidency, he and his government ensure that all South Africa’s citizens became equal before the law, and laid the foundations for turning a country riven by centuries of colonialism and apartheid into a fully functioning democracy.

Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidential years, drawing heavily on the memoir he began to write as he prepared to finish his term of office but was unable to finish. Now, acclaimed South African writer Mandla Langa has completed the task, using Mandela’s unfinished draft, detailed notes that Mandela made as events were unfolding and a wealth of unseen archive material. With a prologue by Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, the result is a vivid and often inspirational account of Mandela’s presidency and the creation of a new democracy. It tells the extraordinary story of a country in transition and the challenges Mandela faced as he strove to make his vision for a liberated South Africa a reality.

Nelson Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa, on 18 July 1918. He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and was engaged in resistance against the ruling National Party’s apartheid policies for many years before being arrested in August 1962. Mandela was incarcerated for more than twenty-seven years, during which his reputation as a potent symbol of resistance to the anti-apartheid movement grew steadily. Released from prison in 1990, Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. He is the author of the international bestseller Long Walk to Freedom. He died on 5 December 2013, at the age of ninety-five.

Mandla Langa was born in 1950 in Durban, South Africa. After being arrested in 1976, he went into exile and has lived in Botswana, Mozambique and Angola, where he did his Umkhonto weSizwe (the armed wing of the African National Congress) military training, as well as Hungary, Zambia and the United Kingdom, where he was the African National Congress’s cultural representative. A writer and journalist, he was the first South African to be awarded the Arts Council of Great Britain bursary for creative writing, and he has been a columnist for the Sunday Independent and the New Nation. In 2007, he was the recipient of the presidential Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for his literary and journalistic contribution to democracy in South Africa. He is also the author of several acclaimed novels, including The Lost Colours of the Chameleon, which won the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in the African region.

Graça Machel was born in Gaza, Mozambique, in 1945. She was a member of the Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO) which fought for and won independence from Portugal in 1975. A teacher, human rights activist, international advocate for women’s and children’s rights, and politician, she was – from 1975 until his death in 1986 – married to Samora Machel, the first president of Mozambique. She married Nelson Mandela on his eightieth birthday in July 1998. Among her numerous awards for her humanitarian work, she was a recipient of the United Nations’ Nansen Medal in 1995, and in 2007 she was made an honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Here Zelda la Grange, former personal assistant to Mandela, discusses the process of typing up the manuscript of Dare Not Linger:

Zelda la Grange_soundbite from Blackwell & Ruth on Vimeo.

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Watch: Verne Harris of the Nelson Mandela Foundation chats about the team who helped realise Dare Not Linger

‘I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.’
NELSON MANDELA, Long Walk to Freedom

In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first president of a democratic South Africa. From the outset, he was committed to serving only a single five-year term. During his presidency, he and his government ensure that all South Africa’s citizens became equal before the law, and laid the foundations for turning a country riven by centuries of colonialism and apartheid into a fully functioning democracy.

Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidential years, drawing heavily on the memoir he began to write as he prepared to finish his term of office but was unable to finish. Now, acclaimed South African writer Mandla Langa has completed the task, using Mandela’s unfinished draft, detailed notes that Mandela made as events were unfolding and a wealth of unseen archive material. With a prologue by Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, the result is a vivid and often inspirational account of Mandela’s presidency and the creation of a new democracy. It tells the extraordinary story of a country in transition and the challenges Mandela faced as he strove to make his vision for a liberated South Africa a reality.

Nelson Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa, on 18 July 1918. He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and was engaged in resistance against the ruling National Party’s apartheid policies for many years before being arrested in August 1962. Mandela was incarcerated for more than twenty-seven years, during which his reputation as a potent symbol of resistance to the anti-apartheid movement grew steadily. Released from prison in 1990, Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. He is the author of the international bestseller Long Walk to Freedom. He died on 5 December 2013, at the age of ninety-five.

Mandla Langa was born in 1950 in Durban, South Africa. After being arrested in 1976, he went into exile and has lived in Botswana, Mozambique and Angola, where he did his Umkhonto weSizwe (the armed wing of the African National Congress) military training, as well as Hungary, Zambia and the United Kingdom, where he was the African National Congress’s cultural representative. A writer and journalist, he was the first South African to be awarded the Arts Council of Great Britain bursary for creative writing, and he has been a columnist for the Sunday Independent and the New Nation. In 2007, he was the recipient of the presidential Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for his literary and journalistic contribution to democracy in South Africa. He is also the author of several acclaimed novels, including The Lost Colours of the Chameleon, which won the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in the African region.

Graça Machel was born in Gaza, Mozambique, in 1945. She was a member of the Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO) which fought for and won independence from Portugal in 1975. A teacher, human rights activist, international advocate for women’s and children’s rights, and politician, she was – from 1975 until his death in 1986 – married to Samora Machel, the first president of Mozambique. She married Nelson Mandela on his eightieth birthday in July 1998. Among her numerous awards for her humanitarian work, she was a recipient of the United Nations’ Nansen Medal in 1995, and in 2007 she was made an honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Here Verne Harris, Director: Archive & Dialogue, Nelson Mandela Foundation, talks about the team who helped realise Dare Not Linger:

Verne Harris soundbite from Blackwell & Ruth on Vimeo.

 

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Watch: Sello Hatang answers “How do you think Mandela would feel about Dare Not Linger?”

Drawing on Nelson Mandela’s own unfinished memoir, Dare Not Linger is the remarkable story of his presidency told in his own words and those of distinguished South African writer Mandla Langa.

‘I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.’ Long Walk to Freedom

In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first president of democratic South Africa. Five years later, he stood down. In that time, he and his government wrought the most extraordinary transformation, turning a nation riven by centuries of colonialism and apartheid into a fully functioning democracy in which all South Africa’s citizens, black and white, were equal before the law.

Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidential years, drawing heavily on the memoir he began to write as he prepared to finish his term of office, but was unable to finish. Now, the acclaimed South African writer, Mandla Langa, has completed the task using Mandela’s unfinished draft, detailed notes that Mandela made as events were unfolding and a wealth of previously unseen archival material. With a prologue by Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, the result is a vivid and inspirational account of Mandela’s presidency, a country in flux and the creation of a new democracy. It tells the extraordinary story of the transition from decades of apartheid rule and the challenges Mandela overcome to make a reality of his cherished vision for a liberated South Africa.

Here Sello Hatang, the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation answers the question “How do you think Mandela would feel about Dare Not Linger?”

Sello Hatang soundbite 2 from Blackwell & Ruth on Vimeo.

Dare Not Linger

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“She planted a different seed”: Sello Hatang on the role Graça Machel played in the completion of Dare Not Linger

Drawing on Nelson Mandela’s own unfinished memoir, Dare Not Linger is the remarkable story of his presidency told in his own words and those of distinguished South African writer Mandla Langa.

‘I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.’ Long Walk to Freedom

In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first president of democratic South Africa. Five years later, he stood down. In that time, he and his government wrought the most extraordinary transformation, turning a nation riven by centuries of colonialism and apartheid into a fully functioning democracy in which all South Africa’s citizens, black and white, were equal before the law.

Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidential years, drawing heavily on the memoir he began to write as he prepared to finish his term of office, but was unable to finish. Now, the acclaimed South African writer, Mandla Langa, has completed the task using Mandela’s unfinished draft, detailed notes that Mandela made as events were unfolding and a wealth of previously unseen archival material. With a prologue by Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, the result is a vivid and inspirational account of Mandela’s presidency, a country in flux and the creation of a new democracy. It tells the extraordinary story of the transition from decades of apartheid rule and the challenges Mandela overcome to make a reality of his cherished vision for a liberated South Africa.

Here the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang, discusses the significant impact Machel had on the completion of Dare Not Linger:

Sello Hatang soundbite 1 from Blackwell & Ruth on Vimeo.

 

Dare Not Linger

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“Apartheid did impart in us a violent approach to life” – a feature on Achmat Dangor

The last time Silas Ali encountered Lieutenant Du Boise, Silas was locked in the back of a police van and the lieutenant was conducting a vicious assault on Silas’s wife, Lydia, in revenge for her husband’s participation in Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress.

When Silas sees Du Boise by chance twenty years later, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is about to deliver its report, crimes from the past erupt into the present, splintering the Alis’ fragile peace.

A clear-eyed story of a brittle family on the crossroads of history and a fearless skewering of the pieties of revolutionary movements, Bitter Fruit is a cautionary tale of how we do, or do not, address the deepest wounds of the past.


 

Kwanele Sosibo recently wrote a feature on Dangor, published in The Mail & Guardian; the two discussed Dangor’s acclaimed novel, the TRC, and why it’s an appropriate time to have reprinted Bitter Fruit, 16 years after its original publication:

‘What turned these apartheid police into killers?” asks author Achmat Dangor. He is in his lounge in the Johannesburg suburb of Parkview discussing the inner worlds of the complex characters that populate his novel, Bitter Fruit.

“They weren’t born inhuman. Is it their culture, is it their upbringing? Is it things that are planted in them by their surroundings, by their family, by their culture? That’s what creates human beings.

Bitter Fruit, because of its context, was the one where, perhaps, I took this beyond what people would expect … the personalisation, turning into personification.”

First published in 2001 and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2004, Dangor’s Bitter Fruit was re-published by Picador Africa earlier this year.

“I think it was appropriate to [re]publish it because there are issues in the book that we are still dealing with today,” says Dangor.

“Ahmed Timol’s killing is only being truly investigated now, after all these years. Apart from people who suffered like that there must also be families and communities who need an understanding of what happened so they can come to terms with it,” he says. “Ahmed Timol’s mother gave evidence at the TRC [the Truth and Reconciliation Commission] but there was no follow-up investigation.”

The TRC is a significant pivot in Dangor’s Bitter Fruit, set as it is at the tail end of Nelson Mandela’s presidency. Its unfinished business and its lack of capacity preoccupy the professional and personal lives of several key characters. At a party to celebrate the 50th birthday of Silas, a spin doctor in the safety and security ministry, guests throw pithy darts at the TRC process, with the report having just been released.

“After all this time, we’ve got a big fat report but we’re still no closer to the truth,” says one guest. “That’s because we always put our faith in priests. They don’t have it in them to hold these apartheid thugs accountable!”

Having known people close to the process, Dangor is even-handed in his criticism of the commission, noting how the commission was hamstrung by not having its own investigators and very little time. “I think at some point the government just decided, ‘Look, it is time to move on, beyond just dealing with the past …let’s try to plan for the future.’”

The irony, of course, is that there are apparently too few positive results of that eagerness to move on. Reading the book 16 years after its first publication, the absence of a giddy euphoria is refreshing.

In Dangor’s recently liberated South Africa, a sense of foreboding surrounds the Old Man’s presidency. Corruption is not quite the order of the day but the urgency to paper over the cracks of the transition hem in the lives of the new democratic country’s citizens, in particular its women.

“I don’t know if I had a direct political agenda. My intention, really, was to tell some untold stories,” says Dangor. “I come from an activist family. The things that my family went through …

Continue reading here.

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Watch: Thando Manana discusses his memoir, youth, and the importance of documenting black stories

Thando Manana was the third black African player to don a Springbok jersey after unification in 1992, when he made his debut in 2000 in a tour game against Argentina A.

His route to the top of the game was unpredictable and unusual. From his humble beginnings in the township of New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, Thando grew to become one of the grittiest loose-forwards of South African rugby, despite only starting the game at the age of 16. His rise through rugby ranks, while earning a reputation as a tough-tackling lock and later open side flanker, was astonishingly rapid, especially for a player of colour at the time. Within two years of picking up a rugby ball, he represented Eastern Province at Craven Week, and by 2000 he was a Springbok.

But it isn’t solely Thando’s rugby journey that makes Being a Black Springbok a remarkable sports biography. It’s learning how he has negotiated life’s perils and pitfalls, which threatened to derail both his sporting ambitions and the course of his life.

He had to negotiate an unlikely, but fateful, kinship with a known Port Elizabeth drug-lord, who took Thando under his wing when he was a young, gullible up-and-comer at Spring Rose. Rejected by his father early in his life, Thando had to deal with a sense of abandonment and a missing protective figure and find, along the way, people to lean on.

Thando tells his story with the refreshing candour he has become synonymous with as a rugby commentator, pundit and member of the infamous Room Dividers team on Metro FM. He has arguably become rugby’s strongest advocate for the advancement of black people’s interests in the sport, and his personal journey reveals why.

As the editor of Kick Off magazine, Sibusiso Mjikeliso is one of the youngest editors of a national, monthly publication in South Africa. He has written on rugby, cricket, football and tennis for the Sunday Times, The Times, Daily Dispatch and Sowetan. He has also worked as the senior sports writer for Business Day. Mjikeliso spent time as an exchange reporter at the Sunday Mirror in London, where he wrote on Wimbledon tennis, English Premiership rugby as well as English Premier League football. His versatility as a writer and knowledge of different sporting codes has made him one of the most influential sports writers in South Africa. This is his first book.

Here Thando discusses his book, challenges he faced as a young man, and how black stories ought to be documented:

Being a Black Springbok

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