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Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

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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Watch: Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu discusses The Soweto Uprisings on SABC

When the Soweto uprisings of June 1976 took place, Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu, the author of The Soweto Uprisings: Counter Memories of June 1976 was a 14-year-old pupil at Phefeni Junior Secondary School.

With his classmates, he was among the active participants in the protest action against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

Contrary to the generally accepted views, both that the uprisings were ‘spontaneous’ and that there were bigger political players and student organisations behind the uprisings, Sifiso’s book shows that this was not the case.

Using newspaper articles, interviews with former fellow pupils and through his own personal account, Sifiso provides us with a ‘counter-memory’ of the momentous events of that time.

Here Professor Ndlovu discusses the book and his participation in the protest on SABC’S Morning Live Show with Leanne Manas:

The Soweto Uprisings

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“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.

Watch the video:

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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.

Watch the video:


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