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Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

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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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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We Need a Culture of Consequence – Onkgopotse JJ Tabane on Why He Wrote Let’s Talk Frankly

Let's Talk FranklyPolity’s Samantha Herbst recently interviewed Onkgopotse JJ Tabane about his book, Let’s Talk Frankly: Letters to Influential South Africans About the State of Our Nation.

Tabane says there are two main reasons why he wrote the book: The issue of accountability and the culture of acquiescence and silence.

“This is only the first book, there will be many others before I die,” Tabane quips, explaining that we need a culture of consequence. “The issue is that there is no sense of consequence in dealing with corruption.”

Watch the video:

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Read All About Nnedi Okorafor’s Recently Published Binti (With Excerpt and Interview) 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. 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. 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’s new novella program. My novella Binti is the first story I’ve ever written that is set in outer space.’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, 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. 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 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. 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, 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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Kabelo Mabalane: The Hardest Part of Writing I Ran For My Life Was Reliving the Past (Video)

I Ran For My LifeI Ran For My Life: My Story by Kabelo Mabalane, co-written with Nechama Brodie, tells the remarkable story of how the TKZee kwaito star battled with drugs and won.

Mabalane was not alone in the battle. At the launch of his book at Exclusive Books Rosebank earlier this month, Mabalane told Eusebius McKaiser that the drugs left a dark void he needed to fill, and running became his substitute high. Not only is he today a 10-time SAMA award-winner, TV presenter, athlete and entrepreneur, he’s also completed eight Comrades Marathons.

Channel24 interviewed Mabalane at the launch of I Ran For My Life. The author said that his story is one of hope, and he hopes it will inspire people who are in the same position.

Watch the video:

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Mabalane, who’s been clean and sober for 13 years, said the hardest part of writing the book was “going back to relive this stuff” and “being reminded of how much you were such a loser”. Reflecting on the process, he explains why going back and being vulnerable was important to writing the book.

Watch the video (part 1):

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Watch the video (part 2):

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Helen Herimbi interviewed Mabalane for Tonight about the life that inspired the book. A big part of I Ran For My Life also deals with Mabalane’s relationship with his father and the traumatic experience of watching him die.

Mabalane’s mother later married Poet Laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile, who told Herimbi at the book launch that he was proud of Mabalane’s courage:

A major thread of the book is family. At the launch, I caught up with his mother, who commented: “I’m happy that we’re laughing about it now. When it happened it wasn’t a laughing matter.”

Although his father has died – which is a heart-wrenching section of the book – Mabalane’s mother remarried South African lauded literature giant, Keorapetse Kgositsile, whom Kabelo referred to as “Papa” at the launch.

I asked Kgositsile what he thought of Mabalane’s book and he said: “Ja, I’ve read the book. I thought it was very courageous on Kabelo’s part to share even the non-flattering aspects of what he’s been through. But at least one could see that it was also guided by a desire for that kind of life to not be repeated.”

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The Web is a Wild West; What You Create Can Make or Break You – Alex van Tonder on Influencer Marketing

This One TimeAlex van Tonder, copywriter and author of This One Time, was recently interviewed by World Wide Creative’s Heavy Chef about digital influencer marketing and how it relates to her novel.

In the interview, Van Tonder speaks about her work on the #Pharrellwithwoolies campaign and why it has been a successful and worthwhile brand move for Woolworths, where she is a fashion copywriter.

Van Tonder says that she explored influencers and branding and how they generate traction in her novel:

Tell us a little bit about your novel, This One Time and how you drew on your experience as a writer and influencer marketing specialist to develop the main character.

This One Time explores the idea of responsible creativity. Brodie Lomax, the main character, creates a persona who becomes so powerful that he loses control of it and it creates a monster entirely separate from him which has its own power and influence and momentum. At the moment the web is a wild west – you can create something with the click of a button and those ideas can make or break you. I write a lot about the ideas and themes I explore in this blog post. “The things you create have the power to create, too” – that’s a major theme in my work.

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Frank Talk on the Justice Factor: Onkgopotse JJ Tabane Talks About Let’s Talk Frankly (Video)

Let's Talk FranklyJustice Malala recently invited Onkgopotse JJ Tabane onto the Justice Factor where he spoke about his book, Let’s Talk Frankly: Letters to Influential South Africans About the State of Our Nation.

Malala asks: “Why did you write a book that says, Let’s Talk Frankly? What is it about?” Tabane says the book contains a selection of letters that he wrote to 21 influential South Africans, and an extra letter to “the signal jammer, whoever that is”.

Tabane decided to write the book for two reasons. First, he says, “citizens must get in the habit of getting leaders to account directly”. “If you write a letter to a minister they’re obliged to respond as servants of the people.”

The second reason is to stimulate a culture of debate, of “flourishing, divergent views”, which in Tabane’s opinion has deteriorated since 1994.

“Onkgopotse, I totally disagree with you,” Malala interjects. “You write for the Daily Maverick, I sit here calling people losers of the week.”

“You’re an exception, Justice, that’s the trouble,” Tabane objects.

Malala continues: “So many of us are speaking very eloquently and we are not being stopped.”

“That’s true, but you see it’s the quality of that debate that worries me,” Tabane insists.

Watch the passionate discussion between the two commentators:


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“I’m a South African Science Journalist, Ask Me Anything” – Read Sarah Wild’s Reddit AMA

InnovationInnovasieSarah Wild, one of South Africa’s leading science journalists and author of Innovation: Shaping South Africa through Science, recently took part in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), in which Reddit users sign in to ask the participant any question they like.

The interview was hosted on the channel dedicated to South Africa, with questions ranging from “Why is science so badly reported in South Africa?” and “What is the most exciting science developments you think South Africans should look forward to in the next five years?” to “How would one go about getting their book published in South Africa?” and “How senile is Tim Noakes really?”

Read the AMA to see how Wild answered these pressing questions:

What is the level of cooperation between scientists and the media in South Africa?

  • Are you satisfied with the level of communication between scientists and journalists?
  • Is there something like a “professional scientists’ press club” – a collection of go-to scientists in different fields that journalists can contact in case of an applicable story breaking?
  • Is it easy for scientists to suggest a story to journalists? Typically, a scientist will know about an interesting event long before the media catches on.

Different people have different experiences of this. I understand some scientists are very suspicious of journalists because they have been burned by the experience of interacting with them.

I have never had that problem, and I know that my science journalist colleagues have very good relationships with scientists in this country.

So, 1. I am satisfied with my communication with scientists, but I can’t speak to general reporters. 2. There is an association: South African Science Journalists Association (for journos and comms). But the South African science space is relatively small. It is not difficult to pick up a phone and find a specialist. 3. Scientists often contact me with stories — papers that they are publishing, problems they have, etc. But that is the result of years of relationship building.

Innovation: Shaping South Africa through Science is also available in Afrikaans as Innovasie: Hoe wetenskap Suid-Afrika vorm. It was published in August and celebrates all the science and innovation happening in South Africa right now, addressing real problems on the ground and helping people in South Africa to live healthier, happier lives.


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Mtutuzeli Nyoka: Was the Struggle Only to Replace White Corruption with Black Corruption? (On Cricket SA)

Deliberate ConcealmentTelford Vice recently interviewed Mtutuzeli Nyoka about his memoir Deliberate Concealment: An Insider’s Account of Cricket South Africa and the IPL Bonus Saga for a Sunday Times article.

In the interview, Nyoka speaks about his soured relationship with Gerald Majola, his close childhood friend who also turned out to be a corrupt beneficiary of the bonus scandal that threatened to tear South African cricket apart a few years ago.

Nyoka is grateful for the long friendship he enjoyed with Majola, as they grew up in the same neighbourhood and shared many significant moments. However, when the corruption Majola was involved in was uncovered, Nyoka says he realised “our values were irreconcilable, and events left us little choice but to be on the opposite sides of a protracted and dirty conflict”.

Read the article:

In Deliberate Concealment: An Insider’s Account of Cricket South Africa and the IPL Bonus Saga, Mtutuzeli Nyoka – at the time Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) whistle-blowing president who took the lead in exposing the controversy – details dirty dealings in other administrators’ attempts to weasel their way out of trouble.

“We have a history of struggle in this country and we need to ask ourselves what we were struggling for,” Nyoka told the Sunday Times. “Was it to replace corruption with honour and honesty, or was it to replace white corruption with black corruption?”

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