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In September 2007, Ellen Pakkies, a working mother from Lavender Hill on the Cape Flats, strangled her son to death. The judge in the subsequent trial sentenced her to community service for her crime. What drove Ellen to commit this horrific deed, and why the ostensibly light sentence for such a heinous crime?
The story of what happened over ten years ago has continued to grip public interest, putting a spotlight on the dire and desperate situation faced by many parents of addicted children. A highly successful play was produced in theatres around South Africa in 2011/12, and a full-length movie has recently been made of this story, which will reach the big screen in September 2018.
When Dealing in Death was first published in 2009, the scourge of drug addiction was sweeping across South Africa, affecting every level of society. Little, if anything, has changed since then, as this new edition reveals. The use of tik, particularly in the Western Cape, has skyrocketed, and it was Abie Pakkies’s addiction to this drug, and the horrendous impact it had on his and his family’s lives, that drove Ellen to murder. Her trial exposed the dark underbelly of a community crippled by drug and alcohol abuse, and focused attention on the plight of those who live in poverty and do not have recourse to drug-rehabilitation centres and other measures effective in the treatment of addicts.
Dealing in Death looks at the global and local drugs culture, the predicament of Ellen Pakkies and other mothers like her, and an impoverished community and the apartheid laws that gave birth to it.
In 1980ís apartheid Cape Town, five-year-old Desiree-Anne is grappling with how sheís going to turn her tar baby dollís skin into sweet, soft lily-white. What she has learnt is that Whites are better than "everyone else". She doesnít know how to force her father to stop drinking or gambling or make her mother love her or get the boys and men to stop touching her in secret. She learns how to soothe the pain: through secret masturbation and lying.
As she grows up, she begins to understand the rules of living in her depressed family as well as in her fractured community.
In her teens, laden with the awkwardness of bushy, unruly hair, braces, and a body shorter and rounder than a Womble Ė and now firmly planted in a 'White School', Desiree-Anne is forced to confront her ĎColoured identity crisisí. She turns to self-harm, disordered eating, the thrill of petty theft and escapism through books and acting. Although she wins a place to study drama at UCT, sensing her parents cannot afford the tuition, she opts to go to the UK where she gets lost in bars, clubs and pills. On her return to South Africa she embraces the ďfree loveĒ Ecstasy trance club scene but when she meets Darren, a heroin addict, she turns to needles. Her search for love and acceptance descends into a self-destructive spiral as an intravenous smack addict.
This is a harrowing memoir on the darkness of addiction, but it is also a touching and sometimes humorous account of a little-girl-turned-womanís deep need and reckless pursuit for love. When Desiree-Anne finally finds recovery years later, she uncovers her real voice to talk and write about things that were previously left unspoken.
'I was made in Coffee Bay. Right there on the beach, in the sand.'
From the opening lines, we are drawn in and engrossed by this startling memoir of a singular childhood. Suzan is adopted as a newborn in the late 1960s into a seemingly loving and welcoming family living in Pietermaritzburg. But Suzan is set on a collision course with, most particularly, her adoptive mother, and society, from her very beginning. Suzan's relationship with her mother is fraught with drama, which veers over into a level of emotional abuse and needless cruelty that is shocking.
At the age of thirteen, Suzan is sent to a place of safety as a ward of the state, effectively 'orphaning' her. From there, she spirals out of control – fighting to survive in a world of other neglected, abandoned and abused children. She becomes a 'runner', escaping at every opportunity from her various places of confinement, grabbing her schooling in snatches, living on the edges of a drug and prostitution underworld, finding love wherever she can.
Suzan’s young life was the stuff of movies, but it is her writing, in a voice that is unforgettable and true, that transforms her memories into something magical rarely matched in South African literature. A new classic.
Vaya the film is based on the lives of four young men from the Homeless Writer’s Project: David Majoka, Anthony Mafela, Madoda Ntuli and Tshabalira Lebakeng, and rooted in their experiences of coming to Johannesburg. Vaya the book brings you the people and stories that inspired the award-winning film.
The book provides a rare lens into life on the margins of Johannesburg. The stories are intimate and hard hitting, funny and heartbreaking, full of courage and humanity in a world that is both capricious and unforgiving. Stories of living on the street, of finding family and friendship in unusual places, and coming to the city full of hope and promise only to be betrayed by the very people one trusts most.
Mark Lewis’s haunting photographs bring into sharp focus life in the underbelly of the city.
There are no villains here. Award-winning journalist Paul McNally finds corrupt cops, drug dealers, vigilante residents, addicts, torturers, murderers and cops partnered with drug dealers. But no villains.
Raymond is a shop owner on Ontdekkers Road, in Johannesburg, who takes a baseball bat to the dealers when they break his rules. He systematically records in his notebook the police officers who come – all day, every day – to collect their bribe money from the dealers, and is looking for someone to trust. Khaba is a middle-aged police officer who wants a quiet life but whose demons will not leave him in peace. He is trying to regain his trust in what he once regarded as an honourable profession. Wendy is a petite, ageing police reservist who can handle an R5 rifle with confidence, but not the sadness that accompanies her in her daily life – the loss of her police officer husband, brutally murdered by a drug lord, and the addiction that has her adult son in its grip. She is looking for respect and affirmation and for her own life to have meaning.
Through different paths, the lives of Raymond, Khaba and Wendy intersect on the street as their attention is focused on the current power couple – a drug dealer named Obi and Lerato, a police officer. Seemingly untouchable, Obi and Lerato terrorise Ontdekkers, and in the process upset the balance of this already lawless world.
Exit! is the story of Grizelda Grootboom life of prostitution and her ultimate escape from it all.
Grizelda’s life was dramatically changed when she was gang raped at the age of nine by teenagers in her township. Her story starts there. It is a story about the cycle of poverty, family abandonment, dislocation and survival in the streets of Cape Town. She reveals the seedy and often demonised life of a prostitute; she describes the clubs and beds of the prostitution and drug industry over a twelve-year period.
She moves to Johannesburg at the age of 18 in an attempt to start a new life, but instead she is trafficked on arrival in Yeoville, tied in a room for two weeks and forced to work as a sex slave. What follows is a life of living hand-to-mouth, from one street corner to another, being pimped, being taught how to strip, and acquiring and using a variety of drugs – from buttons, ecstasy and cannabis to cocaine – to sustain herself. She speaks of how her prostitution gains momentum in city strip clubs and the sometimes tragic pregnancies that would follow.
Grizelda’s harrowing tale ends with reconciliation with her family, while raising her six-year-old son. In writing this story she hopes to open a window on the hidden and often misunderstood world of prostitution, thereby raising better awareness and understanding about its harms and the horrors of trafficking and prostitution of women and children, and drug abuse. She hopes to heal and to set an example for others to follow.
Stormie Omartian tells her compelling story of a childhood marred by physical and emotional abuse that eventually led her into the occult, drugs, and tragic relationships.
Finding herself overwhelmed by fear and on the verge of suicide, she shares the turning point that changed her life and reveals the healing process that brought freedom and wholeness beyond what she ever imagined.
In this poignant drama, there is help and hope for anyone who has been scarred by the past or feels imprisoned by deep emotional needs. It is a glorious story of how God can bring life out of death, life out of darkness.
Stormie wrote about some of the things that happened during the first thirty-five years of her life in a book called STORMIE that was published in 1986. She began the story at the major turning point in her life which started her climb out of darkness. She decided to again start at that point of deep darkness she was living in, in order to fully explain what drove her to the point of recognizing her condition and finding help. The following thirty-seven years after that point to the present day, is all new, much of which she has not spoken about publicly before. She feels the entire story should be told in order to prove that once you recognize the darkness for what is it, it is possible to walk out of it and in to the light for the rest of your life.
"My name is Samantha and Iím an alcoholic. At the time of writing, Iíve been sober for 13 years, 11 months and 16 days. And yes I still count. I promised I would never speak about it publicly until my children understood what that meant, that mommy was an alcoholic. I think they may have understood long before I did."
From Whiskey To Water is the no-holds-barred memoir by one of South Africaís most loved radio talk show hosts, Sam Cowen. Having kept her alcohol addiction well away from the public eye for over 14 years, in this tell-all tale, Sam finds the courage to talk about her struggle with her addiction to whiskey, food and finally to a passion that saved her life Ė marathon swimming. Told in her characteristically hilarious dead-pan style, this is one of the bravest books youíll read this year.
"So this is a book on how I stopped drinking? No, itís not. Itís how I stopped drinking, started eating, became clinically severely obese, stopped eating (everything that wasnít nailed down) and swam my way to freedom. No, itís not. Itís actually about addiction and learning and sadness and anxiety and love and drive. Itís about channelling the unchangeable into the miraculous. Itís about dragons and learning how to put them to sleep when you canít slay them. Itís about being my own Daenarys."
"Things Even Gonzalez Can't Fix" is the shockingly brilliant debut memoir of a 24-year-old Greek South African girl, Christy Chilimigras. It is nothing like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". Although there are old women in black plucking stray hairs from their chins, the nuts in the baklava appear by way of a dash of crack cocaine, a sneaky brand of sexual abuse and cereal Tupperwares, packed to the brim with dagga. It is also very funny.
It is the story of a young girl growing up in Johannesburg in a space of pure chaos, raised by two addict parents. In reality Christy, otherwise known as Mouse, is raised by Tiger, her older sister. Their childhood is strange, made up of crack excursions to Hillbrow on second weekends at 3am, courtesy of their father, and a dope-smoking mother, Old Lass, who raises the two young girls single-handedly while starting her own business. Tiger and Mouse’s worlds are overturned when Old Lass proceeds to marry an alcoholic control freak under an unsuspecting tree, only to get arrested following an invasion by the Hawks.
“Children of addicts are curious things. We are deathly serious. We tinker on the edge of the worst case scenario. We are manic in our joy. We mean to dip our toes, but rather dive head first into extremes. We despise drugs … and people who do drugs. So what then does it say about me when at 16 I fall desperately in love with a boy who perpetually has a joint dangling from his lips?”
"Things Even Gonzalez Can't Fix" is also a disturbingly brutal story about two sisters, raised by a father who has been sexualising them since they were toddlers.
“We are desperate for answers and the knowledge of where to place our discomfort. If it feels like abuse and hurts like abuse, but it doesn’t look like the abuse we read about in magazines, does it even count?”
At 16 Christy falls in love with Olive Oil, a dopehead addict, then, at 22, with a much older sado masochist, The Italian, who introduces her to a world of dangerously rough sex.
“The book is my attempt at reclaiming my sanity and sexuality, which was colonised a long time ago. It involved countless bowls of pasta, glasses of wine (which best you believe I overthought) and a compulsion to be honest; very honest. Like oh sweet Jesus it hurts to spill your guts. It hurts to be this honest.”
A book that simply pulsates with edgy originality, that unleashes a Millennial’s unapologetic perspective of our world, Christy Chilimigras is a new voice that demands to be read. Not since Kopano Matlwa’s "Coconut" has a book promised to shake perspectives and overturn the way we see things.
Hykie Berg is a well-known film and TV actor, popular across South Africa. He is also an addict. At the height of his career, Hykie lost all and nearly died. In this book he candidly shares his life story, from the drug dens of Hillbrow to a maximum security cell in Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, where God saved him from certain death. Hykie invites you to remember that God’s love is also meant for you and that God never gives up on us, no matter what we do.
When Daniel Baxter, the medical director of a large community health centre in New York City, accepted an invitation to work in Botswana, he hardly knew where to find the country on a map. Yet he set out nonetheless, naively confident that he would do good by bringing his first-world expertise to help in the roll-out of Africa's first HIV/AIDS treatment programme. But Baxter's good intentions were quickly overwhelmed by the reality of AIDS in Africa, his misguided altruism engulfed by the sea of need around him. Lifted up by Botswana's remarkable and forgiving people and by the country's majestic beauty, Baxter soldiered on. His memorable encounters with those living with HIV/AIDS - their unfathomable woes assuaged by their oft-repeated declaration ''But God is good!'' - profoundly changed the way he thought about himself and his role as a doctor. Eight years later, when Baxter finally left Africa to return to the United States, he realised he was not so much the giver as the recipient of a great human gift. Compelling, humorous, courageous and often heart-breaking, One Life at a Time documents the extraordinary experiences of a fallible but compassionate doctor working at the front line of HIV/AIDS care in Botswana.
This is the story of a small black boy and his indomitable white mother's courageous battle against Aids. Nkosi's biological mother was dying when Gail Johnson took the two-year-old into her home. We are shown a moving portrait of a fight that is both intensely personal - as mother and son work to keep Nkosi's ailing immune system from collapsing - and regrettably political, as they engage government policy and the ignorance of a sector of their community. Nkosi has become an international icon on issues related to HIV/Aids and children's rights. He was posthumously awarded The World's Children's Prize for the Rights of Children - commonly referred to as 'The Children's Nobel Prize'.
Could happiness lie in helping others and being open to accepting help yourself? Mentors - the follow up to Sunday Times number one bestseller, Recovery - describes the benefits of seeking and offering help. `I have mentors in every area of my life, as a comic, a dad, a recovering drug addict, a spiritual being and as a man who believes that we, as individuals and the great globe itself, are works in progress and that through a chain of mentorship we can improve individually and globally, together . . . One of the unexpected advantages my drug addiction granted is that the process of recovery that I practise includes a mentorship tradition. I will encourage you to find mentors of your own and explain how you may better use the ones you already have. Furthermore, I will tell you about my experiences mentoring others and how invaluable that has been on my ongoing journey to self-acceptance and how it has helped me to transform from a bewildered and volatile vagabond to a (mostly) present and (usually) focussed husband and father.' - Russell Brand Mentors: How to Help and Be Helped describes the impact that a series of significant people have had on the author - from the wayward youths he tried to emulate growing up in Essex, through the first ex-junkie sage, to the people he turns to today to help him be a better father. It explores how we all - consciously and unconsciously - choose guides, mentors and heroes throughout our lives and examines the new perspectives they can bring.
Each chapter begins with a story of the experience of HIV/AIDS. Based on the story, a particular aspect of living with HIV/AIDS is discussed. The reader is encouraged to reflect on how these issues challenge us and carry the seeds of hope. Two or three texts are taken from the spiritual and religious traditions of the world, to deepen the reflection. Each chapter culminates in suggestions for positive, practical action for the whole school and for the classroom. Thus the chapters are structured according to the Look, Judge, Act method.
In some parts of South Africa, more than one in three people are HIV positive. Love in the Time of AIDS explores transformations in notions of gender and intimacy to try to understand the roots of this virulent epidemic. By living in an informal settlement and collecting love letters, cell phone text messages, oral histories, and archival materials, Mark Hunter details the everyday social inequalities that have resulted in untimely deaths. Hunter shows how first apartheid and then chronic unemployment have become entangled with ideas about femininity, masculinity, love, and sex and have created an economy of exchange that perpetuates the transmission of HIV/AIDS. This sobering ethnography challenges conventional understandings of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
An account of the illicit drug trade and sex industry which shows how post-apartheid South Africa has been drawn closely into the global market for drugs, while continuing to exhibit its own peculiarities. Included is a discussion of official policy towards vice and suggestions for effective control measures.
`Spectacular. I can't stop thinking about it. Louisa Young is a beautiful, beautiful writer' Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love This brutal, beautiful memoir from award-winning novelist Louisa Young is a heartbreaking portrayal of love, grief and the merciless grip of addiction. Louisa first met Robert Lockhart when they were both 17. Their stop-start romance lasted decades, in which time he became a celebrated composer and she, an acclaimed novelist. Always snapping at their heels was Robert's alcoholism, a helpless, ferocious dependency that affected his personality before crippling and finally, despite five years of hard-won sobriety, killing him. There are a million love stories, and a million stories of addiction. This one is truly transcendent. It is at once a compelling portrait of a unique and charismatic man; a bittersweet reflection on an all-consuming love affair; and a completely honest and incredibly affecting guide to how the partner of an alcoholic can possibly survive when the disease rips both their lives apart. This is a hugely important book - raw and unflinching but also uplifting and elegiac, it should be essential reading for anybody who's ever lost someone they loved.
'A riveting and urgent reckoning of colossal corruption.' – Philip Gourevitch
One hundred and fifty Americans are killed each day by the opioid epidemic, described by a former head of the Food and Drug Administration as 'one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine'. But as Chris McGreal reveals in American Overdose, it was an avoidable tragedy driven by bad science, corporate greed and a corrupted medical system.
In a narrative brimming with the guilty, the victims and the unlikely heroes, Chris McGreal travels from West Virginia 'pill mills' to the corridors of Washington DC as he unravels the story of Big Pharma’s hijacking of American healthcare and politics to push mass prescribing of 'heroin in a pill'.
He meets the police and FBI agents who struggled to get prosecutors to go after doctors they called 'drug dealers in white coats'; the families devastated by painkillers they thought would heal, not kill; and the physicians and scientists who took on the drug companies behind the epidemic. The result is an immensely powerful account of the terrible human cost of the crisis, and a stark warning of the consequences of a healthcare system run as a business, not a service.
Heterosexual Africa? The History of an idea from the age of exploration to the age of AIDS explores the historical processes by which a singular, heterosexual identity for Africa was constructed. Epprecht argues that Africans, just like people all over the world, have always had a range of sexualities and sexual identities. Heterosexual Africa? aims to understand an enduring stereotype about Africa and Africans. It asks how Africa came to be defined as a "homosexual-free zone" during the colonial era, and how this idea not only survived the transition to independence but flourished under conditions of globalisation and early panicky responses to HIV/AIDS. In this timely volume, Epprecht examines a number of issues concerning sexuality and the construction of sexual identities that have largely been overlooked by studies of African ethnology in the past.
The international bestseller, translated by the award-winning translator of The Tobacconist, Charlotte Collins Winner of the European Union Prize for Literature 'Original and captivating . . . its quiet charm in straightforward prose belies its sharp insight into the human condition' Stylist 'It is impossible to look away from it' Guardian 'Dazzling' John Irving *************** I've known Death a long time but now Death knows me. When their idyllic childhood is shattered by the sudden death of their parents, siblings Marty, Liz and Jules are sent to a bleak state boarding school. Once there, the orphans' lives change tracks: Marty throws himself into academic life; Liz is drawn to dark forms of escapism; and Jules transforms from a vivacious child to a withdrawn teenager. The only one who can bring him out of his shell is his mysterious classmate Alva, who hides a dark past of her own, but despite their obvious love for one another, the two leave school on separate paths. Years later, just as it seems that they can make amends for time wasted, the past catches up with them, and fate - or chance - will once again alter the course of a life. Told through the fractured lives of the siblings, The End of Loneliness is a heartfelt, enriching novel about loss and loneliness, family and love. *************** 'This novel has been rightfully described as something of a masterpiece. One thing is for sure - it is not easily forgotten' Sunday Post 'Beautifully rendered: moving and wise, occasionally timeless . . . when Wells most needs to be sophisticated, he is' Irish Times 'A superbly insightful story' BookRiot
"They'd degraded me to the point where I'd become this sex thing - this thing that wasn't human, but just an object. To the point where I believed that's what I was." Kate's ordeal began when she was living in sheltered accommodation, and she was violently introduced to an Asian sex ring. Traumatised and alone, she was too weak to try to escape or even tell anyone. Four years later, she had been passed between over 70 men in the West Midlands, was on drugs, and suffered with PTSD so severe she was on the edge of suicide. So when Operation Chalice came to recruit her, would she be strong enough to turn the tables and bring her abusers down?
Much has been written about how many parents, children and educators are infected or affected by HIV and Aids. However, little has been offered in the way of practical, pedagogical and emotional help for teachers dealing with HIV and Aids in their classrooms. This updated book is an attempt to help those teachers cope on a day-to-day basis in the classroom. This revised edition of Dealing with HIV and Aids in the classroom was inspired by reflections, comments and photographs provided by real teachers who created a new understanding of what it is like to be a teacher in a world where HIV and Aids are endemic.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK CHOSEN AS A 2018 SUMMER READ BY THE SUNDAY TIMES, FINANCIAL TIMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH, THE TIMES AND THE MAIL ON SUNDAY 'Revelatory' Guardian 'A miracle' Telegraph 'A landmark book' Financial Times Brave, illuminating and inspiring, Somebody I Used to Know gets to the very heart of what it means to be human. What do you lose when you lose your memories? What do you value when this loss reframes how you've lived, and how you will live in the future? How do you conceive of love when you can no longer recognise those who are supposed to mean the most to you? When she was diagnosed with dementia at the age of fifty-eight, Wendy Mitchell was confronted with the most profound questions about life and identity. All at once, she had to say goodbye to the woman she used to be. Her demanding career in the NHS, her ability to drive, cook and run - the various shades of her independence - were suddenly gone. Philosophical, profoundly moving, insightful and ultimately full of hope, Somebody I Used to Know is both a heart-rending tribute to the woman Wendy once was, and a brave affirmation of the woman dementia has seen her become.
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