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As a medical detective of the modern world, forensic pathologist Ryan Blumenthal’s chief goal is to bring perpetrators to justice. He has performed thousands of autopsies, which have helped bring numerous criminals to book. In Autopsy he covers the hard lessons learnt as a rookie pathologist, as well as some of the most unusual cases he’s encountered.
During his career, for example, he has dealt with high-profile deaths, mass disasters, death by lightning and people killed by African wildlife. Blumenthal takes the reader behind the scenes at the mortuary, describing a typical autopsy and the instruments of the trade. He also shares a few trade secrets, like how to establish when a suicide is more likely to be a homicide.
Even though they cannot speak, the dead have a lot to say – and Blumenthal is there to listen.
It’s easy to imagine that state capture began with Jacob Zuma and the Guptas. But you’d be wrong.
Born out of the ANC Women’s League 20 years ago, Bosasa has come to be described as the ANC’s ‘Heart of Darkness’. At its helm today is Gavin Watson, a struggle-rugby-player-turned-tenderpreneur who made it his business to splash out on gifts and cash to get up close and personal with the country’s top politicians and civil servants. In return, Bosasa won tenders to the tune of billions of rands and – with friends in high places – stayed clear of prosecution. Adriaan Basson has been investigating Bosasa since he was a rookie journalist 13 years ago. He has been sued, intimidated and threatened, but has stuck to the story like a bloodhound. Now, in the wake of the explosive findings of the Zondo commission, he has weaved the threads of Bosasa’s story together.
Blessed by Bosasa is a riveting in-depth investigation into an extraordinary story of high-level corruption and rampant pillage, of backdoor dealings and grandiose greed. Through substantial research and a number of interviews with key individuals, Basson unveils the shady, cult-like underbelly of the criminal company that held the Zuma government in the palm of its hand.
Cape Town, 2018. South Africa’s mother city is wracked by drought. The prospect of premier Helen Zille’s ‘Day Zero’ – the day when all taps run dry – is driving its citizens into a frenzy. When it’s announced that Mayor Patricia de Lille is off the water crisis, the predicament reaches its zenith and politicians turn upon each other.
And so begins a stupendous battle within the Democratic Alliance: who will lead Cape Town? It’s during this time that author and researcher Crispian Olver applies to the City of Cape Town to gain access to certain official documents as part of a research project. He is baffled when his application is rejected without explanation, but this only strengthens his resolve to explore how the city of his childhood is run. In particular, he has his sights set on the relationship between city politicians and property developers.
Olver interviews numerous individuals, including many ‘chopped’ from the city administration. What he uncovers is a pandora’s box of backstabbing, in-fighting and backroom deals. He explores dodgy property developments at Wescape and Maiden’s Cove, delves into attempts to ‘hijack’ civic associations, and exposes the close yet precautious relationship between the mayor and City Hall’s so-called ‘laptop boys’. But his main goal is to understand what led to the political meltdown within the Democratic Alliance, and the defection of De Lille to form her own party.
In the 1990s, deep-cover police agent RS536 took on the Durban underworld as part of a new organised crime intelligence unit. He rubbed shoulders with drug lords, smugglers and corrupt cops, and was instrumental in busting an international drug ring and foiling a bank heist, among many other dangerous engagements.
But then, as the country’s new democracy birthed a struggle between the old and the new guard in the South African Police Service, his identity and his life came under threat. In this action-packed account, Johann van Loggerenberg describes how, as a young policeman, he worked closely with the investigative team of the Goldstone Commission to uncover the ‘third force’ – apartheid security forces that supplied weapons to the Inkatha Freedom Party to destabilise the country.
He also delves into how and why, at the height of state capture at the South African Revenue Service in 2014, he was falsely accused of being an apartheid spy, a lie that persists up to today. Here, finally, is the truth behind deep-cover police agent RS536.
If a mere seven more MPs had voted with Prime Minister JBM Hertzog in favour of neutrality, South Africa’s history would have been quite different.
Parliament’s narrow decision to go to war in 1939 led to a seismic upheaval throughout the 1940s: black people streamed in their thousands from rural areas to the cities in search of jobs; volunteers of all races answered the call to go ‘up north’ to fight; and opponents of the Smuts government actively hindered the war effort by attacking soldiers and committing acts of sabotage. World War Two upended South Africa’s politics, ruining attempts to forge white unity and galvanising opposition to segregation among African, Indian and coloured communities. It also sparked debates among nationalists, socialists, liberals and communists such as the country had never previously experienced.
As Richard Steyn recounts so compellingly in 7 Votes, the war’s unforeseen consequence was the boost it gave to nationalism, both Afrikaner and African, that went on to transform the country in the second half of the 20th century. The book brings to life an extraordinary cast of characters, including wartime leader Jan Smuts, DF Malan and his National Party colleagues, African nationalists from Anton Lembede and AB Xuma to Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela, the influential Indian activists Yusuf Dadoo and Monty Naicker, and many others.
“Die leser word geprikkel en met vele vrae gelaat . . . Hoe goed ken ’n mens werklik jou gesinslede of enigiemand anders? Hoe vernietigend is groepsdruk, hoe intimiderend die behoefte aan tuishoort? Uiters aktueel, nie net in Amerika nie.” – Deborah Steinmair, joernalis en skrywer
Nadat hy jare lank wreed verbaal en fisiek deur klasmaats geboelie is, knak die 17-jarige Peter Houghton een oggend. Binne slegs neëntien minute sterf tien inwoners van die dorp Sterling in Amerika.
Die geskokte gemeenskap is vasberade dat geregtigheid moet geskiet. Soos die hofsaak ontvou en Peter getuienis lewer, kom dit egter aan die lig dat die inwoners van Sterling ’n rol daarin gespeel het om ’n innemende, liefdevolle seun in ’n moordenaar te laat verander.
In ’n era waarin boeliegedrag toenemend ’n probleem is, hou hierdie meesleurende boek talle insigte in vir ouers, onderwysers en tieners.
The story of the Springboks 2019 Rugby World Cup victory is one of the
most inspiring in South African sporting history.
Herbs are rewarding and versatile plants. They are easy to grow and add
colour, texture and fragrance to our gardens and food.
Rodney Trudgeon's Concert Notes is a collection of essays on famous classical, orchestral compositions. The pieces in this collection have appeared in concert programmes that have accompanied performances by the Cape Town and Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestras.
Rodney Trudgeon is a well-known radio host and presenter on Fine Music Radio. He is an expert on the range of musical genres that broadly fall under the category "classical music". The text that comprises Rodney Trudgeon's Concert Notes is structured alphabetically according to composer and gives a broad overview of the development of classical music, starting with the Baroque period and ending with modern, atonal music. Each piece is dedicated to a particular musical composition, describing its highlights, its history, and what makes it unique.
Broadly, the pieces are grouped together according to the following three broad categories: ouvertures, concertos, and symphonies, mimicking the structure of concert programmes. Each entry also includes a short biography of its composer. Trudgeon's style is easy to read and accessible to all readers: from those who listen to classical music regularly to those who are unfamiliar with it. Overall, this collection is a useful and informative musical guide, making a case for listening to orchestral music.
Africa Reimagined is a passionately argued appeal for a rediscovery of our African identity. Going beyond the problems of a single country, Hlumelo Biko calls for a reorientation of values, on a continental scale, to suit the needs and priorities of Africans. Building on the premise that slavery, colonialism, imperialism and apartheid fundamentally unbalanced the values and indeed the very self-concept of Africans, he offers realistic steps to return to a more balanced Afro-centric identity.
Historically, African values were shaped by a sense of abundance, in material and mental terms, and by strong ties of community. The intrusion of religious, economic and legal systems imposed by conquerors, traders and missionaries upset this balance, and the African identity was subsumed by the values of the newcomers. Biko shows how a reimagining of Africa can restore the sense of abundance and possibility, and what a rebirth of the continent on Pan-African lines might look like. This is not about the churn of the news cycle or party politics – although he identifies the political party as one of the most pernicious legacies of colonialism. Instead, drawing on latest research, he offers a practical, pragmatic vision anchored in the here and now.
By looking beyond identities and values imposed from outside, and transcending the divisions and frontiers imposed under colonialism, it should be possible for Africans to develop fully their skills, values and ingenuity, to build institutions that reflect African values, and to create wealth for the benefit of the continent as a whole.
Veteran journalist Anton Harber brings all his investigative skills to bear on his very own profession, the media. For two years he conducted dozens of interviews with politicians, journalists, policemen and 'deep throats', before piecing together two remarkable tales.
The first is a chilling story of police death squads, rogue units and renditions, and how South Africa's leading newspaper was duped into doing the dirty work of corrupt politicians. The second starts with a broken and discarded hard drive and evolves, with many near misses, into the exposure of the depths of the Guptas' influence over the ruling party.
Harber's two tales reveal the lows and highs of journalism during an era of state capture. His book is both a disquieting exposé of how easily the media can be duped by a conniving cabal for its own selfish ends, and a celebration of brilliant investigative reporting by brave and ethical journalists.
The Love Song Of Andre P. Brink is the first biography of this major South African novelist who, during his lifetime, was published in over 30 languages and ranked with the likes of Gabriel García Márquez, Peter Carey and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Leon de Kock’s eagerly awaited account of Brink’s life is richly informed by a previously unavailable literary treasure: the dissident Afrikaner’s hoard of journal-writing, a veritable chronicle that was 54 years in the making. In this massive new biographical source – running to a million words – Brink does not spare himself, or anyone else for that matter, as he narrates the ups and downs of his five marriages and his compulsive affairs with a great number of women. These are precisely the topics that the rebel in both politics and sex skated over in his memoir, A Fork in the Road.
De Kock’s biographical study of the author who came close to winning the Nobel Prize for Literature not only synthesises the journals but also subjects them to searching critical analysis. In addition, the biographer measures the journals against additional sources, both scholarly and otherwise, among them the testimony of Brink’s friends, family, wives and lovers.
The Love Song Of Andre P. Brink subjects Brink’s literary legacy to a bracing scholarly re-evaluation, making this major new biography a crucial addition to scholarship on Brink
"White, and more white, in every imaginable shade. Each and every second in this whiteness became an ordeal: being this close to the magnetic South Pole made the needle of my compass spin like the hands of a crazy watch. I didn't know where I was heading. I was a blind man in the middle of Antarctica ... "
South African-born explorer Mike Horn achieved his childhood dream of crossing Antarctica in February 2017. Journeying alone across this immense, white desert on foot and by kite-ski, he followed an unexplored path: 5 100 kilometres over crevasses, ice fields and some of the highest summits of the South Pole.
Dream of a Lifetime: Crossing Antarctica tells the story of the authorʼs deeply personal quest, which followed the loss of his wife. It is the narrative of an individual testing his limits and overcoming adversity through willpower, with the support of family and friends.
In Foreign Native, RW Johnson looks back with affection and humour on his life in Africa. From schooldays in Durban – fresh off the aeroplane from Merseyside – to later years as an academic, director of the Helen Suzman Foundation and formidable political commentator, he has produced an entertaining and occasionally eye-popping memoir brimming with history, anecdote and insight.
Johnson charts his evolution from enthusiastic, left-leaning Africanist to political realist, relating the episodes that influenced his intellectual worldview, including time spent among the exiled liberation movements in London during the 1960s, a sojourn in newly independent Guinea and more recent forays into Zimbabwe. There are wonderful stories, some hilarious, others filled with pathos, about the multitude of characters – Harold Strachan, Tom Sharpe, Ronnie Kasrils, Helen Suzman, Frederik van zyl Slabbert, among many others – that he met along the way.
Perceptive, critical and full of verve, Foreign Native is leavened with a deep humanity that makes it a pleasure to read.
Showcasing the work of more than 200 women writers of African descent, this major international collection celebrates their contributions to literature and international culture.
Twenty-five years ago, Margaret Busby’s groundbreaking anthology Daughters Of Africa illuminated the “silent, forgotten, underrated voices of black women” (Washington Post). Published to international acclaim, it was hailed as “an extraordinary body of achievement… a vital document of lost history” (Sunday Times). New Daughters Of Africa continues that mission for a new generation, bringing together a selection of overlooked artists of the past with fresh and vibrant voices that have emerged from across the globe in the past two decades, from Antigua to Zimbabwe with numerous South African contributors. Key figures join popular contemporaries in paying tribute to the heritage that unites them. Each of the pieces in this remarkable collection demonstrates an uplifting sense of sisterhood, honours the strong links that endure from generation to generation, and addresses the common obstacles women writers of colour face as they negotiate issues of race, gender and class, and confront vital matters of independence, freedom and oppression.
Custom, tradition, friendships, sisterhood, romance, sexuality, intersectional feminism, the politics of gender, race, and identity—all and more are explored in this glorious collection of work from over 200 writers. New Daughters Of Africa spans a wealth of genres—autobiography, memoir, oral history, letters, diaries, short stories, novels, poetry, drama, humour, politics, journalism, essays and speeches—to demonstrate the diversity and remarkable literary achievements of black women.
New Daughters Of Africa features a number of well-known South African contributors including Gabeba Baderoon, Nadia Davids, Diana Ferrus, Vangile Gantsho, Barbara Masekela, Lebogang Mashile and Sisonke Msimang.
Throughout the past 50 years, the courts have been a battleground for contesting political forces as more and more conflicts that were once fought in Parliament or in streets, or through strikes and media campaigns, find their way to the judiciary.
Certainly, the legal system was used by both the apartheid state and its opponents. But it is in the post-apartheid era, and in particular under the rule of President Jacob Zuma, that we have witnessed a dramatic increase in ‘lawfare’: the migration of politics to the courts.
The authors show through a series of case studies how just about every aspect of political life ends up in court: the arms deal, the demise of the Scorpions, the Cabinet reshuffle, the expulsion of the EFF from Parliament, the nuclear procurement process, the Cape Town mayor…
In 1987–1988 the dusty Angolan town of Cuito Cuanavale was the backdrop for the final battles of the Border War. Ever since the war ended, the fighting around Cuito has been the subject of a fierce public debate over who actually won the war.
While the leadership of the former South African Defence Force (SADF) claims it was never defeated, the supporters of the Angolan MPLA government, Cuba and SWAPO insist that the SADF was vanquished on the battlefield. They contend that the SADF wanted to overrun Cuito Cuanavale and use it as a springboard for an advance on Luanda.
But was Cuito Cuanavale ever really an objective of the SADF? Leopold Scholtz tackles this question by examining recently declassified documents in the SANDF archives, exploring the strategic and tactical decisions that shaped the six main battles, from the SADF’s stunning tactical success on the Lomba River to the grinding struggle for the Tumpo Triangle.
His incisive analysis untangles what happens when war, politics and propaganda become entwined.
In The Eight Zulu Kings, well-respected and widely published historian John Laband examines the reigns of the eight Zulu kings from 1816 to the present.
Starting with King Shaka, the renowned founder of the Zulu kingdom, he charts the lives of the kings Dingane, Mpande, Cetshwayo, Dinuzulu, Solomon and Cyprian, to today’s King Goodwill Zwelithini whose role is little more than ceremonial.
In the course of this investigation Laband places the Zulu monarchy in the context of African kingship and tracks and analyses the trajectory of the Zulu kings from independent and powerful pre-colonial African rulers to largely powerless traditionalist figures in post-apartheid South Africa.
In this riveting new book, John Laband, pre-eminent historian of the Zulu Kingdom, tackles some of the questions that swirl around the assassination in 1828 of King Shaka, the celebrated founder of the Zulu Kingdom and war leader of legendary brilliance: Why did prominent members of the royal house conspire to kill him? Just how significant a part did the white hunter-traders settled at Port Natal play in their royal patron's downfall? Why were Shaka's relations with the British Cape Colony key to his survival? And why did the powerful army he had created acquiesce so tamely in the usurpation of the throne by Dingane, his half-brother and assassin?
In his search for answers Laband turns to the Zulu voice heard through recorded oral testimony and praise-poems, and to the written accounts and reminiscences of the Port Natal trader-hunters and the despatches of Cape officials. In the course of probing and assessing this evidence the author vividly brings the early Zulu kingdom and its inhabitants to life. He throws light on this elusive character of and his own unpredictable intentions, while illuminating the fears and ambitions of those attempting to prosper and survive in his hazardous kingdom: a kingdom that nevertheless endured in all its essential characteristics, particularly militarily, until its destruction fifty one years later in 1879 by the British; and whose fate, legend has it, Shaka predicted with his dying breath.
In this clear and engaging basic guide to managing your finances, Sam Beckbessinger covers topics from compound interest and inflation to “Your brain on money”, negotiating a raise, and particularly local South African phenomena like “black tax”.
The book includes exercises and “how-to’s”, doesn’t shy away from the psychology of money, and is empowering, humorous and helpful.
The book you wish you’d had at 25, but is never too late to read.
"A patient is standing in the middle of the river. He gazes across the water to the city and the mountain above where the sun is setting. His back is turned to the hospital. The nurses are waiting for him patiently on the river bank. He seems uncertain whether to cross the river or to return. There is no danger. He is on the edge, in an in-between space, as is the hospital where I have worked as a specialist psychiatrist for over twenty-five years."
For many of us, what lies beyond conventional portrayals of mental illness is often shrouded in mystery, misconception and fear. Dr Sean Baumann spent decades as a psychiatrist at Valkenberg Hospital and, through his personal engagement with patients’ various forms of psychosis, he describes the lived experiences of those who suffer from schizophrenia, depression, bipolar and other disorders.
The stories told are authentic, mysterious and compelling, representing both vivid expressions of minds in turmoil and the struggle to give form and meaning to distress. The author seeks to describe these encounters in a respectful way, believing that careless portrayals of madness cause further suffering and perpetuate the burden of stigma.
Baumann argues cogently for a more inclusive way of making sense of mental health. With sensitivity and empathy, his enquiries into the territories of art, psychology, consciousness, otherness, free will and theories of the self reveal how mental illness raises questions that affect us all.
Madness is illustrated by award-winning artist Fiona Moodie.
“Rebels And Rage is a critically important contribution to public discussion about #FeesMustFall”–Eusebius McKaiser
Adam Habib, the most prominent and outspoken university official through the recent student protests, takes a characteristically frank view of the past three years on South Africa’s campuses in this new book. Habib charts the progress of the student protests that erupted on Wits University campus in late 2015 and raged for the better part of three years, drawing on his own intimate involvement and negotiation with the students, and also records university management and government responses to the events. He critically examines the student movement and individual student leaders who emerged under the banners #feesmustfall and #Rhodesmustfall, and debates how to achieve truly progressive social change in South Africa, on our campuses and off.
This book is both an attempt at a historical account and a thoughtful reflection on the issues the protests kicked up, from the perspective not only of a high-ranking member of university management, but also Habib as political scientist with a background as an activist during the struggle against apartheid. Habib moves between reflecting on the events of the last three years on university campuses, and reimagining the future of South African higher education.
Accessible and engaging short stories about Nelson Mandela, to celebrate 100 years since his birth.
How do you retell the well-worn life story of a national icon? One way is this: a palimpsest of a hundred memories of the great man, revolutionary, world leader, and family figure, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth. Kate Sidley offers renewed and touching insight into Mandela by retelling humorous, heart-warming and momentous moments from his life, roughly chronologically, drawing from his own writing and the memories of contemporaries, historians and ordinary people. The reading experience is multi-varied and complex, touching and inspiring, like Madiba himself.
100 Mandela Moments is divided into sections, according to the many roles Mandela played in his lifetime: the school boy, the student, the lawyer, the outlaw, the prisoner, the negotiator, the statesman, the elder. Each story or “moment” is short and encapsulates something about the man behind the legend, and the book can be read cover to cover or dipped into.
About 50km outside of Cape Town lies the beautiful town of Stellenbosch, nestled against vineyards and blue mountains that stretch to the sky. Here reside some of South Africa’s wealthiest individuals: all male, all Afrikaans – and all stinking rich. Johann Rupert, Jannie Mouton, Markus Jooste and Christo Weise, to name a few.
Julius Malema refers to them scathingly as ‘The Stellenbosch Mafia’, the very worst example of white monopoly capital. But who really are these mega-wealthy individuals, and what influence do they exert not only on Stellenbosch but more broadly on South African society?
Author Pieter du Toit begins by exploring the roots of Stellenbosch, one of the wealthiest towns in South Africa and arguably the cradle of Afrikanerdom. This is the birthplace of apartheid leaders, intellectuals, newspaper empires and more. He then closely examines this ‘club’ of billionaires. Who are they and, crucially, how are they connected? What network of boardroom membership, alliances and family connections exist? Who are the ‘old guard’ and who are the ‘inkommers’, and what about the youngsters desperate to make their mark? He looks at the collapse of Steinhoff: what went wrong, and whether there are other companies at risk of a similar fate. He examines the control these men have over cultural life, including pulling the strings in South Africa rugby.
A secret torment for some, a proud responsibility for others, ‘black tax’ is a daily reality for thousands of black South Africans. In this thought-provoking and moving anthology, a provocative range of voices share their deeply personal stories.
With the majority of black South Africans still living in poverty today, many black middle-class households are connected to working-class or jobless homes. Some believe supporting family members is an undeniable part of African culture and question whether it should even be labelled as a kind of tax. Others point to the financial pressure it places on black students and professionals, who, as a consequence, struggle to build their own wealth. Many feel they are taking over what is essentially a government responsibility. The contributions also investigate the historical roots of black tax, the concept of the black family and the black middle class.
In giving voice to so many different perspectives, Black Tax hopes to start a dialogue on this widespread social phenomenon.
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