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City Of Broken Dreams brings the global debate about the urban university to bear on the realities of South African rust-belt cities through a detailed case study of the Eastern Cape motor city of East London, a site of significant industrial job losses over the past two decades. The cultural power of the car and its associations with the endless possibilities of modernity lie at the heart of the refusal of many rust-belt motor cities to seek alternative development paths that could move them away from racially inscribed, automotive capitalism and cultures. This is no less true in East London than it is in the motor cities of Flint and Detroit in the US.
Since the end of the Second World War, universities have become increasingly urbanised, resulting in widespread concerns about the autonomy of universities as places of critical thinking and learning. Simultaneously, there is increased debate about the role universities can play in building urban economies, creating jobs and reshaping the politics and identities of cities.
In City Of Broken Dreams, author Leslie Bank embeds the reader's understanding of the university within a history of industrialisation, placing-making and city building.
Once in a while a publisher receives a book submission that makes them sit back in their chair, read out loud what is in front of them and laugh at the pure joy the writing and imagery evoke. This was the case with the first three short stories author Yusuf Daniels submitted to Jacana Media.
They were instantly recognisable. They were funny as hell. The nostalgia, triggered by the mere mention of a sight, sound or smell, instantly transported the reader to a time and place that spoke to Coloured culture and lived experiences on the Cape Flats and surrounding townships. There was something magical about the way Daniels recollected his memories from his childhood in those first three stories, which he had also posted on Facebook, eliciting a slew of likes, shared experiences and feedback from his followers to “write more” and “do you remember, Yussie …”.
Living Coloured (because Black and White were Already Taken) is a compilation of short stories that is an ode to an era all Cape Coloured people will instantly recognise – from the nightclubbing at Space Odyssey and the shenanigans at the Mitchells Plain public swimming pool, to the traditions of delectable food exchanges during Ramadan among Muslims and Christians, alike. This book truly is a tribute to all that the Coloured community holds dear and sings of the spirit which helped them eek out an existence on the dusty flat plains of the Cape.
But as you read story after story, you will also be confronted with the blatant racism that was the Group Areas Act, the legacy of a people removed and dumped in this windswept place that wasn’t of their own making, and the constant forging ahead to make life worthwhile under very harsh political and economic circumstances. The stories will also leave you seething with anger at the sheer brutality of what this community had to endure (and still do), while their black counterparts in the township next door lived even harsher realities.
A memoir like no other – Claudine Shiels and her sister Lisa van der Merwe have brought South Africa’s oldest sexual abuse case to court. The sisters used the Frankel 8 Criminal Procedures decision to bring court action against their sexually abusive step-uncles forty years later – this is their story.
On a hot summer evening in 1967, eight-year-old Claudine Brown watched from the back seat of a car stalled on a railway track in the suburbs of Cape Town, as a fast-moving train hurtled towards them. Her mother sat frozen with fear in the driver's seat. The events leading up to this moment were unremarkable, giving no clue to their catastrophic timing. The aftermath was brutal and childhood-wrecking, leaving Claudine and her younger sister Lisa world-weary before they had even got started.
When her mother, unraveled by post-traumatic shock, abandoned the family, and her father reached for the nearest comfort to ease his pain – a new wife – Claudine had only one defense against the years of exploitation and physical, emotional and sexual abuse that followed: hope. She remembered what normal life was, and plotted her course back there.
As an award-winning photojournalist and part of the Bang-Bang Club, Greg Marinovich has covered war and conflict all over Africa and the world. In Shots From The Edge he recounts his experiences in these conflict zones, recalling interviews with the perpetrators and the victims of violence, from rebels, child soldiers and terrorists to peacekeepers, aid workers, rape survivors, orphans and amputees. The book takes the reader throughout South Africa, and to Angola, Mozambique, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Chechnya, Palestine and many other contested zones.
With compassion and care, Marinovich documents more than two decades’ worth of turbulent history and reveals the people involved in the conflict. Some of the moments are deeply moving and profound; others so surreal as to blur into insanity. From coming under fire with United Nations peacekeeping troops in the Lašva Valley and being escorted around Mogadishu by a crew of gunmen for hire, to running through the streets of Johannesburg as Inkatha and the ANC face off at Shell House, the reader is exposed to people, places and experiences that would otherwise be difficult to comprehend.
The accounts in Shots From The Edge are at once insightful, tragic, shocking and occasionally humorous, but above all they are a poignant reminder of the brutality and indignity of war, and man’s capacity for cruelty.
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.
Hermann Giliomee, pre-eminent South African historian, dissects the forces that shaped the Afrikaners into an unusual ‘maverick African’ nation.
He analyses long-term forces like the powerful legal position of Afrikaner women, the expanding frontier, and the struggles about race inside the church, along with more recent political history.
Chris Barnard needed the help of exceptional men and women to stay ahead of the fast-developing science of transplantation. One of these exceptional men were Winston Wicomb, the darker brother of the famous Randall.
He had to be hidden as a child to prevent the Apartheid inspectors from discovering his family’s racial identity. He had to endure the rampant racism that existed in South Africa at school and in the army… Winston, who had to fix cars in the backyard to make ends meet, had a curious encounter with Chris Barnard and got appointed in his research laboratory. Winston had to develop an apparatus with which hearts could be kept alive to enable transport.
This is the story of an unlikely hero; a man who changed transplantation forever, and a South African citizen who never got the recognition he deserved.
It’s a story of perseverance. And hope. Even... love.
A revolution is taking place in the great marketplaces of the informal sector and it contains an unquantified scale and power as an economic engine and a way of life for the majority of our low income populations. The KasiNomic Revolution may still be a murmur in the streets, a grassroots economic groundswell, but it is the future of African economic activity.
Kasi is the South African term for the township – a teeming conurbation of homes and businesses, entertainment venues and social meeting places. GG Alcock uses the term KasiNomics to describe the informal sectors of Africa, whether they are in the township, a rural marketplace, at a taxi rank or on a pavement in the shadow of skyscrapers. Brought up in a rural Zulu community, GG has learnt and shares the lessons of African culture, language, stick fighting, lifestyle and tribal politics, along with shared poverty and community, which have prepared him for accessing the great informal marketplaces of Africa. He is uniquely placed to uncover the extraordinary stories of kasi businesses which not only survive but excel, revealing a revolutionary entrepreneurship which is mostly invisible to the formal sector.
KasiNomic Revolution is a story of kasi entrepreneurs on one side and, on the other, of great corporate successes and failures in the informal community. KasiNomic Revolution is at once a business book, and at the same time a deeply human book about the people and lives of rural and urban informal societies.
KasiNomic Revolution is about the lessons of marketing, distribution, culture and modernity in an informal African world.
Forgiveness Redefined is Candice Mama’s honest and healing story. It tells how she found ways to deal with the death of her father, Glenack Masilo Mama, and to forgive the notorious apartheid assassin Eugene de Kock, the man responsible for his brutal murder. We follow Candice’s journey of discovering how her father died, how this affected her and how she battled the demons of depression before the age of sixteen. But most importantly, we follow her journey towards beating the odds and rising above her heartbreaks.
Candice Mama is today still under the age of 30, but has been named as one of Vogue Paris’ most inspiring women alongside glittering names such as Michelle Obama. She has taken backstage selfies with music crooner Seal and travels all over the world to talk about her journey. This bubbly, inspiring young author tells how she shed some of the worst layers of grief and became an inspiration for others. We learn about her perplexing, unconventional childhood, her search for identity, and the beautiful bond she formed, posthumously, with a father she never had the opportunity to get to know in person. She also tells, in her own words, about the life-changing encounter between her family and her father’s killer.
Candice tenderly opens up about the result of the trauma of her father’s death on her entire family, and meeting her mother for the first time at the age of four. She tells about the confusing, yet fascinating, dynamics that later unfolded as she discovered pieces of herself, rediscovered relationships with her own family and came to forgiveness and understanding.
This book serves as inspiration for other young – and older – people to look at their own stories through different lenses. Candice’s experiences are not unique, and she offers healing thoughts to others who suffered similar trauma by sharing the details of her own story. Forgiveness Redefined is a touching, personal story by a young woman who learned too early about pain, loss and rejection – but who also learned how to overcome those burdens and live joyfully.
Developing an impactful corporate social investment (CSI) strategy and approach with real potential to positively change people’s lives can be a tricky exercise. Those grappling with how best to approach CSI will find thought-provoking insights in this book that will contribute positively to how they view, shape and execute their CSI strategy. In a most accessible way, this guidebook on CSI presents an instructive and constructive way of building a CSI strategy.
Setlogane Manchidi, Head of CSI at Investec, is known in the CSI space for his passion and strong desire to see meaningful change in people’s lives. In this book, informed by his experiences as a CSI practitioner over the years, he unpacks what he considers to be essential aspects of CSI practice. Manchidi adopts and articulates a question-based approach to creating an effective CSI strategy.
Recognising that business is not separate from society, Manchidi suggests that companies need to ask themselves some serious questions, amongst them: Why should they be doing CSI and, importantly, why are they doing it? The questions, which are reflected on the cover of the book, are difficult ones which require complete honesty, deep consideration and the necessity of placing ‘impact’ at the centre of the formulation of CSI strategy.
Through this book, Setlogane Manchidi reminds us of the significance of a carefully considered CSI strategy and approach, especially in a country such as South Africa with many socio-economic challenges that continue to impact negatively on ordinary people’s day-to-day lives.
Over the past few years, it has become clear that the path of transformation in schools since 1994 has not led South Africa’s education system to where we had hoped it could be. Through tweets, posts and recent protests in schools, it has become apparent that in former Model-C and private schools, children of colour and those who are ‘different’ don’t feel they belong.
Following the astonishing success of How To Fix South Africa’s Schools, the authors sat down with young people who attended former Model-C and private schools, as well as principals and teachers, to reflect on transformation and belonging in South African schools. These filmed reflections, included on DVD in this book, are honest and insightful.
Drawing on the authors’ experiences in supporting schools over the last twenty years, and the insight of those interviewed, A School Where I Belong outlines six areas where true transformation in South African classrooms and schools can begin.
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.
They Called Me Queer is a collection written by Africans who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+).
Across the continent, and throughout the world, South Africa has become known for its tolerance towards us, the LGBTQIA+ community. However, even if being who we are is legal, we live in a devastatingly segregated and unequal society, where the combination of race, class, gender and sexual identities still heavily impacts every part of our lives. This collection of stories is a testimony to who we are. It is an assertion of our struggles, but also our triumphs, our joys.
These are our stories of acceptance and rejection, of young love and old lovers, of the agonising thrills of coming out and coming into ourselves, of our sex lives, of our families and communities.
Writing by Haji Mohamed Dawjee, Lwando Scott, Ling Sheperd, Maneo Mohale, Chase Rhys, Wanelisa Xaba, Jamil F Khan, Khanya Kemami, Janine Adams, Craig Lucas and others.
As lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex identities increasingly secure legal recognition across the globe, these formal equality gains are contradicted by the continued presence of violence. Such violence emerges as a political pressure point for contestations of identity and power within wider systems of global and local inequality. Discourses of homophobia-related violence constitute subjectivities that enact violence and that are rendered vulnerable to it, as well as shaping political possibilities to act against violence. Blackwashing Homophobia critiques prevailing discourses through which violence and its targets are normatively understood, exploring the knowledge regimes in which multiple forms of othering are both reproduced and/or resisted.
This book draws on primary research on lesbian subjectivity and violence in South Africa examining the intersections of sexual, gender, race and class identities, and the contemporary politics of violence in a postcolonial context:
The book explores these questions and their implications for how violence, as an instrument of power, might be countered. Blackwashing Homophobia is a timely intervention for theorising the discourse of homophobia-related violence and what it reveals and conceals, enables and hinders, in relation to queer identities and political imaginaries in times of violence. The book's interdisciplinary approach to the topic will appeal to social and political scientists, philosophers and psychology professionals, as well as to advanced psychology undergraduates and postgraduates alike.
Locked up for poaching abalone, Shuhood Abader began writing his life story. For over fifteen years, he had been a small cog in a criminal industry stretching from the Cape underworld to China’s luxury seafood market. As abalone – perlemoen, perly – vanishes from the South African coast, Shuhood’s first-person account takes us right into the heart of the crisis.
Kimon de Greef’s postgraduate research on poaching led him into journalism, and today he is the pre-eminent local expert on the illicit abalone trade. He contextualises Abader’s raw, immediate tale by showing how the system works: from desperate fishing communities via gang strongholds on the Cape Flats, tik, guns and police complicity to the harbours of Morocco and Hong Kong.
Journey with the authors through death-defying dives, blackmail, robbery, shark encounters, near-drownings, and chases by police and rivals.
Poacher tells the story of a deadly black market; but it is also the story of one man, deeply conflicted, committed to his faith and searching for a better way.
South Africa’s pre-eminent historian explains the spectacular rise – and probable demise – of the numerical minority that dominated 20th-century South Africa.
The Afrikaners are unique in the world in that they successfully mobilised ethnic entrepreneurship without state assistance, controlled the entire country, and then yielded power without military defeat. Award-winning author Hermann Giliomee takes a hard analytical look at this group’s dramatic ascent and possible disappearance as a nation in a series of well-argued thematic chapters. Topics range from ethnic entrepreneurship, the ‘coloured vote’ and ‘Bantu’ education to Nelson Mandela’s relationship with the last Afrikaner leaders.
It ends with a final chapter on the most likely future for this sometimes admired, often reviled group, which undoubtedly left the largest imprint on South African history in the 20th century.
‘How can there be only one dedicated hospital in the country for our children?’
When Madiba asked this question, he sowed the seeds of a challenge that would grow into a legacy.
A seed may be small but its size is disproportionate to what it can become over time. The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital was a project that seemed impossible when it was just an idea that started with ten people seated around a dinner table. As they discussed the state of healthcare in the country and shared their experiences, they realised that it was the children of Southern Africa who were the most disadvantaged by the lack of dedicated paediatric facilities. At the end of the evening a statement by the late Dr Nthato Motlana took hold and became the catalyst for a remarkable journey: ‘I will speak to Nelson,’ he said.
With South Africa’s first democratically elected president Nelson Mandela’s backing, the board of the Children’s Fund was inspired to take up the challenge to address this vital need. After years of global research and advice from experts in numerous different fields a Trust was formed to oversee the project and, critically, to set about raising the one billion rand it would take to build, equip and staff a state-of-the-art children’s hospital.
The stories behind the planning for, fundraising and building of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital are inspiring, personal, and sometimes heart-breaking. It was a long and arduous journey, beset with difficulties, but the dedicated team’s commitment and courage prevailed to create a living legacy that will truly impact the lives of children for generations to come.
Today, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg is a proud testimony to a uniquely African story which honours the memory of a great statesman and celebrates the children for whom he cared so deeply.
This extraordinary account of imprisonment shows with exacting clarity the awful injustices of the system. Sylvia Neame, activist against apartheid and racism and by profession a historian (see the three-volume, The Congress Movement, HSRC Press, 2015), has not written a classical historical memoir. Rather, this book is a highly personal account, written in an original style. At the same time, it casts a particularly sharp light on the unfolding of a policedominated apartheid system in the 1960s.
The author incorporates some of her experiences in prisons and police stations around the country, including the fabricated trial she faced while imprisoned in Port Elizabeth, one of the many such trials which took place in the Eastern Cape. But her focus is on Barberton Prison. Here she was imprisoned together with a small number of other white women political prisoners, most of whom had stood trial and been sentenced in Johannesburg in 1964–5 for membership to an illegal organisation, the Communist Party. It is a little known story. Not even the progressive party MP Helen Suzman found her way here.
Barberton Prison, a maximum security prison, part of a farm jail complex in the eastern part of what was then known as the Transvaal province, was far from any urban centre. The women were kept in a small space at one end of the prison in extreme isolation under a regime of what can only be called psychological warfare, carried out on the instructions of the ever more powerful (and corrupt) security apparatus. A key concern for the author was the mental and psychological symptoms which emerged in herself and her fellow prisoners and the steps they took to maintain their sanity. It is a narrative partly based on diary entries, written in a minute hand on tissue paper, which escaped the eye of the authorities. Moreover, following her release in April 1967 – she had been altogether incarcerated for some three years – she produced a full script in the space of two or three months. The result is immediacy, spontaneity, authenticity; a story full of searing detail. It is also full of a fighting spirit, pervaded by a sharp intellect, a capacity for fine observation and a sense of humour typical of the women political prisoners at Barberton.
A crucial theme in Sylvia Neame’s account is the question of whether something positive emerged out of her experience and, if so, what exactly it was.
Die motiewe agter gesinsmoorde is dikwels vreemder as fiksie. Tergende vrae kan deur psigiaters beantwoord word ... of dalk nie. Deur na verskeie gevalle van gesinsmoord te kyk gooi hierdie boek ’n bietjie lig in 'n baie donker plek. Met onder meer die stories van die Lotters wat gebreinspoel was tot moord op hul ouers en die Van Breda bylmoorde.
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.
The presidential campaign in the USA grabbed the global imagination. It also grabbed the feminist imagination, presenting the hope that if a woman could become the president of the USA, women throughout the world would finally break through the reinforced glass ceiling. However, when it didn’t happen, the lost opportunity became the metaphorical kick in the feminist gut on a global scale. Through the subsequent misogyny, vulgarity, lewd comments, the pussy grabbing video, and the threats of the erosion of feminist activism in the trenches, worldwide a deep mourning arose from the feminist community. It was the name calling of “nasty women” that really smarted. Initial feelings of anger gave rise to empowerment of women — those who talk back to patriarchy — to embrace the label of “nasty women”.
The idea for the collection was born, cradled and nurtured between friends who wanted to create a space for writing and thinking about the marches. The group of feminists who contributed to this collection used the marches and the posters inspired by the marches as a vehicle which galvanised women into action to put pen to paper and show fervour for ongoing feminist activism.
The nexus of this beautifully written and evocatively illustrated collection is telling narratives that link very personal stories with deeply political issues. These are the stories told by nasty women who are making the personal political, who are seeking to live their lives in ways that resist and challenge patriarchy. Through their very intimate nature these are stories that speak to the creation of a different kind of social order, one based on equity, the promotion of human rights and social justice.
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.
Sharks are among the most persecuted animals on Earth. Nicole’s block-buster story lifts the lid on the shocking details of the trade in shark fins, and raises awareness of the plight of sharks in the 21st century.
In November 2003 a female Great White Shark was tagged near Dyer Island in South Africa. Her tag popped up in February 2004, just south of Western Australia. The shark, later to be named Nicole (after shark enthusiast Nicole Kidman), had swum an epic 11,000 km. Scientists were even more surprised when she was identified back in South Africa in August 2004 – she had covered 22,000 km in less than nine months, using pinpoint navigation both ways.
Since then, many Great Whites have been tagged and have shown a propensity for undertaking long migrations – but none has yet matched Nicole's amazing feat. This story incorporates a blend of science, actual events and real people, along with conjecture as to what might have happened on Nicole's momentous journey.
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.
At the height of her journalism career, more than one million households across the country knew her name and her face. Her reportage on human suffering and triumph captivated viewers, and with it Vanessa Govender shot to fame as one of the first female Indian television news reporters in South Africa. Always chasing the human angle of any news story, Govender made a name for herself by highlighting stories that included the grief of a mother clutching a packet filled with the fragments of the broken bones of her children after they’d been hacked to death by their own father, and another story where she celebrated the feisty spirit of a little girl who was dying of old age, while holding onto dreams that would never be realised. Yet Govender, a champion for society’s downtrodden, was hiding a shocking story of her own. In Beaten But Not Broken, she finally opens up about her deepest secret – one that so nearly ended her career in broadcast journalism before it had barely kicked off.
She was a rookie reporter at the SABC in 1999. He was a popular radio disc jockey, the darling of the SABC’s Lotus FM, a radio station catering to nearly half a million Indian people across South Africa. They were the perfect pair, or so it seemed. And if anyone suspected the nature of the abusive relationship, Govender says, she doesn’t believe they knew the full extent of the horror that the popular DJ was inflicting on this intrepid journalist. The bruising punches, the cracking slaps, and the relentless episodes filled with beatings, kicking and strangling were as ferocious as the emotional and verbal abuse he hurled at her. No one would know the brutal and graphic details of Govender’s story … until now.
In Beaten But Not Broken, this Indian woman does the unthinkable, maybe even the unforgiveable, in breaking the ranks of a close-knit conservative community to speak out about her five-year-long hell in this abusive relationship. Her story also lays bare her heart-breaking experiences as a victim of childhood bullying and being ostracised by some in her community for being a dark-skinned Indian girl. Govender tells a graphic story of extreme abuse, living with the pain, and ultimately of how she was saved by her own relentless fighting spirit to find purpose and love. This is a story of possibilities and hope; it is a story of a true survivor.
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