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Meet the rebels, artists, troublemakers, athletes, dancing queens and freedom fighters that shaped our past – and are changing our future.
An A To Z Of Amazing South African Women tells the stories of 26 trailblazing South African women through accessible stories and illustrations that are as bright and bold as the women they depict. From Fatima Meer to Caster Semenya, Natalie du Toit to Dope St Jude, this is a book about women who ask too many questions, who defy injustice, who refuse to take no for an answer. It is a celebration of the courage and determination of the activists, scientists and storytellers who have gone before us – as well as a recognition of the everyday heroism of ordinary South African woman doing extraordinary things.
The book takes its inspiration from the worldwide bestseller An A To Z Of Rad American Women and is the work of writer Ambre Nicolson and illustrator Jaxon Hsu, a husband and wife team based in Cape Town.
Martina Dahlmanns, the daughter of parents who grew up in the shadow of post-war Germany, an adoptive mother of children who are black, and a member of a dialogue group of black and white women, urgently questions the very depths of what it means to be white in South Africa today. Her deeply personal memoir is unsettling because of what it reveals simultaneously about the enduring impact of inherited privilege and the repercussions of disadvantage
Her book is unsettling, precisely because of what it reveals simultaneously about the enduring impact of inherited privilege and the repercussions of disadvantage. But it is Dahlmanns’ dialogue with Tumi Jonas—whose own reflections appear in the last section of the book—that reveals so much of what’s possible, yet potentially destructive, in relationships between black and white South Africans today.
That morning, Michelle presented her Psychology honours thesis on men's perceptions of rape. She started her presentation like this, “A woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read …” On that same evening, she goes to a party to celebrate attaining her degree. She and a friend go to the beach; the friend has something she wants to discuss. They are both robbed, assaulted and raped. Within minutes of getting help, Michelle realises she'll never be herself again. She's now "the girl who was raped." This book is Michelle's fight to be herself again. Of the taint she feels, despite the support and resources at her disposal as the loved child of a successful middle-class family. Of the fall-out to friendships, job, identity. It's Michelle's brave way of standing up for the women in South Africa who are raped every day.
As powerful sites of social transformation, schools are crucial in the fight against discrimination and inequality. But are South African schools meeting their constitutional requirements in relation to sexual diversity? Are they working to create positive and affirming spaces for lesbian and gay learners? Under Pressure is the first multi-school study to answer these and many more questions. Drawing on in-depth interviews with learners, teachers, school managers and parents, it offers a compelling portrait of an education system rife with homophobia. The book provides a detailed account of how school communities understand and respond to homosexuality, and in doing so uncovers a culture of compulsory heterosexuality. But Under Pressure also offers a way forward. It identifies strong entry points for future interventions and outlines strategies for combating school-based homophobia. The study’s findings highlight the need for urgent action from all stakeholders and for integrated, evidence-based programmes that support of sexual and gender diversity. Under Pressure is compulsory reading for anyone interested in education policy, social justice, gender equality or sexuality rights.
In her fourth collection, Isobel Dixon takes readers on a journey to far-flung and sometimes dark places. From Robben Island to Hiroshima, Egypt to Edinburgh, the West Bank and beyond, these poems are forays of discovery and resistance, of arrival and loss. Bearings sings of love too, and pays homage to lost friends and poets – the voices of John Berryman, Robert Louis Stevenson and others echo here. As Dixon explores form and subject, and a sometimes troubled past, she keeps a weather eye out for telling detail, with a sharp sense of the threat that these journeys, our wars and stories, and our very existence pose to the planet.
Leke is a troubled young man living in the suburbs of Cape Town. He develops strange habits of stalking people, stealing small objects and going from doctor to doctor in search of companionship rather than cure. Through a series of letters written to him by his Nigerian father whom he has never met, Leke learns about a family curse; a curse which his father had unsuccessfully tried to remove. Bom Boy is a well-crafted and complex narrative written with a sensitive understanding of both the smallness and magnitude of a single life. Part of the narrative is presented through letters written by Leke's father, Oscar, to Leke's mother, Elaine; other sections are comprised of letters written by Oscar to Leke – letters which tell him about Oscar's early life in Nigeria and the origins of a family curse. A curse which resulted in Oscar being imprisoned. Through these letters, a wonderful feeling of traditional Nigerian beliefs and customs are brought to both Leke and the reader. The pages of this novel are filled with the simple difficulties of living – coming to terms with death, with ourselves, with others, with loneliness, independence, trust – these are dealt with by Omotoso in a careful and nuanced manner.
Nomme 20 Delphi Straat (of Delphi Straat 20) is 'n versameling van beide Kaaps-en Standaard Afrikaanse gedigte wat aanvanklik as performance poetry vorm aangeneem het. Die gedigte reflekteer die ervaringe en gedagtes van die digter uit haar tienerjare en as eerste generasie student. Dit speel af in Elsiesrivier en die titel is verwysend na die huis en straat waarin sy grootgeword het, maar sinspeel ook op die tema van bendegeweld. Die gedigte is ook die stories van die mense van Elsiesrivier.
An anthology of poems by poets working with Finuala Dowling. The title also contains a memoir/essay about teaching poetry and a new poem by Finuala Dowling. The students' poems have notes about the prompts and exercises and in some cases notes about how the poet edited the poem. Finuala Dowling is a well-known, popular prize-winning poet and novelist. The book is ideal for poets, students of poetry, High School English teachers, teachers of poetry, creative writing and literature as well interested readers.
Set in McGregor in the Klein Karoo where she bakes bread in a wood-fired oven, this book reflects Hester’s intuitive feeling for the connections between the soul and food, particularly food that is prepared with care, according to traditional principles and methods.
Hester se Brood is infused with a fine sense of humour, helpful hints and mouth-watering recipes. It’s a book as irresistible as the smell of bread fresh from the oven.
Fairhead and Coetzee have produced a collection that is distinguished by its crafting as well as its beauty. Their voices gather resonance in conversation, until the poems reveal a hunger for shared experience, and a receptiveness to the intimacies of each moment. Reading these poems at one sitting is akin to stumbling onto a recital by two very accomplished soloists—perhaps in a clearing, in a forest. This is a brave and beautiful book, and the cumulative impact of the poems is nothing short of astonishing.
In her second volume of poetry, poet Karin Schimke explores the idea of home, contemplating notions of belonging and un-belonging and the various places and ways in which one is “at home”. With her characteristic lyricism, Schimke questions the poet’s right or duty to speak, while delivering a meditation on love in all its cruel, gleaming facets, as she traces her own psychic constellations back into the blistering orbit of her father. Drawing from the blood and milk of memory, in symphonic shifts of language, her poems are as forgiving as they are furious, summoning both the elemental and the numinous in a masterful painting of the relationship between people and the natural world. Traversing the haunted landscapes of the past and present, the political and the personal, Navigate is a psalm, startling in its honesty, unforgettable in its beauty.
Annette Snyckers’ poems are as subtle and intimately telling as the differences between the three languages in which she writes and battles to live and dream. These verses touch and tug at one another like the Afrikaans of her childhood, the German of her husband and the South African English of her homeland. They agree to differ in all sorts of nuanced ways. Kleur kom nooit alleen nie [Colour never comes alone], wrote Antjie Krog. Annette Snyckers powerfully reminds us that neither do languages, landscapes, countries, continents and their people.
*Winner of the UJ Debut Prize*
Family secrets run deep for Grace, a young girl growing up in Cape Town during the 1980s, spilling over into adulthood, and threating to ruin the respectable life she has built for herself.
When an old childhood friend reappears, Grace’s memories of her childhood come rushing back, and she is confronted, once again, with the loss that has shaped her. The novel is permeated with the long shadow cast by personal trauma, violence and loss on people’s lives.
Who was Jim Grey and how did he die? Trinity Luhabe returns to school for the second term of Grade Ten determined to solve this mystery. A sixty-year-old diary might hold the answers she is looking for, but real life has a way of distracting her from her the past. Soon Trinity finds herself caught between the past and the present – between two girls who need her help and understanding.
The trouble with the past is that it won’t stay buried, as Trinity and her friends are about to discover with shocking consequences.
Following her adventures in Team Trinity, Trinity Luhabe is back in her most engaging story yet as author Fiona Snyckers tackles a sensitive subject.
In this second collection Messages from the Bees Robin Winckel-Mellish shows the same qualities as A Lioness at my Heels, but this time runs deeper, darker and stronger. She delves not only into the riotous colours of southern Africa: birds, bees and caracals, but also climate change, while different kinds of love are pinpointed. Her poems of loss and grief are candid and even sensuous, showing the beauty of simplicity in bleakness. Both delicate and reflective these poems honour the wild while retaining a deeply-felt sense of connection with all that is relevant to our lives.
Turning her back on what is considered conventional, Makhosazana Xaba engages with her subject-matter on a revolutionary level in Running and Other Stories. She takes tradition - be that literary tradition, cultural tradition, gender tradition - and re-imagines it in a way that is liberating and innovative. Bracketed by Xaba's revisitings of Can Themba's influential short story, The Suit, the ten stories in this collection, while strongly independent, are in conversation with one another, resulting in a collection that can be devoured all at once or savoured slowly, story by story. By re-envisioning the ordinary and accepted, Xaba is creating a space in which women's voices are given a rebirth.
Carol Trehorne’s only child, Max, is in ICU with severe burns. Max, a performance artist, has set himself alight. He recovers but it becomes clear that he is planning further performances that will put him at risk of serious injury or death. Carol, a single parent and a GP in a busy suburban practice, is worried that her son is not the genius his friends think he is, but might be on drugs or going psychotic. As she discusses her concerns with her son’s psychiatrist, she wonders if her past behaviour, in particular her relationship with the adventurous and anti-social Jack, has influenced Max’s determination to use his body as a site of violent art in the pursuit of revelation. Carol cannot accept that Max’s self-harm will have any effect other than to add to the meaningless violence in the world. The novel Accident raises questions about what kind of life is worth living and what death is worth dying. It explores the different responses artists and scientists can have to violence and self-destructive behaviour, and throws into sharp relief the difficulties parents face when their children make decisions that appear incomprehensible.
In poems that memorialise and celebrate both the extraordinary and every day with unnerving clarity, Kerry Hammerton traverses the landscapes of loss and living, recalling the weight of past loves, new life and imminent death. Hers is the poetics of honesty: an un-filtered account of dying paired with the burning urgency of youth and sex. Hammerton fuses each tenebrous poem with the wryness of its counterpart, balancing joy and mourning in a harmony that echoes the human experience. Unflinching and daring, The Secret Keeper is a collection that sings.
Reference book, catalogue. Lists a wide range of small and independent publishers in the following African countries: Algeria, Namibia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Senegal, Zimbabwe. The catalogue contains listings of well over 60 different publishers from all over Africa. There are useful resources for writers and publishers. The back of the catalogue contains articles and short essays about the publishing scene in mostly, but not only Anglophone Africa. There are also items and innovations that are of interest to writers, booksellers, publishers, librarians, and all of those who are interested in the world of African publishing and book development.
Today I sang the song I had come to sing. And my fire burns again. PKK’s soul-warming memoir tells of a life enriched by song, literature, food and spirituality at the heart of a loving family. Born into a newly independent Uganda, she grew up in a volatile political landscape but never lacked the inspiration and protection of generations of friends and relatives. Her story travels from her expansive childhood homes in Uganda, to the novelties of living in Addis Ababa, before settling in Cape Town, her current home. But no matter how far her journeys take her, it’s clear that home is not only about places but people.
'I'm warning you, get off this case, Thabisa Tswane, otherwise you’ll die. Here’s a taste of what you’ll get.’ Armed robbery is nothing new in South Africa. But when a pair of clever and squeaky-sounding criminals go on a looting spree that rocks several small towns in the Eastern Cape, Detective Inspector Thabisa Tswane from The Eagles, the Special Violent Crimes Unit is called to work the case. There’s only one problem, one of the most important witnesses in the case is her estranged grandfather, Chief Solenkosi, who ordered her violent expulsion from the village over 10 years ago. In another world of lunches at the Michelangelo, private game lodges and platinum cards, the rich and slick Ollis Sando smoothes his way through cocktail parties and networking meetings. He is rumoured to be in line for the presidency in the upcoming elections. But he has a dirty past, something to hide and a hostage to hide it for him. In Now I See You Thabisa’s traditional and professional skills will be pushed to the limit. She will have to learn the difference between looking and seeing. And in stirring twists of fates, we’ll see that past and present blur, everything is interconnected and nothing can be assumed.
Love Interrupted is set partially in the university town of Grahamstown and partially in rural Limpopo. The stories in this collection have an intimate feel, like conversations eavesdropped on. We hear the voices of black South African women, many of whom have to endure their husbands' nyatsis (mistresses), their abuse or both. Some cope by turning to church, others by turning a blind eye and some, like the narrator of "Vicious Cycle," by seeking to understand the legacy of South Africa's past and the effects of migrant labour on its men. Despite serious themes of patriarchy and racism, there is much humour and lightness in the stories, as in "Bridal Shower," in which the narrator encounters a male stripper for the first time, and in "Toy Boy," in which a woman befriends the gigolo next door. This is an engaging collection full or rich characters you won't forget, from Lebo, whose dream is take over the business of her domestic worker's mother's boss, and uses a witchdoctor to punish her detractors to MmaPhuti, who spikes her famous ginger-beer with whiskey.
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