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Archive for November, 2017

Listen: Jonathan Jansen discusses As by Fire on AmaBookaBooka

What are the real roots of the student protests of 2015 and 2016? Is it actually about fees?

Why did so many protests turn violent?

Where is the government while the buildings burn, and do the students know how to end the protests?

Former Free State University Vice-Chancellor Jonathan Jansen delves into the unprecedented disruption of universities that caught South Africa by surprise. In frank interviews with eleven of the VCs most affected, he examines the forces at work, why the protests escalate into chaos, and what is driving – and exasperating – our youth.

This urgent and necessary book gives us an insider view of the crisis, tells us why the conflict will not go away and what it means for the future of our universities.

‘A view from the inside of the cauldron… Warning: he doesn’t mince his words.’ Ferial Haffajee

Prof Jonathan Jansen is a leading South African educationist, commentator and the author of several books including the best-selling Letters to My Children. He is the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, where he earned a reputation for transformation and a deep commitment to reconciliation. He is married with two children.

Jansen recently discussed the book on AmaBookaBooka, the Daily Maverick podcast presented by Jonathan Ancer. Listen to their conversation here:

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Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature winner Lebohang Pheko discusses her acclaimed Sesotho novel, Mamello

Sanlam and Tafelberg, an imprint of NB Publishers, are proud to announce the winners of the 2017 Sanlam Prizes for Youth Literature, recognizing the rich diversity and talent in local youth literature. The prizes, awarded for new manuscripts, were just announced in Johannesburg.

We interviewed each of the winners about their award-winning books. The eclectic range of winning titles includes stories of abuse, cyber bullying, the disintegration of families, post-apocalyptic survival and forbidden love, and reflects issues young people of today grapple and can identify with.

Lebohang Pheko, author of Mamello


Debut author Lebohang Pheko won silver for Mamello (Sesotho), a “perfect tale of overcoming adversity”, with the power of education and forgiveness as key themes. Its main character, Mamello, is a young girl who is not allowed to attend school but dreams of becoming a human rights lawyer. Lebohang lives in Virginia.

Listen to our interview with Lebohang here:


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“The consumerist culture in townships is poisoning the youth” – Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature winner, Dumisani Hlatswayo, discusses Imibala Yothando

The 2017 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature winners were recently announced at Hyde Park’s Exclusive Books, Johannesburg.

Gold went to isiZulu writer Dumisani Hlatswayo in the category ‘African languages’ for Imibala Yothando (“The Colours of Love”), described as “a riveting tale of love, betrayal, jealousy and growing up in the social media era”. It centres on Sinenhlanhla, who is sent to a new school in Soweto, where she falls prey to a cyber bully.

Dumisani Hlatswayo, author of Imibala Yothando

Imibala Yothando explores love in all of its shades, ranging from lightness and purity to the darker shades of jealousy.

Sinenhlanhla, the daughter of a famous Maskandi musician, is navigating being the new girl in school. Sinenhlanhla is ambitious, excels at Maths and swimming. She has no time for all the admirers she has attracted at her new school. Among the many admirers are Mzekezeke, who has been chosen to represent the school at the Maths Olympiad in Cape Town with her and is too shy to declare his feelings, and Bhejasi, the school bad boy and skhothane.

After being spurned by Sinenhlanhla, Bhajasi manages to get hold of private photos of her that he spreads on social media in an effort to humiliate her. Will this destroy Sinenhlanhla’s life or is she strong enough to overcome something so terrible?

Here Dumisani discusses his award-winning novel with NB Publishers:


Imibala Yothando

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Luister na ’n onderhoud met Carin Krahtz, skrywer van die Sanlam Prys vir Jeuglektuur-bekroonde Blou is nie ’n kleur nie

Blou is nie 'n kleur nieCarin Krahtz is onlangs met goud bekroon by die Sanlam Prys vir Jeuglektuur toekenningsaand vir haar roman, Blou is nie ‘n kleur nie. Die boek is deur die beoordelaars as ‘n universele, hartverskeurende storie, deurspek met spitsvondige dialoog beskryf.

Na die ongeluk drie jaar gelede val die oënskynlik gelukkige Vorster-gesin se lewens uitmekaar. Carin Krahtz sny met presisie deur die lewens van elk van die gesinslede met skerpsinnige dialoog en temper die verhaal met humor. Hierdie is nie ‘n wroegroman nie, maar ‘n nugtere kyk na die lewens van ‘n gesin wat verbrokkel en verswelg word deur voorstedelike angs en ander bagasie.

Carin Krahtz is in 1965 in Pretoria gebore en voltooi haar skoolloopbaan aan die Oos-Rand. In 1988 slaag sy haar Honneursgraad in Joernalistiek met lof aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch. Sy publiseer ’n aantal kinderboeke wat hoofsaaklik in die skolemark gebruik word.

Carin Krahtz, skrywer van Blou is nie ‘n kleur nie. ©Hanneri de Wet


NB Uitgewers het ‘n reeks onderhoude met die wenners gevoer. Luister hier na Carin se potgooi:



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Harrowing, compelling, sobering and ultimately satisfying – Margaret von Klemperer reviews Thuli Nhlapo’s Colour Me Yellow

Published in the Witness, 22 November 2017

Colour Me YellowTHERE is an autobiographical genre often dismissed as “misery memoir” – books in which an author bangs on at length about how awful their life was, is, and ever shall be. And judging by the tale that Thuli Nhlapo recounts in Colour Me Yellow, she would have been well justified in adding to the misery pile.

But her story, while harrowing to read and obviously worse to live through is not merely a tale of woe. Her determination and intelligence shine through, and make her book compelling, sobering and ultimately satisfying.

Nhlapo, the oldest child in her family, grew up with feelings of rejection. Throughout her childhood, her mother reiterated how much she had hated being pregnant with Nhlapo: “I hated carrying you in my stomach” was her constant refrain. A light skinned child, at home and at school she was reviled for being “yellow” and despite being the oldest, found herself regularly at the bottom of the pecking order. She soon became convinced the man whose name she bore, who treated her appallingly, and who was married to her mother was not her real father, and her life became a long struggle to find out the truth. The only adult who offered her any kind of comfort or security was her maternal grandfather, but he was unable to answer her questions.

At one stage in the book, Nhlapo says her mother and father were not bad people, but they certainly sound as if they were. Family secrets, greed, shame and anger were rife, and their corrosive effects on the author and those around her are plain. But she hung on, succeeding against the odds to become a successful woman and a loving mother – no easy task with the role models she had been given.

When she does discover the truth, there is no fairy-tale ending, but one that will resonate with many people in a bitter, divided society. And above all, Nhlapo shows that courage and faith in the rightness of what one is doing can bring a kind of peace. – Margaret von Klemperer

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“I wanted to write a dystopian story away from the formula of the Hunger Games” – Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature winner, Jayne Bauling

Jayne Bauling won silver at the recent Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature ceremony for New Keepers, which, according to the judges, “has the feel of a Lauren Beukes novel crossed with Hunger Games.”

Jayne Bauling, author of New Keepers. ©Hanneri de Wet


Jabz, from the poor margins of post-apocalypse city Gauzi, takes a motley crew of citizens from the city’s privileged Sprawll on a journey of exploration – to the Wildlands. Motivated by strange visions and messages he has received, Jabz and his crew must reach the mountain of his vision, where it will be revealed which one of the group will be the leader of the Wilders who will start a rebellion against the controlling City Minders.

Jayne’s YA novels have been awarded the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa and the Maskew Miller Longman Literature Award. Her Sanlam Prize winner Dreaming of Light is prescribed for Gr 11 FAL by the DBE. She lives in Mpumalanga Province in South Africa.

Listen to NB Publishers’ recent interview with Jayne:


New Keepers

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Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature winners publish exciting new isiZulu and Sesotho books

Nal’ibali Column 18: Term 14, as published in the Sunday World (26 November 2017), Daily Dispatch (27 November 2017) and Herald (30 November 2017)


By Carla Lever

How hard is it to write a 25 000 word story – one that’s compelling and exciting to young people?

Ask Lebohang Pheko and Dumisani Hlatswayo. They’ve just been awarded prizes in the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature. Along with four other authors writing in English and Afrikaans, their winning books – Pheko’s in Sesotho and Hlatswayo’s in isiZulu – are published and available for purchase both online ( and in selected bookstores nation-wide.

“It took me almost a year, including the editing of the manuscript going forth and back from Tafelberg publishers,” said Lebohang Pheko of her book, Mamello. For Dumisani Hlatswayo, writing had to happen after hours when he came back from his copywriting job. “This one took me 2 months to research, another 2 months to write the first draft and one month to edit.”

Lebohang Pheko, author of Mamello

The discipline and time commitment proved worth it: their books for young people join the ranks of new South African stories that the competition has published since it began in 1980.

If there’s been a big story to this year’s award, it’s been one of success. With an increase of 60 submissions from previous numbers, there were record competition entries in 2017. Sponsors Sanlam generously matched this with increased prize money for the winners: R20 000 for Gold award and R10 000 for Silver.

There was more good news for language activists: entries were strong across all three categories, with 55 English, 46 Indigenous language and 33 Afrikaans submissions. “There can be few more worthwhile endeavors than enabling young people to read books reflecting their own realities in their own language,” said Eloise Wessels, managing director of Media24 Books, of which NB Publishers and Tafelberg form part. Wessels added that mother tongue stories “play a key role in promoting literacy and a love for books, bringing lifelong rewards.”

Thirty-seven year old Gold Award winner Dumisani Hlatswayo was born in Soweto with ink in his veins. By the age of 14 he had already had a short story in isiZulu published – Isibhobo. This was followed by a flurry of other work: he’s been a finalist for the Maskew Millar Longman awards, had a radio drama aired and currently works as a copywriter.

Dumisani Hlatswayo, author of Imibala Yothando

Hlatswayo’s winning story, Imibala Yothando (“The Colours of Love”), is described as “a riveting tale of love, betrayal, jealousy and growing up in the social media era.” It centres on Sinenhlanhla, who is sent to a new school in Soweto, where she falls prey to a cyber bully.

For silver award winner Lebohang Pheko, the story was somewhat different. In Virginia in the Free State, her mother singlehandedly raised three girls, of which Pheko was the youngest. Although she had dreams of becoming a lawyer, money was tight and life had other plans: she was married and had two children by her early twenties. Throughout all of this, she leapt up her own creative pursuits: movies, drawing, reading, but most of all, writing stories.

Pheko’s prize winning Sesotho story, Mamello, takes on all these elements, weaving what the judges described as a “perfect tale of overcoming adversity” about a young girl who is not allowed to attend school but dreams of becoming a human rights lawyer.

“On the day I heard I was nominated, it was good news for me,” said Pheko. “But when I heard that I won the competition and was heading to the awards, I just couldn’t believe it! I was over the moon, but also full of amazement.”

In no small part, the competition’s 2017 successes have been as a result of a conscious drive from all concerned. A ‘250 words a day’ campaign was launched, where well-known authors gave feedback and mentorship to encourage entrants to get over the line. Writing’s a solitary occupation, so constant tips and encouragement can go a long way – especially for first time authors, many of whom had never written long form work before.

“An incredible 48 entries were received from debut writers, which reflects the success of the campaign,” said Michelle Cooper, publisher of children and young adult fiction at Tafelberg. Cooper added that it’s not merely quantity of entries that the competition draws, but quality too: in the 37 years the competition has existed, nearly 80 stories have gone on to be prescribed for schoolchildren as setworks.

How important is hooking children on stories and making available books in their own languages? “As a young person growing in Limpopo there were quite a few isiZulu books I could relate to,” Hlatswayo said. “In fact, the best way to inspire more people to read and write stories in their own languages is to make those kinds of books available.”

Of course, now there are two more books to add to those libraries! Mamello and Imibala Yothando are available and adding to the number of home-grown stories South Africans can be proud to call their own.

Feeling inspired? Now’s the perfect time to start planning your world-changing new novel: entries for the 2019 Sanlam Prizes for Youth Literature are now open. Entry forms are available at and the closing date is 5 October 2019. Make 2018 a year of celebrating the stories within your world.

Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination and school success! For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit:


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Imibala Yothando

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2017 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature: an interview with Lesley Beake, who won gold for her novel Hap

Lesley Beake’s young adult novel, Hap, recently won gold in the category ‘English’ in the 2017 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature. The judges described Hap as “a well-structured and beautifully written coming-of-age story.”


Lucy, a 16-year-old girl from New York, is recovering from a recent traumatic experience. She joins her father at the fictional Barclay Bay, on South Africa’s west coast, where she slowly makes sense of her ordeal. But Lucy cannot help but also be affected by the characters around her, including that of Hap, an early ancestor who lived in the area, and whose experiences Lucy, in a state of heightened emotion and perception, seems to sense.

Lesley Beake, author of Hap. © Hannerie de Wet

Listen to NB Publishers’ recent interview with Lesley:


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Johannesburg launch: The Camp Whore by Francois Smith (15 November)

It is the First World War and Susan Nell stands before the door of a private ward in a British military hospital. On the door she reads a single name. She knows that name. Sixteen years ago, during the Anglo-Boer War, she encountered that name in a concentration camp in Winburg. She lifts her hand to open the door. Her hand shakes uncontrollably. But she is a psychiatric nurse and this is what she has to do, bring traumatised soldiers back to the light. However, if this soldier is the one who sixteen years ago thrust all light out of you with his hips, it is not that obvious. Susan Nell hesitates before she opens the door, desperately uncertain – teetering on the threshold between life and death.

The Camp Whore is the true story of a woman who was brutally raped during the Anglo-Boer War and left for the vultures. With the help of a number of benefactors she escapes the clutches of death and dedicates her life to the healing of exactly the kind of trauma to which she was subjected. And in the process re-encounters her rapists . . .

In The Camp Whore the resilience of the human spirit is weighed up against the equally persistent influence of trauma. It is a psychological thriller that will hold you in its icy grip till the very last page.

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Entries for the 2019 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature are now open!

This is your chance to become a published author!

Since its inception in 1980, the prestigious Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature has consistently rewarded work of outstanding quality, becoming a trusted brand among both the general book-buying public and the educational sector.

Prizes worth R75 000 are up for grabs and prize-winning authors will get their books published by Tafelberg Publishers, catapulting their writing career to the next level.

Get your entry form here: The closing date is 5 October 2018. | Jy kan nou inskryf vir die 2019-Sanlampryse vir Jeuglektuur. Kry jou inskrywingsvorm hier: Die sluitingsdatum is 5 Oktober 2018.

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