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Archive for March, 2018

Catching the Thunder follows the incredible expedition of the pursuit of the infamous poaching vessel Thunder

A story of courage and perseverance.

Wanted by Interpol, infamous poaching ship Thunder evaded justice for over 10 years. Illegally making millions a year, its crew hunted endangered species and destroyed ocean habitats. In Dec. 2014, Captain Hammarstedt of the Bob Barker and his crew began a relentless pursuit of the Thunder – a hazardous race across three oceans, the longest chase in maritime history.

The authors follow this incredible expedition, encountering criminal kingpins, rampant corruption, slavery and an international community content to turn a blind eye. Catching the Thunder becomes a symbolic race to save the planet.

Eskil Engdal and Kjetil Sæter were the first to tell the story of the hunt for Thunder in a series of newspaper articles. Both are award-winning investigative journalists in their own rights, between them winning the SKUP journalism award, the International Reporter’s Journalism Award and the Golden Pen, among others.

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Read Karina Szczurek’s review of Feminism Is

“Sometimes painfully relatable, other times outrageously hilarious, every page is sprinkled with vulnerability.” – Lovelyn Nwadeyi

 

“Fierce, incisive, compassionate and thoughtful. This is an essential collection of diverse voices.” – Lauren Beukes

 
A collection of fresh, contemporary feminist writing from South Africans.

Feminism Is
In an accessible and engaging way, the book delves into what feminism means in South Africa today.

It explore feminist inspiration, feminist anger, inclusions and exclusions, inter-generational issues, and the varied ways to engage in feminist practice. This collection will inspire, inform and stimulate, and it will reaffirm the importance of feminism in South Africa.

Jen Thorpe is a feminist writer and researcher based in Cape Town. Her first novel, The Peculiars (2016), was long-listed for the Etisalat Prize and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize. She has published poetry, flash fiction, and short stories on many platforms including Aerodrome and BooksLive. For more information visit http://jen-thorpe.com.

Karina Szczurek recently reviewed this remarkable body of work for LitNet; read an extract here:

“Feminism is love, transforming.” – Vuyiseka Dubula

I have been meaning to get this off my chest – literally and figuratively – for many years: They did not burn their bras! At least, not in 1969 when a demonstration against the Miss America beauty pageant took place in Atlantic City. A journalist for the Post, Lindsy Van Gelder, writing about the event, “coined the phrase ‘bra burning’ to describe a feminist protest in which pointy padded bras, restrictive girdles and other symbols of enforced femininity were going to be tossed in a bonfire outside the Miss America pageant. The Atlantic City fire chief later refused to give the demonstrators a permit, and so the Great Undies Immolation never happened … but the phrase stuck” (states Van Gelder, writing on her homepage: http://lindsyvangelder.com/about). A myth about feminists was born. Even today, many people use the fictitious bra-burning incident of 1969 to patronise and distance themselves from feminism and all who embrace it as a way of life. The misconceptions about feminism abound. Thus it is heartening to read a collection of essays written by South African feminists about what feminism means to them.

The idea for Feminism is: South Africans speak their truth was born at the Open Book Festival in Cape Town in September 2016. The book’s editor, Jen Thorpe, attended the remarkable event “Talking feminism”, chaired by Mohale Mashigo and featuring Yewande Omotoso, Pumla Dineo Gqola, and Nnedi Okorafor. If you weren’t in the audience, do yourself a favour and watch it here:

Thorpe was encouraged to put out a call for essays. A dialogue began; a process of sharing and understanding followed. “Feminism is about the will to engage,” Anja Venter states in her contribution to the book. The call itself had to be modified when it reached B Camminga, the contributor of one of the most inspiring pieces of the collection. “I am a trans person. I am also a feminist,” Camminga writes, steering us away from the “damaging” and “futile dichotomy” of seeing gender in binary terms. Camminga felt excluded by Thorpe’s initial call for essays, as it addressed only woman feminists, instead of opening up the category of “feminist” to non-binary and trans people. To Thorpe’s credit, she re-examined her position and reworded her intentions as the final introduction to the book shows (apart from the one slip-up I will return to later). Instead of the binary pronouns “he”/“she”, “his”/“her”, etc, Camminga uses “they” and “their” with which to identify. Camminga’s contribution to the collection includes the correspondence they had with the editor about the challenge of being sensitive and inclusive towards people who do not identify as either male or female. They make us aware that the binary way of seeing gender must become a thing of the past, because it is sexist and exploitative. “[W]e are faced with a challenge of how to reshape and reform our social and political worlds so people like me can also write here [in the anthology] … Feminism, for me – and again drawing from bell hooks – is at its core about ending sexism in all forms, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” Anything else misses the point.

Continue reading Karina’s review here.

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Pretoria launch: Feminism Is edited by Jen Thorpe (28 March)

“Sometimes painfully relatable, other times outrageously hilarious, every page is sprinkled with vulnerability.” – Lovelyn Nwadeyi

 

“Fierce, incisive, compassionate and thoughtful. This is an essential collection of diverse voices.” – Lauren Beukes

 
A collection of fresh, contemporary feminist writing from South Africans.

In an accessible and engaging way, the book delves into what feminism means in South Africa today.

It explore feminist inspiration, feminist anger, inclusions and exclusions, inter-generational issues, and the varied ways to engage in feminist practice. This collection will inspire, inform and stimulate, and it will reaffirm the importance of feminism in South Africa.

Jen Thorpe is a feminist writer and researcher based in Cape Town. Her first novel, The Peculiars (2016), was long-listed for the Etisalat Prize and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize. She has published poetry, flash fiction, and short stories on many platforms including Aerodrome and BooksLive. For more information visit http://jen-thorpe.com.
 
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Fiction Friday: read an excerpt from Niq Mhlongo’s Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If the apricot trees of Soweto could talk, what stories would they tell? This short story collection provides an imaginative answer as it captures the vibrancy of the township and surrounds.

Told with satirical flair, life and death intertwine in these tales where funerals and the ancestors feature strongly; where cemeteries are places to show off a new car and catch up on gossip.

Take a seat under the apricot tree and be enthralled by tales both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Niq Mhlongo was born in 1973 in Soweto. He has a BA from the University of the Witwatersrand, with majors in African Literature and Political Studies. His first novel, Dog Eat Dog, was published by Kwela in 2004 and was translated into Spanish under the title Perro Come Perro in 2006. This Spanish edition was awarded the Mar de Letras prize.

Besides writing novels and short stories, Niq has written a screenplay for the animated children’s TV series Magic Cellar and scripts for a comic magazine called Mshana, the first issue of which appeared in February 2007. After Tears is his second novel.

Read an abridged extract from the story “Turbulence”:

“Are you EFF or ANC?” she asks doubtfully, as if afraid to over­ step the bounds of our friendship.

“Neither really, but I support most of what the EFF says about sharing our beautiful land. I also support most of what the ANC has done to this country. I’m in between, if you like.”

Her face breaks into a forced smile. Our overhead lights are off, and I can only see the whites of her eyes. She bends over and looks like she is gasping for breath. She clears her throat with a few drops of water from her plastic bottle.

“That’s why I’m going to Perth. First, I will stop at my daughter Tanya’s place in Abergavenny, in Wales. She is married there to a nice Welshman. Maybe one can find happiness in those distant places of Wales and Australia, away from what I used to call home. Since this ANC took over, the white people in South Africa have no other refuge, but they are a target of some blacks. There are a lot of good black people. But there is no protection from the ruling party for white people. Look at the farmers that are being killed every day.”

“You think so. But all this is a legacy of apartheid. It was a sys­tem of violent oppression and dispossession. At least you have a place to run to, and you’re welcome in Europe because you’re white. I can’t go to Zimbabwe or Mozambique, unfortunately, because they are worse than South Africa. Unlike you, Europe cannot accept me. I’m stuck with Zuma and Malema.”

“The problem is that this ANC government is rewarding their cronies with tenders. This has become a shortcut to power and money. There are no opportunities for capable and qualified people. The government has made hardworking black people lazy and over­reliant on social grants. It is bad. It’s just like the land issue. Everyone wants land in the urban areas. But there is so much land in the rural areas. Land is land. People must understand that the only open land that is left in South Africa exists in rural areas, but no one wants that. That is the nature of our stupidity and incompetence. And it is perpetrated by the stupid ANC government.”

I let her speak without interrupting while I fortify myself with my gin and tonic. She smiles such a kindly smile, as if she thinks she is an old friend of mine. I nod sleepily. The time is ten past eleven. The person in front of me is snoring loudly. The turbulence worsens. Outside, it is thundering so hard that everyone stops talking. The overhead lights go on and off a few times and the monitor screens flicker. The smell from the toilet perfume thickens and blocks my nose.

Elsabe blows her nose several times. We have to hold on to our drinks so that they don’t fall off the tray tables. We are silent as though by prearrangement. The turbulence stops after some twenty minutes, and Elsabe starts talking again.

“But liberation movements are dying out,” she says. “Look at what happened to Kaunda’s party in Zambia.”

“Not necessarily. What about Frelimo in Mozambique, MPLA in Angola and Zanu in Zimbabwe?” I ask with an ingenuous smile. “They’re still there.”

“Well, I guess some are still there,” she says reluctantly. “But I think they are running dictatorship regimes.”

“But South Africa is a democratic country under the ANC,” I say, taking a sip. “Anyway, I hope you enjoy your new home in Perth.”

“I don’t know. But I’ve heard there is tranquillity and limitless peace there. I hope it’s not a lie.”

She pushes her glasses up the bridge of her nose. It’s two in the morning and the darkness looks impenetrable outside the win­dow as I open the blind a little to check. The universe seems a very dark place out there. Next to Elsabe, John Lennon dozes off, wakes up, and dozes off again. At one point, he wakes up dizzily for few minutes and raises his nose as if he is smelling coffee. He shakes his head and closes his eyes again. His shoulders droop and his arms flop loosely at his side. A string of thick ropy saliva runs from the corner of his mouth. He runs his tongue over his mouth and teeth and almost spits. Apparently, he realises just in time that he is still on the plane and not in the comfort of his own home.

“This Black Economic Empowerment thing has given black people false desires and greed.”

“We’re all corrupt, after all,” I say, feeling really tired. “Maybe the only difference is that white corruption was done moderately and hidden with great tact.”

“South Africa has become one big corruption ­and crime movie,” she shrugs. “Our country is moving down the path of destruction just because of the ANC. Just look at our junk status credit rating. Most youths are forced to become career criminals in the town ships and cities because of the huge unemployment rate, all caused by the ANC.”

“The main thing is not to lose our bearings.”

“They are so corrupt. And because of the lack of employment and poverty, youths are schooled more in crime than anything else. They are illiterate, so they have to work their way from swindle to swindle to make ends meet.”

Another bout of heavy turbulence starts. My toes curl in my shoes and I grip the headrest of the seat in front. I close my eyes and silently prepare myself for the death that I think nothing will defer beyond an hour if the turbulence continues. On my head, I can feel the tuft of my Afro shivering and shaking. The skin beneath it feels warm. At times I can’t feel my legs. Elsabe holds on to the armrest between our two chairs. John Lennon is fast asleep, but small beads of sweat cover his beard like dew.

The turbulence lasts for about twenty-five minutes this time. Then the seatbelt sign ahead turns green and the plane moves smoothly again. Without a word, Elsabe opens the small hand­ bag that she put in the seat pocket in front of her. Her lungs seem to be working with increasing difficulty. She takes a small bottle of pills and a water bottle to the toilet. To pass, she has to wake John Lennon, who gets up grudgingly. Elsabe winces, as if she has knocked her foot against something. She walks slowly to the toilet, as if her legs have become heavier.

Most people are asleep, but there are a few TV monitors still playing movies. Some people have blankets wrapped around them. As John Lennon sits down again, I decide I will fake being asleep when Elsabe comes back. I drink up my gin and tonic and close my eyes. But I realise that I have been looking forward to a movie all night and I won’t be able to sleep without watching at least a little bit. I search through the list, and settle on Tell Me Sweet Something. Not long into the movie my eyes keep closing on their own. I’m drifting in and out of sleep, missing scenes here and there.

I wake up at about three-­thirty, realising that sleep has finally won without my finishing the movie. Elsabe is still not back. She has left her small handbag half open under the seat. I peer inside and see a few pounds and many Australian dollars – rolls of fifties and hundreds. It is just lying there, open for the taking. Would she even miss some of it? I could take a roll of notes, I debate with myself. Payment for having had to listen to her the whole flight. Of course I’m going back to Glasgow broke. But what if it is a trap? What if there are cameras inside the plane? What if the John Lennon guy is not asleep at all, and is just waiting for me to do it? What if the money is marked somehow? And where is Elsabe? Had she returned and gone to the toilet again while I was asleep? Surely I would have woken up if that were the case. Anyway, she could return at any moment.

I open the window blind a bit and stare at the darkness out­side. All I can see is the flickering red light on the tip of the wing. The silence in the plane is like that of the dead. Many people are still claimed by the world of sleep.

A wave of sleep tries to woo me too, and it lifts me to the edge of unconsciousness. I can feel it as it drops me slowly back and lifts me again. I finally fall asleep. I have a strange dream of Elsabe as a homeless person along Empire Road in Johannesburg. It is during the time of the local elections, and as I’m passing by in a taxi I see her carrying a placard with the words Give me R100 or I will vote for the ANC and Zuma to rule over us again.

Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree

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Johannesburg launch: Feminism Is edited by Jen Thorpe (27 March)

“Sometimes painfully relatable, other times outrageously hilarious, every page is sprinkled with vulnerability.” – Lovelyn Nwadeyi

 

“Fierce, incisive, compassionate and thoughtful. This is an essential collection of diverse voices.” – Lauren Beukes

 
A collection of fresh, contemporary feminist writing from South Africans.

In an accessible and engaging way, the book delves into what feminism means in South Africa today.

It explore feminist inspiration, feminist anger, inclusions and exclusions, inter-generational issues, and the varied ways to engage in feminist practice. This collection will inspire, inform and stimulate, and it will reaffirm the importance of feminism in South Africa.

Jen Thorpe is a feminist writer and researcher based in Cape Town. Her first novel, The Peculiars (2016), was long-listed for the Etisalat Prize and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize. She has published poetry, flash fiction, and short stories on many platforms including Aerodrome and BooksLive. For more information visit http://jen-thorpe.com.
 

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Helen Joseph’s previously banned If This Be Treason available as a Kwela Pocket Revolutionary title

“There was no definite decision on the length of the [hunger] strike – it was to go on until their demands for release were met, or until collapse. They became slow and flagging and they didn’t talk much.”

Previously banned and unavailable in South Africa, Helen Joseph writes a moving personal account of enduring the Treason Trial – one of the longest and most important trials in South African history.

She shares stories of the Pony Post -the trialists’ own postal service and language, the treatment of prisoners, and the ‘real heroes’ of the Trial: the wives of the accused.

She writes honestly and details the trialists’ perseverance, struggles, compassion and commitment to fighting oppression for all South Africans.

This edition is a vital addition to curating our South African history and to our ever-growing Pocket Series.

Helen Joseph came to South Africa in 1931. She was a founder member of the Congress of Democrats, and national secretary of Federation of South African Women.
 
Arrested on a charge of high treason in 1956, and banned in 1957 – she was the first person to be placed under house arrest in 1962, and she survived several assassination attempts.

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Maalvleis-liefhebbers: hierdie empanada resep skrik vir niks!

Evita se empanadas
Lewer ongeveer 12 maalvleishappies
Bereidings- en gaarmaaktyd: 10–15 minute |
Yskastyd: 1 uur | Baktyd: 35–45 minute

Hierdie Argentyns-geïnspireerde maalvleishappies gaan niemand laat huil nie. Allermins. Dis ewe lekker as ’n ligte middagete, piekniekkos of ’n lekker kosblikbederfie. Moenie skrik vir die baie botter nie – die geheim van ’n goeie empanada lê in die vleissouse wat in die pan vorm en dit kry jy net deur, sommer met die intrapslag al, baie botter te gebruik.

deeg
2½ k koekmeel
1 t bakpoeier
½ t sout
125 g botter
¼ k water
1 eier
2 e water

maalvleisvulsel
125 g botter
1 groot ui, fyngekap
5 stingeluie, in dun ringe gesny
500 g maalvleis
¼ k sultanas, in kleiner stukkies gekap
1 t paprika
½ t rissievlokkies
¼ t fyn komyn
sout en varsgemaalde swartpeper na smaak
2 hardgekookte eiers, fyngekap
13 groen olywe, ontpit en fyngekap
¼ k geroosterde amandelvlokkies

1. Deeg: Sif die koekmeel, bakpoeier en sout saam in ’n groot mengbak. Sny die botter in blokkies en vryf met jou vingerpunte in die meelmengsel tot dit soos growwe mieliemeel lyk.

2. Giet die water bietjie-bietjie by tot ’n sagte, hanteerbare deeg vorm. Draai die deeg toe in kleefplastiek en laat vir 1 uur in die yskas rus.

3. Maalvleisvulsel: Verhit die botter in ’n swaarboompan en braai die ui en stingeluie tot die uie sag en deurskynend is. Voeg die maalvleis by en roer liggies met ’n vurk sodat die vleis nie klonte vorm nie. Braai tot die vleis verbruin het.

4. Voeg die sultanas by en kook saam vir ’n minuut of twee. Haal af van die stoofplaat en roer die paprika, rissievlokkies en komyn by. Geur met sout en peper. Laat die vleismengsel heeltemal afkoel en roer dan die res van die vulselbestanddele liggies by.

5. Voorverhit die oond tot 180 °C. Voer ’n bakplaat met bakpapier uit.

6. Rol deeg uit tot ongeveer 3 mm dik op ’n meelbestrooide werksvlak. Gebruik ’n koekiedrukker van ongeveer 7,5 cm in deursnee en druk 12 deegsirkels uit (’n paar ekstra sal nie kwaad doen nie).

7. Klits die eier en die water saam. Verf die rande van die deegsirkels met van die eiermengsel. Skep 2 opgehoopte eetlepels vulsel in die middel van elke deegsirkel. Los ’n randjie rondom oop. Vou die deegsirkel toe om ’n halfmaan te vorm. Druk deegrande vas om te verseël.

8. Pak die halfmaantjies ’n entjie uitmekaar op die bakplaat. Verf die deeg met die eiermengsel. Bak in die oond vir 35–45 minute tot bruin. Sit warm of teen kamertemperatuur voor saam met ’n mengelslaai.

wenk: Jy kan die deeg nog makliker in ’n voedselverwerker voorberei: Voeg net die blokkies botter een vir een by en verwerk. Voeg ook die water bietjie-bietjie by en laat die masjien die mengwerk doen.

Maalvleis

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Durban launch: Feminism Is edited by Jen Thorpe (22 March)

“Sometimes painfully relatable, other times outrageously hilarious, every page is sprinkled with vulnerability.” – Lovelyn Nwadeyi

 

“Fierce, incisive, compassionate and thoughtful. This is an essential collection of diverse voices.” – Lauren Beukes

 
A collection of fresh, contemporary feminist writing from South Africans.

In an accessible and engaging way, the book delves into what feminism means in South Africa today.

It explore feminist inspiration, feminist anger, inclusions and exclusions, inter-generational issues, and the varied ways to engage in feminist practice. This collection will inspire, inform and stimulate, and it will reaffirm the importance of feminism in South Africa.

Jen Thorpe is a feminist writer and researcher based in Cape Town. Her first novel, The Peculiars (2016), was long-listed for the Etisalat Prize and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize. She has published poetry, flash fiction, and short stories on many platforms including Aerodrome and BooksLive. For more information visit http://jen-thorpe.com.
 
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Launch: Feminism Is, edited by Jen Thorpe (13 March)

“Sometimes painfully relatable, other times outrageously hilarious, every page is sprinkled with vulnerability.” – Lovelyn Nwadeyi

 

“Fierce, incisive, compassionate and thoughtful. This is an essential collection of diverse voices.” – Lauren Beukes

 
A collection of fresh, contemporary feminist writing from South Africans.

In an accessible and engaging way, the book delves into what feminism means in South Africa today.

It explore feminist inspiration, feminist anger, inclusions and exclusions, inter-generational issues, and the varied ways to engage in feminist practice. This collection will inspire, inform and stimulate, and it will reaffirm the importance of feminism in South Africa.

Jen Thorpe is a feminist writer and researcher based in Cape Town. Her first novel, The Peculiars (2016), was long-listed for the Etisalat Prize and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize. She has published poetry, flash fiction, and short stories on many platforms including Aerodrome and BooksLive. For more information visit http://jen-thorpe.com.
 

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Nathan Trantraal se Wit issie ’n colour nie vertel die stories oorie liewe annie anne kant vannie kantlyn

Daa is niks meer unimportant as die liewens van arm mense nie. As daa niks daa geskrywe innie margins staanie issit ma net oo dai stories nooit geskryf wôtie, of truthfully geskryf wôd ie. As arm mense doodgan los hulle niks agte nie, niks trace dat hulle exist et ie.

Wit issie ’n colour nie vertel dié stories. Dis stories oorie liewe annie anne kant vannie kantlyn.

Wit issie ’n colour nie is ’n versameling verhale oor grootword en die lewe in die buitewyke van die Kaapse Vlakte. Dit dek identiteit, rassepolitiek, sosioekonomiese kwessies en bruin kultuur, en bevraagteken die Suid-Afrika waarin ons ons bevind. Dit is gevul met galgehumor, rou eerlikheid en hartverskeurende vertellings van pogings om die lewe op die Vlakte te navigeer. Hierdie versameling is diep persoonlik en ’n ontstellend waar weergawe van die lewe aan die ander kant van die spoor, geskryf in Kaapse Afrikaans.

Nathan Trantraal is in Kaapstad gebore. In 2008 publiseer Tafelberg Stormkaap, ’n grafiese roman. Sy debuutdigbundel, Chokers en survivors, is bekroon met die Ingrid Jonkerprys (2015) en ’n ATKV-Woordveertjie vir digkuns (2014). Alles het niet kom wôd is sy tweede digbundel. Hy is tans besig met ’n MA-graad aan Rhodes-universiteit.

Wit issie ’n colour nie deur Nathan Trantraal, wenner van die Ingrid Jonkerprys 2015 en Jan Rabie & Marjorie Wallace-beurs 2018, is nou beskikbaar.
 

“’n Teks wat diep, diep bevredig. Daardie warmte wat jy kry as jy iets regtig goeds lees, dis waarvan ek praat. Op kolle ook vrek snaaks.” – Francois Smith

 
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