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Archive for May, 2018

Let My People Go latest addition to Kwela’s Pocket Revolutionaries Series

Let My People Go is as much Albert Luthuli’s extraordinary story as that of the African National Congress, which he led for fifteen years. He gives a first-hand account of the repression and resistance that were to shape the South African political landscape forever: the Defiance Campaign, which marked the first mass challenge to apartheid, the drafting of the Freedom Charter, the Treason Trial, the Alexandra bus boycott and the 1959 potato boycott, as well as the tragedies of Sharpeville, Langa and Nyanga.

Albert Luthuli was also the first black man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and this book bears witness to Luthuli’s unfailing humanity, perseverance, and passionate commitment to the values of non-racialism and non-sexism. His vision, crucial to the shaping of the South Africa we live in today, continues to move and inspire.

Chief Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli, Africa’s first Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, was President-General of the African National Congress (ANC) from December 1952 until his death in 1967. Chief Luthuli was the most widely known and respected African leader of his era. A latecomer to politics, the Chief was 54 when he assumed the leadership of the ANC.
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Launch: Colour Me Yellow by Thuli Nhlapo (2 June)

Thuli Nhlapo grew up constantly hearing these words from her mother. She was seven years old when she realised that no one called her by name. Known as “Yellow”, she was bullied at home and at school. Fearing that she had a terrible disease, she withdrew into herself.

Years later, Thuli is still haunted by her childhood experiences. She confronts her mother about her real father and real surname. Getting no answers, Thuli embarks on years of searching for the truth.

In the process, she uncovers unsettling family secrets that irrevocably change all their lives.

“Whilst exposing and exploding the impact of family secrets on people’s sense of identity and well-being, it is also a celebration of one woman’s determination to live her life to the fullest.” - Mmatshilo Motsei

Thuli Nhlapo is the Managing Director of her own media company, Thuli Nhlapo Media. She has previously worked for ABC News (USA), Daily Sun and SABC News as reporter and/or producer. She has also written for The Sowetan, Mail & Guardian and The Star. Nhlapo works as a communication strategist and content producer and is based in Gauteng.

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Fiction Friday: read an excerpt from Kirsten Miller’s The Hum of the Sun

On the side of the road, two boys are walking, holding hands. The smaller, barefoot one does not speak. The words are there in Zuko’s head but they are stuck somewhere between his thoughts and his mouth.

He sees patterns, though, all around him – in the clouds, the stones, the arch of the sun. He hums the sun’s sound, his fingers painting pathways in the air. Some say he is cursed, others believe he is magical.

To Ash, Zuko is his little brother, all he has left in the world. He has not heard of autism. The older boy is a teenager who has seen more than most his age. Ash stood beside their mother when she buried their sister. Then, when his mother also succumbed to illness, he dug her grave alone. Now he is leading his brother to the city to find their father.

As the two traverse the land, they are forced to eat what they find and sleep under the stars. And Ash keeps wondering: Will their father know them? Will he take them in?

Kirsten Miller is the author of All is Fish, shortlisted for the EU Literary Award, Sister Moon, and The Hum of the Sun, winner of the Wilbur and Nino Smith Foundation’s Prize for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Her non-fiction book, Children on the Bridge, on working in the field of autism was longlisted for the Alan Paton Award. She lives in Durban.

Read an excerpt from Kirsten’s exceptional novel here:

They followed the road that drew away from the town. Ash’s boots drummed a determined crunch on the gravel, repetitive, rhythmic steps that Zuko counted as he walked. The sound kept their pace, measuring the morning. Zuko focused on the footsteps. The distance between each step remained exact, emitting no sound as negative space, predictable and consistent. Footsteps, like stars and circles and a pattern of sticks and stones, had the potential to be infinite if something didn’t occur to stop them. There was the predictability of potential infinity. So reliable. Nothing other than what it was.

Ash carried the green bag on his back. The clouds in the sky held no such pattern nor predictability. Clouds tumbled like bedclothes with neither order nor purpose for themselves when the night was over. Ash’s free hand kept a firm grip on Zuko’s. Zuko understood it prevented his impulse to run back. It kept their motion forward, despite what his body might want. The craving was to watch the sharp pine needles fall from his hands for hours behind the house, or for some other activity that could satisfy his need for the whole space of potential infinity.

Zuko had no knowledge of what was in front of them. A pigeon chortled a hollow, hooting sound from deep within the base of its throat. Gravel crunched. Trees held the boys on a single track, guarding the road on either side. His bare feet were practised at navigating the endless small stones with ease. He counted them beneath his calloused soles. He matched his steps with Ash’s stride, but the rhythm fell out too soon because his legs were shorter, his feet more feeling, and he lost the balance between their movements. A quiet discomfort grew in his chest.

As the morning warmed, the sound of birds penetrated the air, stabbing-pitched tweets, unpredictable and random. He wrenched his hand from his brother’s and covered his ears to protect his brain. He heard Ash’s voice and his fast-talking, but the words were indecipherable. He had no idea what they meant.

A cold jab sliced through his foot. There was no pain. Instead a thick sensation of bile passed through his gut. He took his palms from his ears and shook his head. When it failed to work the first time, he kept up the motion that put the nausea in the background, and gave him something to focus on. Ash kept up the rhythmic crunch beside him, looking ahead. Where are we going? Zuko wanted to ask, but he had no words to say it with. Why have we left my mother in the ground? When will we go back?

Slowly the clouds melted from the sky, and left an endless hole of blue. The cold on the underside of his foot grew. He couldn’t look down. The sick feeling pulled him forward and he was afraid he would fall. Suddenly Ash grabbed hold of his hands.

“Zuko, your foot!” Ash yanked him onto the side of the road where soft tufts of grass grew together to create a resting place. He sat and took Zuko’s heel in his lap. The knapsack rustled. Ash extracted the water bottle from the bag and poured water over the wound to clean it. Then he put the bottle to his lips and drank in two guilty swallows. “Here,” he said, and handed the bottle over. “Have some. We’ll fill it up at the bend, before the road leaves the river.”

Zuko drank. The water seemed only to fuel the sick feeling inside him, to swell the sack of nausea that weighted his stomach and head. He stopped drinking. Ash took the bottle back and screwed on the lid. He leaned over Zuko’s foot. “There’s glass in here,” he said. “I’m going to pull it out with my nails. It’ll be sore. Hold on.”

Zuko’s brain isolated the word “sore”, and rolled it around in his mind. He tried to figure out what that was. He only knew his foot was cold and his head was thick and he couldn’t look at the cut or the blood that continued to seep from it, though Ash had tried to wash it away with the water. Something plucked his skin, like a string or a harp or a bow or a chicken’s feather. The cold intensified, and then faded. “We’ll find you a pair of boots,” Ash said. “You can’t go the whole way without proper shoes. And you’ll have to wear something on your feet when we get there.”

There remained a picture so clear it might have been a photograph in Zuko’s memory. It had been four years. Now he thought of the man smiling and the man not smiling. He thought of the man with his arm around his mother, and how the top of his head had looked when he’d held Zuko up high above him and bounced him in the air with giant hands. A searing ripped through Zuko as though it was sound. Ash’s elbow angled into him as he tore a shred of cloth from the bottom of his shirt, and bound Zuko’s foot with it. Zuko laughed into the air. If he squinted his eyes and held his head at a certain angle, his toes seemed to have separated from the rest of his body.


They reached the main road two hours later. On the way, a vehicle stopped. A man put his head out the window of the cab of a truck supporting a canopy filled with chickens. Ash recognised him as the owner of the makeshift spaza shop where his mother had bought their milk and washing powder and green hand-hardening soap. “You boys not at school?” the man asked. He wore a woollen knitted hat over the dome of his head.

“My mother died,” Ash replied.

“I heard from the priest,” the man said. “We’re expecting a funeral.”

“I heard,” Ash said. “We won’t be there.”

“You don’t go to school?”

Ash squinted at the road ahead. “Zuko doesn’t go to school. He won’t sit in a chair too long.”

“And you?”

Ash shifted on his feet. “I can’t go now. There’s things I have to do.”

“You should have shown your mother some respect and buried her properly.”

“There’s a lot of things we don’t do properly, my family.”

“I heard there was a rich guy who supports you. From the city.”

“I don’t know about that.”

The man pointed at Zuko. “Is he the one that won’t speak?”

“Can’t speak. He would if he could.”

“I heard about him. He okay in the head?”

“He’s standing right here. Don’t talk about him like that.”

“From what I’ve heard, he won’t understand me anyways.”

“That’s not true.”

The man put both his hands on the wheel, and looked bored.

“You going to the city?” Ash asked. He assessed the chickens in the back. They’d both fit in there, if they had to.

“Why? You want a ride?”

“Our father’s there.”

“You’ve got a father?”

“Everyone’s got a father.”

“Not everyone knows who that is.”

“I know. She told me. My mother told me.”

He raised an eyebrow. “From what I heard, your mother quite liked the men.”

“What are you saying?”

“Nothing. Get in the back with the chickens. I’ll give you a lift home.”

The sky rolled out to another place. The road would take them there. There was nothing to go back to. Ash shook his head. Zuko squinted into the sun and played with the light through his long eyelashes.

“No,” Ash said. “We’re on our way already.”

“Someone will report you, taking a kid like that on the road.” The man flicked his left indicator, already resigned that they had made their decision.

“You think he looks like he doesn’t want to be out here?”

The man shrugged, and pushed his beanie back from his dark forehead. “You got shoes for him?”

“In the bag,” Ash lied. “He doesn’t like wearing them.”

“If anyone asks me, I’ll deny I ever saw the two of you. I don’t want any trouble.”

Ash shrugged. “Whatever. It’s a free country.”

“Now it is.” The vehicle accelerated onto the tar and the wheels spun slightly, like the sound of a small animal.

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Bekendstelling: Jeremy vannie Elsies deur Jeremy Vearey (31 Mei)

Van laaitie tot politieke kryger, bandiet tot generaal-majoor, ondergrondse operateur tot presidensiële lyfwag…

Van sy kleintyd in Elsiesrivier neem Jeremy Vearey se lewe talle onvoorspelbare wendings.

Sy eiesoortige vertelling sluit die ouere manne van sy jeug in, die ooms by die damstafel, kerkjeugkampe en die Kommuniste-manifes, skoolhou en ondergrondse werk vir MK, en sy aanhouding op Robbeneiland. As Mandela se lyfwag help hy ’n opstand in die Karoo ontlont, voor hy deel word van die nuwe SAPD, waar hy saam met die gewese vyand terrorisme en Kaapse bendes takel.

En onder alles loop ’n donker stroom.

“’n Baasspeurder met ’n vlymskerp pen.” – Jacques Pauw

“Die boek sal jou ontroer, laat lag, laat kopskud en laat nadink, maar bowenal sal dit jou elke nou en dan laat vergeet om asem te haal. ’n Outobiografie wat in die riller-afdeling hoort.” – Nathan Trantraal

“Ontstellend goed. Ek kon dit nie neersit nie; ’n bondel dinamiet.” – Riaan de Villiers

“’n Vars stem oor ’n lewe op die snykant.” – Tobie Wiese


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NB Publishers sign Rob Rose to write an explosive new book on the Steinhoff saga

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Shortlists for 2018 Media24 Books Awards announced

Media24 Books is proud to announce the shortlists for the 2018 Media24 Books Literary Awards.

This year, prizes to the value of R210 000 in total will be awarded in six categories.

These annual awards serve to recognise the best work published during the previous year by Media24 book publishers including NB Publishers (through imprints such as Human & Rousseau, Tafelberg, Kwela and Queillerie) as well as Jonathan Ball Publishers.

Independent judging panels compiled the shortlists from 80 submissions in total. The shortlists consist of three titles each, apart from the Elizabeth Eybers Poetry Prize where an exceptionally strong field saw four titles included on the shortlist.

The shortlists, in alphabetical order according to author, are:

Herman Charles Bosman Prize for English Fiction (novels, short stories, drama)

The Life of Worm and Other Misconceptions by Ken Barris (Kwela)
I am Pandarus by Michiel Heyns (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
Being Kari by Qarnita Loxton (Kwela)

Recht Malan Prize for Nonfiction

How to Steal a City by Crispian Olver (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
The President’s Keepers by Jacques Pauw (Tafelberg)
Khwezi: The Story of Fezekile Kuzwayo by Redi Tlhabi (Jonathan Ball Publishers)

WA Hofmeyr Prize for Afrikaans Fiction (novels, short stories, drama)

As in die mond by Nicole Jaekel Strauss (Queillerie)
Die wêreld van Charlie Oeng by Etienne van Heerden (Tafelberg)
Groen soos die hemel daarbo by Eben Venter (Tafelberg)

Elisabeth Eybers Prize for Poetry

Nou, hier by Corné Coetzee (Human & Rousseau)
Radbraak by Jolyn Phillips (Human & Rousseau)
Alles het niet kom wôd by Nathan Trantraal (Kwela)
In die stille agterkamer by Marlene van Niekerk (Human & Rousseau)

MER Prize for Youth Novels

Hap by Lesley Beake (Tafelberg)
Blou is nie ’n kleur nie by Carin Krahtz (Tafelberg)
Soen by Jan Vermeulen (Tafelberg)

MER Prize for Illustrated Children’s Books

The All Africa Wildlife Express by Rosamund Haden and Tony Pinchuck (illustrator)
Karel Kraai se kitaar by Louise Smit and Luan Serfontein (illustrator)
Liewe Heksie en die sterretjieskombuis – based on the original story by Verna Vels and illustrated by Vian Oelofsen.

The winner in each category receives R35 000. The MER Prize for Illustrated Children’s Books is shared by the author and illustrator of the winning title.

The awards function will be held in Cape Town on Thursday 14 June 2018.

The Life of Worm

Book details


I am Pandarus


Being Kari


How To Steal A City


The President's Keepers




As in die Mond


Die wêreld van Charlie Oeng


Groen soos die hemel daarbo


Nou, hier




Alles het niet kom wôd


In die stille agterkamer




Blou is nie 'n kleur nie




All Africa Wildlife Express


Karel Kraai se kitaar


Liewe Heksie en die Sterretjieskombuis

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Fiksie Vrydag: lees ’n uittreksel van André P Brink se Die rooikop en die redakteur en ander stories

Dekades voor hy beroemdheid verwerf het as internasionaal bekroonde skrywer van meer as 25 romans, het André P Brink gedurende die vyftigerjare sy brood en botter verdien met die skryf van stories vir gesinstydskrifte. In dié bloemlesing verskyn daar vir die eerste keer ooit ’n keur van die liefdesverhale wat hy as student in die destydse Die Brandwag en ook Die Huisgenoot gepubliseer het.

In dié dosyn verhale oor eertydse jintelmans en koppige heldinne wat nie huiwer om hul sê te sê nie, word dit gou duidelik hoe die vroeë Brink sy skrywerstem geslyp het, en andersyds kan ’n mens onmiddellik ’n kern van sy latere, volwasse skrywerstem bespeur. Die landskap van Parys, ’n boekeredakteurskantoor, die onmoontlikheid om tussen twee liefdes te moet kies: Leitmotifs wat jare later, hoewel meer vervorm, steeds sou weerklank vind in Brink se werk.

Die rooikop en die redakteur en ander stories kombineer Brink se eiesoortige humor met ’n tikkie nostalgie – perfek vir ’n ouer én nuwe geslag lesers. Dit is saamgestel deur Cecilia van Zyl, voormalige verhaleredakteur van Huisgenoot.

Die rooikop en die redakteur

’n Kortverhaalredakteur is ook maar ’n mens, en toe Jan Wentzel die vyfde agtereenvolgende verhaal in die mandjie met ’n dik blou kruis op die titelblad moet merk, is sy geduld gedaan. Dit is tyd dat hulle uitvind dat Die Voorpunt nie met enige snert gediend is nie. Gedorie! ’n Mens het darem beter dinge om te doen as om sulke kinderagtige brousels te lees.

Hy trek sy tikmasjien nader en skuif sy bril reg. (Dis nie dat sy oë juis veel makeer nie, maar die bril is die enigste manier om sy agt-en-twintig jaar ouer en waardiger te maak.)

Die skrywer? Hy soek die naam en adres met sy potlood. O, dis ’n vrou. Kon dit ook verwag het. Klein . . . – hy soek ’n woord – klein ditsedat! Marié Hurter; mooi naam, maar daaraan kan hy hom nie nou steur nie. Tien teen een is dit ’n oujongnooi wat haar eie stokkerige frustrasies op hierdie manier in ’n suikermengsel op papier uitstort. Sy vingers kletter oor die toetse.

die tydskrif aan die spits in Suid-Afrika
Tel. 31-4151 Posbus 351 Johannesburg

Mej. M. Hurter
Posbus 2345
Geagte mej. Hurter
Ek stuur u verhaal, “Blou maanskyn”, hiermee terug. Dit spyt my om te sê dat dit my nie spyt om hom af te keur nie. U behoort uit ons gepubliseerde verhale af te lei dat ons tydskrif lankal sy adolessente jeans afgeskud het. Die redaksie het baie werk en kan nie bekostig om hul kosbare tyd te verkwis met die lees van minderwaardige verhale soos hierdie nie.
U het dit seker goed bedoel, maar u kan dit gerus oorweeg om u goeie bedoelings op ’n minder onskadelike manier te uit as om die skryfkuns daaronder te versmoor.
Die uwe
Jan Wentzel

“Sóó!” Jan draai die vel uit die masjien en sit dit in ’n koevert. “Dit sal die ellendeling leer!”

Hy dink ’n bietjie skuldig aan die vorige redaksievergadering toe die hoofredakteur hulle dit so op die hart gedruk het: “Mense, kyk, Die Voorpunt staan op die voorpunt. Maar moet nooit ’n medewerker afskrik nie. Aanmoediging en aandag kan dalk talent aan die lig bring wat anders vir die mensdom verlore sou gewees het.”

Hy troos hom daaraan dat meneer Keyter al verby vyftig trek en nie meer weet wat dit is om elke dag stringe snertverhale te keur en die paar korreltjies van die kaf te skei nie. Buitendien, as hy dié juffrou Hurter nie nou skrikmaak nie, gaan sy vir hulle dalk nog wie weet hoeveel ellende met haar simpel stories veroorsaak. Voorkoming is beter as genesing.

“Meneer Wentzel,” kom die sekretaresse kort voor halfeen die volgende dag by Jan se kantoor in, “daar’s ’n dame wat u wil spreek.”

Hy loer na sy horlosie. “Ons loop oor ’n kwartier. Ek is in die middel van ’n verhaal. Kan sy nie vanmiddag kom nie?”

Die sekretaresse skud haar kop. “Sy’s haastig.” Sy aarsel. “En as ek u raad verskuldig is, laat haar maar kom, anders is sy kapabel en rand een van ons aan.”

Hy haal sy bril af en beskou haar. “Juffrou Neethling?”

“En sy’s haastig ook,” sê die sekretaresse. “Sy wil nog ’n draai hier onder by die vroueredaktrise maak en dan moet sy jaag vir ’n afspraak of iets.”

“Toe, toe!” keer hy. Juffrou Neethling, pligsgetroue mens, probeer alle besonderhede gewoonlik so volledig as moontlik en in so ’n kort tydjie as moontlik verskaf.

“En sy staan op ’n verbode parkeerplek ook. ’n Klein groen motortjie.”

“Mylafstand?” hou hy hom ernstig.

Juffrou Neethling glimlag verleë. “Nee, dis ernstig, meneer. Sy het rooi hare.”

Hy haal sy skouers op. “Nou goed.”

Maar voor juffrou Neethling na haar eie kantoor kan teruggaan, spring die deur oop en sý kom in: die pragtigste elfmensie wat jy jou kan voorstel.

“Is jy Jan Wentzel?” vra sy. En Jan besef sonder meer dat sy veel meer vonk het as wat dit op die oog af mag lyk.

Hy staan op en beduie die sekretaresse om te verdwyn. “Tot u diens, juffrou.”

“Tot u diens se voet!”

Sy kom met driftige treë nader en haar groen oë blits.

“Het jy dié ding geskryf?” Sy sjoerr ’n vel papier op sy lessenaar neer.

Hy vat-vat dit ’n slag mis en lees dit onderstebo: “Geagte mejuffrou Hurter. Ek stuur u verhaal . . .”

“Het jy dit geskryf?” vra sy.

“Juffrou?” Hy sit sy bril op. “Juffrou, ek . . .”

“Moenie staan en juffrou nie!” Sy vat die brief by hom. “Het jy of het jy nie?”

“Sit ’n oomblik, juffrou Hurter. Ek sal die saak mooi uiteensit.”

“Ek staan lekker, dankie.” Sy vroetel-vroetel in haar handsak en haal ’n manuskrip uit. “En hier’s my storie, ‘Blou maanskyn’. Sê my nou baie mooi hoekom jy hom teruggestuur het. En ek wag nie lank nie.”

Jan vee oor sy voorkop. “Moenie so kwaad wees nie, juffrou.”

Dit lyk of sy hom gaan spoeg en hy skuif sy stoel ’n entjie agteruit.

“Kyk, meneer Jan Wentzel,” sê sy stadig en baie nadruklik. “Verstaan jy Afrikaans? Jy het my storie teruggestuur en jy het vir my ’n baie onbeskofte brief geskryf. Hoekom? Ek gee jou vyf minute om te antwoord.”

Moord in die redaksiekantoor, dink hy. Maar hy is nog gans te verward om iets te sê. Al wat hy weet is dat hy die pragtigste meisie in jare der jare hier voor hom het en dat sy hom wil verniel as sy hom net kan bykom. Hoe maak mens nou as dit so gaan, h’m?

“Toe, ek wil hoor hoekom –”

Hy vervies hom skielik. “Jy het dit nou al ’n paar maal gesê, juffrou. Ek is nie doof nie.”

Sy knip haar oë en skrik ’n bietjie. “Maar . . .” sê sy. “Maar . . . Dit was ’n mooi storie, ek weet. Hennie het ook so gesê.”

Sy moed sak. Hennie. Mag ’n ongedierte die man vang!

“Juffrou,” sê hy sukkel-sukkel. “Kyk, ek was gister ’n siek man. Amper dood ook. Dis ’n genade dat jy my nog hier sien staan. En toe lees ek vyf simp- . . . vyf swak stories in ’n ry. Dis meer as wat vlees en bloed kan dra. Dis nie dat jou storie buite hoop is nie, sien. Ons is net bietjie vol op die oomblik . . .”

“Vol se dinges!” wip sy die brief onder sy neus in. “Is dit hoe mens skryf as jou tydskrif te vol is? ‘. . . u goeie bedoelings op ’n minder onskadelike manier te uit as om die skryfkuns daaronder te versmoor.’ Verbeel jou. Verbéél jou! Jou onbeskofte, ellendige mansmens!” Sy wip om en loop deur toe. “Dink julle kan enige ding aanvang net omdat julle met ’n onskadelike, weerlose ou meisietjie te doen het!” Die deur ghwarrr agter haar toe.

Onskadelike, weerlose ou meisietjie, dink hy. Maar die eintlike probleem wat hom beethet, is dit: hoe gaan hy ooit, ooit daarin slaag om haar in die hande te kry? Want dit, en niks minder as dit nie, is wat hy besluit het toe sy vaneffe hier ingeborrel het. Dis presies wat mens nodig het op ’n koue wintersaand: so ’n stukkie lewe in die huis. Maar filosofeer gaan nie help nie. Hoe gaan hy haar ná dese tot enigiets oorreed? ’n Meisie kry nie gou ’n sagte plekkie in die hart vir die man wat sy as ’n boef en onbeskofte vent uitgeskel het nie.

Maar Jan Wentzel is darem ook nie verniet kortverhaalredakteur nie. Hy kan ’n moeilike situasie hanteer as dit moet. En as dit nog nooit gemoet het nie, dan moet dit nou.

Hy skarrel rond tussen die goed wat juffrou Neethling vertel het: die meisie – Marié Hurter (mooi naam) – moet nog by die vroueredaktrise ’n draai maak, dan jaag vir ’n afspraak (Hennie Blikslaer!). En die motor staan onwettig geparkeer. Groen goggamobiel. Hy is nog besig om te dink toe die gehoorbuis al teen sy oor lê.

“Juffrou Neethling? Skakel my deur na Hendrik Buys heel onder. En opskud!”

Hy hoor die telefoon onder brr-brr en dan kliek.



“Broer, nael met daardie lang bene van jou uit in die straat. Daar staan ’n groen goggamobiel êrens waar hy nie moet staan nie. Stel hom buite aksie. Diskonnekteer hom, betjoins hom – moet net nie skade aanrig nie – blaas ’n wiel af, enigiets. En as jy ’n rooikopmeisie met ’n groen rok sien aankom, maak dat jy wegkom en koes vir die klippe.”


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“One of my mother’s biggest regrets was that she never got to see my father’s body.” Read an excerpt from Lukhanyo & Abigail Calata’s My Father Died for This

When the Cradock Four’s Fort Calata was murdered by agents of the apartheid state in 1985, his son Lukhanyo was only three years old.

Thirty-one years later Lukhanyo, now a journalist, becomes one of the SABC Eight when he defies Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s reign of censorship at the public broadcaster by writing an open letter that declares: my father didn’t die for this.

Now, with his wife Abigail, Lukhanyo brings to life the father he never knew and investigates the mystery that surrounds his death despite two high-profile inquests.

Join them in a poignant and inspiring journey into the history of a remarkable family that traces the struggle against apartheid beginning with Fort’s grandfather, Rivonia trialist and ANC Secretary-General Rev James Calata.

Lukhanyo Calata is a television journalist, who worked for eNCA before joining the SABC’s parliamentary office. He lives in Cape Town.

Abigail Calata is a journalist who has worked for Beeld as a political reporter and parliamentary correspondent, Die Burger and the University of Cape Town’s Law Faculty. She lives in Cape Town.

Read an excerpt from the Calata’s powerful book, as published in the Daily Maverick:

My mother remembered a heavy fatigue descending on her as day broke on 20 July. “On the day of the funeral, I was tired,” she said. “I was so very tired. And I was not myself. I was just surrounded by darkness.”

That morning, she would defiantly wear a dress in the black, green, and gold colours of the ANC.

The remains arrived in Cradock quite early that Saturday morning. My father’s coffin was brought and placed on the stoep of Tatou’s home, almost on the exact spot where his grandfather’s coffin had stood just two years previously. The remains of the other three men were taken to their respective homes.

Paul Verryn would insist that the coffin with my father’s remains not be opened, in a bid to shield my mother from the trauma of seeing her husband’s badly mutilated body.

On my father’s death certificate, the cause of death is ascribed to “stab wounds to the heart and the consequences thereof”. What it neglects to mention is the number of times he was stabbed – at least 25 times. It also doesn’t mention that his tongue and several fingers on his left hand were cut off. His body, and in particular his face, was then doused with petrol and set alight – to make identification difficult.

Despite this, one of my mother’s biggest regrets was that she never got to see my father’s body.

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Bridge Books launch: Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree by Niq Mhlongo (13 May)

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.

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