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As a medical detective of the modern world, forensic pathologist Ryan Blumenthal’s chief goal is to bring perpetrators to justice. He has performed thousands of autopsies, which have helped bring numerous criminals to book. In Autopsy he covers the hard lessons learnt as a rookie pathologist, as well as some of the most unusual cases he’s encountered.
During his career, for example, he has dealt with high-profile deaths, mass disasters, death by lightning and people killed by African wildlife. Blumenthal takes the reader behind the scenes at the mortuary, describing a typical autopsy and the instruments of the trade. He also shares a few trade secrets, like how to establish when a suicide is more likely to be a homicide.
Even though they cannot speak, the dead have a lot to say – and Blumenthal is there to listen.
In spite of Cyril Ramaphosa's "new dawn", there are powerful forces in the ruling party that risk losing everything if corruption and state capture finally do come to an end. At the centre of the old guard's fightback efforts is Ace Magashule, a man viewed by some as South Africa's most dangerous politician.
In this explosive book, investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh ventures deeper than ever before into Magashule's murky dealings, from his time as a struggle activist in the 1980s to his powerful rule as premier of the Free State province for nearly a decade, and his rise to one of the ANC's most influential positions. Sifting through heaps of records, documents and exclusive source interviews, Myburgh explores Magashule's relationship with the notorious Gupta family and other tender moguls; investigates government projects costing billions that enriched his friends and family but failed the poor; reveals how he was about to be arrested by the Scorpions before their disbandment in the late 2000s; and exposes the methods used to keep him in power in the Free State and to secure him the post of ANC secretary-general.
Most tellingly, Myburgh pieces together a pack of leaked emails and documents to reveal shocking new details on a massive Free State government contract and Magashule's dealings with a businessman who was gunned down in Sandton in 2017. These files seem to lay bare the methods of a man who usually operated without leaving a trace.
Gangster State is an unflinching examination of the ANC's top leadership in the post-Jacob Zuma era, one that should lead readers to a disconcerting conclusion: When it comes to the forces of capture, South Africa is still far from safe.
In November 2019, Deon Wiggett’s sensational weekly podcasts held South Africa in thrall as he hunted down the paedophile who raped him as a schoolboy. Now, in My Only Story, he completes his exposé of Willem Breytenbach, the once brilliant teacher and later media luminary who led a predatory life.
Deon’s mission to expose his abuser takes him from Breytenbach’s high-school years at an agricultural school in South Africa’s hinterland to the famous Grey College in Bloemfontein and the media titan Naspers. But his quest reveals so much more. As he traces systemic failures through schools great and small, he uncovers a culture of complicity that poses a clear and present danger to the country’s children. While investigating men who prey on boys and girls, Deon devises a model that anyone can use to identify paedophiles in their midst. In his own words: ‘It’s pleasant to pretend that men don’t rape children, but once you accept that they do, it becomes surprisingly easy to recognise their trickery. Once you match a universal pattern to a specific man’s profile, you can spot the deceit before it is too late.’
My Only Story is a riveting, thoughtful and often irreverent account of one man’s determination to overcome childhood trauma; to help others face their demons; and to extract some beauty from the boyhood he lost.
In December 2010 while in Port Elizabeth, Andy Kawa was abducted, attacked and raped for 15 hours at Kings Beach. Her attackers were never caught. She successfully sued the police for failing to properly investigate her attack.
In November 2018, Port Elizabeth Judge Sarah Sephton found police officers were 'grossly negligent' in the performance of their duties with regards to her case both in the search and investigation.
This is Andy's story.
In the 1990s, deep-cover police agent RS536 took on the Durban underworld as part of a new organised crime intelligence unit. He rubbed shoulders with drug lords, smugglers and corrupt cops, and was instrumental in busting an international drug ring and foiling a bank heist, among many other dangerous engagements.
But then, as the country’s new democracy birthed a struggle between the old and the new guard in the South African Police Service, his identity and his life came under threat. In this action-packed account, Johann van Loggerenberg describes how, as a young policeman, he worked closely with the investigative team of the Goldstone Commission to uncover the ‘third force’ – apartheid security forces that supplied weapons to the Inkatha Freedom Party to destabilise the country.
He also delves into how and why, at the height of state capture at the South African Revenue Service in 2014, he was falsely accused of being an apartheid spy, a lie that persists up to today. Here, finally, is the truth behind deep-cover police agent RS536.
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.
Helena Kriel finds herself in deep personal crisis, where she's forced to ask herself: Where do I belong? After the writers' strike in LA renders her useless and her marriage falls apart, she travels back in Johannesburg. Little does she know that she'll find clarity in the African bush as she volunteers to work with baby rhinos, orphaned by poaching. Using the ancient technique of meditation, Helena finds she can access these broken beings, to connect through nature and find new homes.
Born Perlé van Schalkwyk, into a strict Jehovah Witness family, after studying drama at Stellenbosch University, Perlé quickly realises that acting is not going to buy her that house on the hill. And so erotic dancing and stripping becomes her modus operandi and GiGi is born.
Tales of drugs, murder and porn lace her fascinating life, along with stories of courage and cunning in the sexist underworld. GiGi is a true survivor. Ultimately, this bare all memoir will both titillate and inspire.
Tebogo Thekisho, better known as ProVerb, first caught South Africa’s attention in 2005 with the release of his now classic debut hip-hop album, The Book of ProVerb. For over a decade he has been a regular on TV screens across the country as the host of Idols South Africa. While juggling a successful, multifaceted media career, he has also become a thriving entrepreneur with interests in property and TV production.
In this memoir, Tebogo pays tribute to the people who’ve contributed to him becoming the person he is, especially his parents, his grandmother and his siblings, while sharing the lessons he’s learnt through the different seasons of his life. He talks frankly about his public divorce and attempted suicide, as well as his award-winning music and television career.
This is a vulnerable, inspiring account of how Tebogo has risen above his personal challenges to take charge of his life.
Dr Joan Louwrens was always drawn to wild places, which were balm to her soul. When her husband died, leaving her alone with two small daughters to raise, she threw herself wholeheartedly into ‘adventure medicine’, seeking out the world’s most remote corners – on land and at sea – to practise her healing, both her own and others.
Working in wild places from the Kruger Park to the Australian Outback, the Atlantic Ocean islands, and both the south and north poles, ‘Doctor Joan’ dealt with a vast range of medical issues, from rabies to deep-vein thrombosis, childbirth to wisdom-tooth extraction, catatonia to depression.
Showing an eagerness to learn and a humility that isn’t always a given in her profession, and with a wry eye and a sympathetic outlook, Joan Louwrens has written a memoir that’s a poignant and often funny story of a life lived to the full
The story of the Springboks 2019 Rugby World Cup victory is one of the
most inspiring in South African sporting history.
Patrick van Rensburg (1931-2017) was an anti-apartheid activist and self-made 'alternative educationist' whose work received international recognition with the Right Livelihood Award in 1981. Born in KwaZulu-Natal into what he described as a 'very ordinary South African family that believed in the virtue of racism', Van Rensburg became a self-styled rebel who tirelessly pursued his own vision of a brighter future for emerging societies in post-colonial southern Africa.
His emotional and intellectual struggle against his upbringing and cultural roots led him to reject his life of white privilege in South Africa. Determined to prevent the emergence of a privileged black elite in post-colonial society, he devoted his life to implementing an alternative, egalitarian approach to education, focusing on quality and functional schooling for the majority. Rewarded with the internationally prestigious Right Livelihood Award for his unique contribution to education, he saw this work as a 'necessary tool of development'.
Exiled from South Africa in 1960 because of his involvement in the London boycott campaign that gave birth to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, Van Rensburg moved to Botswana (then Bechuanaland). There he founded cooperatives, provided vocational training and was among the earliest educationists to espouse the discipline of development studies. Perhaps his best-known legacy is the Swaneng Hill School, which he founded to provide an educational home for primary school 'dropouts' through a curriculum that combined theory and practice, and academic and manual labour. He involved his pupils in building their school, running it, providing their own food, and making their own equipment and furniture.
Van Rensburg was an innovative and charismatic visionary who captured the zeitgeist of the late twentieth century, and whose work and vision still have resonance for debates in educational policy today.
Like so many of her generation, Lwando Xaso came of age alongside the beginnings and growth of South Africa’s constitutional democracy. Her journey into adulthood was a radically different one from that of earlier generations, marked by hope that changing perceptions would usher in a new and free society.
Made in South Africa – A Black Woman’s Stories of Rage, Resistance and Progress is a vibrant collection of essays in which Lwando examines with incisive clarity some of the events that have shaped her experience of South Africa – a country with huge potential but weighed down by persistent racism and inequality, cultural appropriation, sexism and corruption, all legacies of a complicated history.
As a young lawyer intent on climbing the corporate ladder, Lwando’s life’s direction was changed by a personal experience of the oppressive capacity of a supposedly democratic government when it unjustly fired a close family friend and mentor from a senior government position. She found herself on his legal team and the turmoil the case created within her led her to further her studies in constitutional law, and to pick up her pen and share with a wider audience her views of what was happening in her beloved country.
Her outlook was further shaped by her experience of clerking at the Constitutional Court for Justice Edwin Cameron, which deepened her respect for the South African Constitution, and what it really means for a resilient people to strive continually to live up to its moral and legal standards.
Lwando’s writing reflects her unflinching resolve to live according to the precepts of our groundbreaking Constitution and offers a challenge to all South Africans to believe in and achieve ‘the improbable’.
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.
Jan Smuts, one of the most infamous South Africans of the twentieth century remains a controversial figure. Was he one of the outstanding statesmen of his time or was he perhaps a traitor of Afrikaner interests and possibly a racist? Today there are still strong opinions on Smuts’s role.
Like Paul Kruger at the end of the nineteenth century, and Nelson Mandela as the twentieth century drew to a close, it was Jan Smuts who stood head and shoulders above his contemporaries in the first half of the twentieth century; he was a leader of extraordinary stature and his statesmanship is recognised internationally. And yet, the NP and ANC governments have downplayed his contributions for decades, because it did not endorse their Afrikaner and black nationalist versions of South African history. A reappraisal of Smuts will fill a gap in the literature on the history of South Africa in the first half of the twentieth century. Many of the biographies and other works on Smuts appeared during his lifetime or soon after his death. Today, a few generations later, we have a better perspective on his contributions within the historical context of his time. New evidence continues to come to light, making it possible to reach a more informed opinion on questions about Smuts, issues which previously could not be answered conclusively.
The purpose of the book, written almost three generations after his death, is to recall and re-evaluate Smuts’s contributions in various fields and in this way introduce him to the younger generation. It is important that Smuts be judged in the context of his particular time and circumstances. As far as his outlook on war and peace, civilisation, race and class differences, the capitalist system and South Africa’s place in the wider world are concerned, Smuts was certainly a product of his time. It would be unfair to measure him and his contemporaries against today’s norms and values. To do justice to him, his supporters, as well as his opponents and critics, due consideration should be accorded to how they lived, thought and reasoned in that era.
When working on the UNESCO Slave Route project in the early 2000s, Botlhale Tema discovered the extraordinary fact that her highly educated family from the farm Welgeval in the Pilanesberg had originated with two young men who had been child slaves in the midnineteenth century. She pieced together the fragments of information from relatives and members of the community, and scoured the archives to produce this book.
Land Of My Ancestors, previously published as The People Of Welgeval, tells the story of the two young men and their descendants, as they build a life for themselves on Welgeval. As they raise their families and take in people who have been dispossessed, we follow the births, deaths, adventures and joys of the farm’s inhabitants in their struggle to build a new community.
Set against the backdrop of slavery, colonialism, the Anglo-Boer War and the rise of apartheid, this is a fascinating and insightful retelling of history. It is an inspiring story about friendship and family, landownership and learning, and about how people transform themselves from victims to victors.
A new prologue and epilogue give more historical context to the narrative and tell the story of the land claim involving the farm, which happened after the book’s original publication.
After an extraordinary four-year battle, Gabi Lowe lost her beautiful, talented 20-year-old daughter, Jenna Lowe, on 8 June 2015 to pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare degenerative lung disease, following a double lung transplant.
Jenna was young, bright and articulate. She was LEAD SA’s Youth Hero of the Year in 2015. Her death was mourned by thousands of people whose lives she had touched. During her short but full life, Jenna and the Lowe family raised much-needed awareness around this rare and devastating disease, highlighting the dire need for access to medication and organ donors locally. Although desperately ill, Jenna became the face for organ donation in South Africa through the hugely successful #GetMeTo21 campaign in which she invited all South Africans to attend her twenty-first birthday celebration by clicking on a link to become an organ donor. Tragically, Jenna died four months before reaching her milestone.
Brilliantly written, riveting in all its terrible truth and pain, in this brutally honest memoir Gabi Lowe shares her family’s desperate fight to save Jenna’s life. Get Me to 21 will inspire us to believe that the ability to face even the darkest, and most unimaginable, lives deep within us all.
Brent Meersman’s memoir of a humble yet eccentric upbringing in a Milnerton, Cape Town, flat in the 1970’s and 1980’s reads as a stirring eulogy to his schizophrenic mother, yet also as a vivid snapshot in time.
His adoring mother, a horse-loving artist, received only rudimentary treatment and Brent, his brother and father had to look to each other for support. His father battled alcoholism and unemployment, at one point taking the whole family to Belgium, where he had found work, only for them to return a year later, defeated. Traversing a home environment constantly on high alert for something to go wrong, waiting for his mother’s fragile mental stability to shatter, not finding support in his father, whose drinking and absences from home took a punishing toll on the family, bred in the author an almost heroic resilience.
This delicate yet brutal memoir, filled with wry humour, will resonate with many readers.
1 Recce: Behind Enemy Lines takes the reader into the ‘inner sanctum’ of the Recces. In their own words, Recce operators recount some of the life-threatening operations they conducted under great secrecy in the late 1970s.
Those who were there give first-hand accounts of the tension, anticipation, fear, adrenalin, exhaustion, thirst and grief they experienced, but also of the humorous moments and the close bonds of friendship that were forged in situations of mortal danger.
Bronwyn Davids’ great-grandpa Joe built their family home in Lansdowne, Cape Town, during the 1920s. She recreates their lives in the pages of this book and takes us on a journey with her family against the backdrop of apartheid South Africa.
A charming family story, but also of gut-wrenching loss that is physical, mental, and spiritual.
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.
Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema loved the theatre and dreamed of being an actress. She soon discovered that acting wasn't for her – managing productions was. She meets rising-star, Mbongeni Ngema and they marry. As his success grows, they start a company that births the hit Sarafina! But beneath the stardom, Xoliswa experiences constant abuse. With Fred Khumalo, she tells her powerful story.
In this riveting undercover spy drama, Bradley Steyn tells the story of his journey from a boy caught in the middle of the Strijdom Square massacre, to acting out his PTSD working for the apartheid security branch. Finally he ends up being recruited by MK and used to infiltrate the crazed right-wing whose mission is to destabilise a South Africa on the brink of peace.
With these forces pushing the nation towards a bloody race war, will his time run out before they discover he is working for Mandela's spies?
This astonishing true-life thriller reveals for the first time some of the dirty secrets of a dirty war.
Khamr: The Makings Of A Waterslams is a true story that maps the author’s experience of living with an alcoholic father and the direct conflict of having to perform a Muslim life that taught him that nearly everything he called home was forbidden.
A detailed account from his childhood to early adulthood, Jamil F. Khan lays bare the experience of living in a so-called middle-class Coloured home in a neighbourhood called Bernadino Heights in Kraaifontein, a suburb to the north of Cape Town. His memories are overwhelmed by the constant discord that was created by the chaos and dysfunction of his alcoholic home and a co-dependent relationship with his mother, while trying to manage the daily routine of his parents keeping up appearances and him maintaining scholastic excellence.
Khan’s memories are clear and detailed, which in turn is complemented by his scholarly thinking and analysis of those memories. He interrogates the intersections of Islam, Colouredness and the hypocrisy of respectability as well as the effect perceived class status has on these social realities in simple yet incisive language, giving the reader more than just a memoir of pain and suffering.
Khan says about his debut book: "This is not a story for the romanticisation of pain and perseverance, although it tells of overcoming many difficulties. It is a critique of secret violence in faith communities and families, and the hypocrisy that has damaged so many people still looking for a place and way to voice their trauma. This is a critique of the value placed on ritual and culture at the expense of human life and well-being, and the far-reaching consequences of systems of oppression dressed up as tradition."
The Love Song Of Andre P. Brink is the first biography of this major South African novelist who, during his lifetime, was published in over 30 languages and ranked with the likes of Gabriel García Márquez, Peter Carey and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Leon de Kock’s eagerly awaited account of Brink’s life is richly informed by a previously unavailable literary treasure: the dissident Afrikaner’s hoard of journal-writing, a veritable chronicle that was 54 years in the making. In this massive new biographical source – running to a million words – Brink does not spare himself, or anyone else for that matter, as he narrates the ups and downs of his five marriages and his compulsive affairs with a great number of women. These are precisely the topics that the rebel in both politics and sex skated over in his memoir, A Fork in the Road.
De Kock’s biographical study of the author who came close to winning the Nobel Prize for Literature not only synthesises the journals but also subjects them to searching critical analysis. In addition, the biographer measures the journals against additional sources, both scholarly and otherwise, among them the testimony of Brink’s friends, family, wives and lovers.
The Love Song Of Andre P. Brink subjects Brink’s literary legacy to a bracing scholarly re-evaluation, making this major new biography a crucial addition to scholarship on Brink
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