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Kojo Baffoe embodies what it is to be a contemporary African man. Of Ghanaian and German heritage, he was raised in Lesotho and moved to South Africa at the age of 27. Forever curious, Kojo has the enviable ability to simultaneously experience moments intimately and engage people (and their views) sincerely, while remaining detached enough to think through his experiences critically. He has earned a reputation as a thinker, someone who lives outside the box and free of the labels that society seeks to place on us.
Listen to Your Footsteps is an honest and, at times, raw collection of essays from a son, a father, a husband, a brother and a man deeply committed to doing the internal work. Kojo reflects on losing his mother as a toddler, being raised by his father, forming an identity, living as an immigrant, his tussles with substance abuse, as well as his experiences of fatherhood, marriage and making a career in a fickle industry. He gives an extended glimpse into the experiences that make boys become men, and the battles that make men discover what they are made of, all the while questioning what it means to be ‘a man’.
A Dangerous Love is an exhilarating, true love story that plays out in the chaos and lawlessness of the political turmoil that was South Africa in the late 80s and early 90s. The mayhem and desperation of a country whose social fabric is unravelling is mirrored in Karen Daniels’s own life, and hers is an up-close-and-personal account of life as a young woman of colour in the anarchy of early post-apartheid South Africa.
Karen Daniels was only 21 when she met Martin, a mysterious, dangerous man who, at 22 years of age, had the world at his feet. Captivated by this man, she was soon caught up in a love affair that turned into obsession and violence. Gutsy and charming, Martin wasn’t born into a life of crime and drugs, but his greed and passion soon pulled him into the underworld and he was overcome by a darkness he could not escape.
Hold your breath as Karen takes you with her on a roller-coaster ride into an abyss of armed heists, crime, and violent abuse. Her story shows how having such intense and conflicting emotions for a man – loving him and being petrified of him – is only a few heartbeats away from hate.
Karen’s eventual escape from this life is a success story that has taken her to the heights of the corporate world, and encouraged her to become an advocate for human rights and women empowerment. Her story is one of human resilience, courage and determination. It offers hope to those struggling to break free from their circumstances, and will inspire anyone who wants to live their best life and go from surviving to thriving.
"A tightly coiled story of obsession and crime that plays out in an era of lawlessness" - Terry-Ann Adams, author of Those Who Live in Cages.
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.
Join Ivan Johnson in this memoir of an identity crisis as a high-spirited boy from a close-knit family on the Cape Flats becomes a man amid the turmoil of The Struggle.
Joining the lily white advertising industry, he ghosts from group to group, fitting in everywhere but belonging nowhere.
Told with flair and irreverence, Ivan’s sharp eye and zest for life gives both food for thought and great entertainment.
One of the greats of South African rugby shares the many layers of his colourful and eventful life. From rugby legend to businessman, wine farmer, cultural custodian, musician, father and grandfather, Schalk Burger’s memoir is an intensely personal and honest journey of the triumphs and hardships that have shaped the life of a much-loved South African.
Burger is a storyteller extraordinaire and he’ll have you snorting into your beer as you read about run-ins with officialdom, fisticuffs on the field, how he became the first white Springbok selected from a Coloured team, and the day Cheeky Watson asked to wash his feet.
This is a glimpse into the life and times of one of the country’s most recognised figures, and told in the stories of the many lives that intersected with his. “Who am I, and how do I live? That is something this story will bring out of me.”
In 1969, while a student at Wits University, John Schlapobersky was arrested for opposing apartheid and tortured, detained and eventually deported. Interrogated through sleep deprivation, he later wrote secretly in solitary confinement about the struggle for survival.
In this exquisitely written memoir, written half a century after the event, the author reflects on the singing of the condemned prisoners, the poetry, songs and texts that saw him through his ordeal, and its impact.
He transformed his life - guided by a sense of hope - working as a psychotherapist with a continuing focus on rehabilitation with others. Apartheid and its resistance come to life in this story to make it a vital historical document, one of its time and one for our own.
Andile Gaelesiwe is the adored Khumbul' ekhaya host. She was raped by her father at the age of 11. The second rape was by a taxi driver who beat her up. Andile entered the music scene with the big hit of the late 90s,†Abuti Yo. She started Open Disclosure for rape survivors. This fierce, at times funny memoir, an insight into Andile’s consciousness that keeps reviving her will reverberate in young and adult readers.
Major-General†Jeremy Vearey, ex-MK cadre, is†deputy provincial commissioner of the Western Cape SAPS. He†starts his 'police memoir' with the old apartheid police and ex-freedom fighters meeting for the first time.
Action ranges from the secretive Operation Saladin to anti-gang policing with the 'skollie patrollie'. Underworld figures and gangsters loom large, as does the constant fear of death. Painting†a vivid portrait of policing, politics and criminality in the Western Cape, this is also an intimate account of what it means to reach the highest ranks of policing, having been a revolutionary.
The ‘dark stream’ is the price that the author has paid for following his calling.
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.
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.
South Africa’s pre-eminent historian explains the spectacular rise – and probable demise – of the numerical minority that dominated 20th-century South Africa.
The Afrikaners are unique in the world in that they successfully mobilised ethnic entrepreneurship without state assistance, controlled the entire country, and then yielded power without military defeat. Award-winning author Hermann Giliomee takes a hard analytical look at this group’s dramatic ascent and possible disappearance as a nation in a series of well-argued thematic chapters. Topics range from ethnic entrepreneurship, the ‘coloured vote’ and ‘Bantu’ education to Nelson Mandela’s relationship with the last Afrikaner leaders.
It ends with a final chapter on the most likely future for this sometimes admired, often reviled group, which undoubtedly left the largest imprint on South African history in the 20th century.
The past three decades have seen a remarkable rise of Afrikaners in
business. In light of the government’s comprehensive black economic
empowerment programme this has been one of the unexpected features of
the South African economy.
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.
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."
Maggie is a remarkable firsthand account of a teenage girl’s experiences during the AngloBoer War.
Margaretha (Maggie) Jooste was only 13 years old when the AngloBoer War broke out and her life was irrevocably changed. After months of house arrest in their Heidelberg (Transvaal) home, she, her mother and younger siblings were sent away to concentration camps in Natal. There they experienced hunger, deprivation and loss, but also surprising acts of kindness from British guards.
This very personal account is a story of hardships, but also one of humanity and friendships over enemy lines. A golden threat is the close bond between the Jooste family and the Englishspeaking Russells who lived as neighbours and friends before the war broke out. While the British soldiers and Boer commandos fought the war, the Russells secretly provided food to the Joostes to help them survive, and supported them after the war.
A poignant and deeply moving, but also heartbreaking, true story.
In The Eight Zulu Kings, well-respected and widely published historian John Laband examines the reigns of the eight Zulu kings from 1816 to the present.
Starting with King Shaka, the renowned founder of the Zulu kingdom, he charts the lives of the kings Dingane, Mpande, Cetshwayo, Dinuzulu, Solomon and Cyprian, to today’s King Goodwill Zwelithini whose role is little more than ceremonial.
In the course of this investigation Laband places the Zulu monarchy in the context of African kingship and tracks and analyses the trajectory of the Zulu kings from independent and powerful pre-colonial African rulers to largely powerless traditionalist figures in post-apartheid South Africa.
In the shattered fantasy of rainbow-nation South Africa, there are many uncomfortable truths. Among these are family secrets - the legacies of traumas in the homes and bones of ordinary South African families.
In this debut collection, feminist and Khoi San activist Kelly-Eve Koopman grapples with the complex beauty and brutality of the everyday as she struggles with her family legacy. She tries unsuccessfully to forget her father - a not-so-prominent journalist and anti-apartheid activist, desperately mentally ill and expertly emotionally abusive - who has recently disappeared, leaving behind a wake of difficult memories. Mesmerisingly, Koopman wades through the flotsam and jetsam of generations, among shipwrecks and sunken treasures, in an attempt at familial and collective healing.
Sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious, she faces up to herself as a brown, newly privileged "elder millennial", caught between middle-class aspirations and social justice ideals. An artist, a daughter, a queer woman in love, she is in pursuit of healing, while trying to lose those last 5 kilograms, to the great disappointment of her feminist self.
What was it like to be a freedom fighter in the 1980s? Eighteen members of the ANC’s military underground tell their stories, describing their backgrounds, their roles in the armed struggle and their lives since the fall of apartheid.
In 1987, the apartheid minister of law and order boasted that the security forces had crushed Umkhonto we Sizwe in the Western Cape. He could not have been more wrong. The Ashley Kriel Detachment, named after one of their slain comrades, conducted over thirty operations between late 1987 and early 1990, playing a crucial role in the defeat of an unjust system. In Voices from the Underground, eighteen members of the AKD give accounts of their involvement in the armed struggle. The book traces their varying journeys into MK, via student activism, trade unions, religious organisations and UDF politics. It details their training in Angola, Botswana, Tanzania, Cuba and South Africa, and their experiences of detention and interrogation. Members recall the stresses of couriering arms and explosives across police roadblocks, hiding in safe houses and evading capture. They talk about the operations they executed, the measures they took to avoid civilian casualties, and their responses to security breaches and the deaths of comrades in the line of duty.
Above all, this is a book about people, showing the effects of apartheid on their lives, their reasons for joining the armed struggle, the challenges of surviving in the underground while raising children, and their experiences of returning to civilian life or, in some cases, integrating into the SANDF.
Voices from the Underground gives a human face to ordinary people who took up arms to fight a violent state for the freedom of all South Africans.
Accessible and engaging short stories about Nelson Mandela, to celebrate 100 years since his birth.
How do you retell the well-worn life story of a national icon? One way is this: a palimpsest of a hundred memories of the great man, revolutionary, world leader, and family figure, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth. Kate Sidley offers renewed and touching insight into Mandela by retelling humorous, heart-warming and momentous moments from his life, roughly chronologically, drawing from his own writing and the memories of contemporaries, historians and ordinary people. The reading experience is multi-varied and complex, touching and inspiring, like Madiba himself.
100 Mandela Moments is divided into sections, according to the many roles Mandela played in his lifetime: the school boy, the student, the lawyer, the outlaw, the prisoner, the negotiator, the statesman, the elder. Each story or “moment” is short and encapsulates something about the man behind the legend, and the book can be read cover to cover or dipped into.
’n Ongekende opkoms van Afrikaner-magnate het die Suid-Afrikaanse
ekonomie die afgelope drie dekades gekenmerk. Dit is veral merkwaardig
in die lig van die regering se omvattende program van swart ekonomiese
Born Karoline King in 1980 in Johannesburg South Africa, Sara-Jayne (as she will later be called by her adoptive parents) is the result of an affair, illegal under apartheid’s Immorality Act, between a white British woman and her black South African employee. Her story reveals the shocking lie created to cover up the forbidden relationship, and the hurried overseas adoption of the illegitimate baby, born during one of history’s most inhumane and destructive regimes.
Killing Karoline follows the journey of the baby girl (categorised as ‘white’ under South Africa’s race classification system) who is raised in a leafy, middle-class corner of the South of England by a white couple. It takes the reader through the formative years, a difficult adolescence and into adulthood, as Sara-Jayne (Karoline) seeks to discover who she is and where she came from. Plagued by questions surrounding her own identity and unable to ‘fit in’ Sara-Jayne (Karoline) begins to turn on herself, before eventually coming full circle and returning to South Africa after 26 years to face her demons. There she is forced to face issues of identity, race, rejection and belonging beyond that which she could ever have imagined.
She must also face her birth family, who in turn must confront what happens when the baby you kill off at a mere six weeks old, returns from the dead.
The year is 1976, and South Africa is gripped by a terrible lockdown – apartheid. Nelson Mandela is in prison on Robben Island; South Africa is isolated from the rest of the world, and revolution is in the air.
Against this background, a young student at Johannesburg’s Wits University decides to try and take control of his life, and his destiny, and give himself a sense of purpose. He challenges himself to run South Africa’s most famous long-distance race, the grueling 90-kilometre Comrades Marathon. Little does he know that five years later he will win this most iconic of races and he will go on to be considered one of the greatest Comrades runners in the history of the race.
In Winged Messenger, Bruce shares this 1976/77 training diary so that raw novices and experienced runners alike can follow the journey he took to his first Comrades. Novices particularly will enjoy reading about how he took his first stumbling, rudimentary steps and how, as an ordinary runner, he began to understand the demands of the race. He documents his mistakes, his successes and his progress towards his date with destiny in May 1977. Using his own experiences, he guides others, but particularly novices, on their quests to become winged messengers.
This is a unique blend of both a training guide and a fascinating glimpse of the life of a young man in his quest to conquer both himself and South Africa’s greatest race.
Albertina Sisulu is revered by South Africans as the true mother of the nation. A survivor of the golden age of the African National Congress, whose life with the second most important figure in the ANC exemplified the underpinning role of women in the struggle against apartheid.
In 1944 she was the sole woman at the inaugural meeting of the radical offshoot of the ANC, the Youth League, with Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Anton Lembede in the vanguard. Her final years were spent in an unpretentious house in the former white Johannesburg suburb of Linden. A friend said of her, "she treated everybody alike. But her main concern was the welfare of our women and children." This abridged account of Sisulu’s overflowing life provides a fresh understanding of an iconic figure of South African history.
This new abridged memoir is written by Sindiwe Magona, one of South Africa’s most prolific authors, and Elinor Sisulu, writer, activist and daughter-in-law of Albertina.
By the time Shana Fife is 25 she has two kids from different fathers. To the coloured people she grew up around, she is a jintoe, a jezebel, jas, a woman with mileage on the p*ssy. She is alone, she has no job and, as she is constantly reminded by her family, she is pretty much worthless and unloveable. How did she become this woman, the epitome of everything she was conditioned to strive not to be?
Unsettlingly honest and brutally blunt, Ougat is Shana Fife’s story of survival: of surviving the social conditioning of her Cape Flats community, of surviving sexual violence and depression, and of ultimately escaping a cycle of abuse. Exploring themes of sexuality, marriage and motherhood, rape, drugs and depression and cultural identity, Shana describes – with the self-deprecating humour her followers love so much – what it means to be a coloured woman, who gives coloured womanhood meaning and, ultimately, how surviving life as a coloured woman means being OK with giving a giant ‘f*ck you’ to the norm.
A powerful, fresh and disarming new voice – Shana’s writing is like nothing you’ve read before.
The healing power of life writing, one shared story at a time
This Is How It Is a “refreshing, poignant and wide-ranging” (Helen Moffett) collection of real life experiences: 52 stories, prose and poetry, that tell of a man who is anxious about an HIV test; a child with an alarming nose for gossip and a girl who is saved by the enemy in a war zone. Some of the writers are grieving the loss of a child or struggling with addiction, abuse, bullying or betrayal. Most of these writers have never been published before. They wrote these stories primarily to bear witness to their lives and the troubled times in which we live. Putting traumatic experiences down on paper can help people work through shame, guilt and fear, releasing them from the traps they lay. Writing is sometimes able to turn a painful incident into something more manageable, even beautiful.
Sharing stories can also heal both the writer and the reader. When we first meet a stranger, we make assumptions about them. When we hear of their life in their own words, we find that many of our negative assumptions are wrong. Often we discover that we are more alike than we are different. Our magnificent world is in trouble, much of it because we are not paying attention to what is right in front of us. When the facts don’t stir us to reconsider, story can. This anthology invites us to become curious and reflective rather than fearful and defensive. It encourages us to climb down from the ladder of hierarchy and competition and to join the circle of relationship and humanity by becoming vulnerable enough to share and listen to our own and each other’s half-hidden stories.
But equally importantly, Bongani Kona, 2016 Caine Prize finalist, reminds us: “We forget that the most daring thing we can do is to allow ourselves to be seen. To stand before the world and to say this is who I am. This is how it is.”
About THE LIFE RIGHTING COLLECTIVE: The Life Righting Collective (LRC) runs courses for anyone who wants to learn to write about their experiences. The approach promotes self-discovery, self-recovery and more effective communication. It raises funds to make courses available to those in need of sponsorship and to provide platforms for these life stories to be published. Sharing experiences with a wide readership can help reduce discrimination and promote mutual understanding. Visit the website: www.liferighting.com
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