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A deeply felt account of the relationship between a mother and son, and an exploration of what care for the dying means in contemporary society.
The book is emotionally complex – funny, sad and angry – but above all, heartfelt and honest. It speaks boldly of challenges faced by all of us, challenges which are often not spoken about and hidden, but which deserve urgent attention. This is first and foremost a work of the heart, a reflection on what relationships mean and should mean.
There is much in the book about relationships of care and exploitation in southern Africa, and about white Jewish identity in an African context. But despite the specific and absorbing references to places and contexts, the book offers a broader, more universal view.
All parents of adult children, and all adults who have parents alive, or have lost their parents, will find much in this book to make them laugh, cry, think and feel.
How I Accidentally Became a Global Stock Photo and Other Strange and Wonderful Stories is part memoir, part travelogue and part love letter. Shubnum Khan takes the reader on a journey around the world. Whether it is teaching children in a remote village in the Himalayas, attending a writers’ residency where the movie The Blair Witch Project was shot, getting pulled out of the ocean in Turkey or becoming a bride on a rooftop in Shanghai, Shubnum is quirky, moving and vulnerable in what she shares.
Shubnum offers an introspective reflection on what it means to be a woman, particularly a single Muslim woman in South Africa, trying to find herself in a modern world. The stories are drawn from her life journey, which has been full of unexpected twists and turns, and are interspersed with reflections on culture and religion as well as musings on family, relationships and love.
The Mindy Project meets Bridget Jones’s Diary with a side of Keeping Up With The Kandasamys, this is a book about holding onto hope and a reminder that once ‘you step off the edge, anything can happen’.
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.
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.
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.
"I wanted to write this book before I forgot the finer details. As strange as that may sound, you can forget these things, and it is probably healthier to do so. You can visit the depths of hell – just don’t hang around there for too long." – Gérard Labuschagne
In this gripping – and sometimes terrifying – account, former South African Police Service (SAPS) head profiler Dr Gérard Labuschagne, successor to the legendary Micki Pistorius, recalls some of the 110 murder series and countless other bizarre crimes he analysed during his career. An expert on serial murder and rape cases, Labuschagne saw it all in his fourteen and a half years in the SAPS. He walks the reader through the first crime scene he ever attended, his arrest of the Muldersdrift serial rapist, his experience as the head of the task team mandated to catch the Quarry serial murderer, his involvement with the Brighton Beach axe murders, and more. Despite often being stymied by a lack of resources, office politics and political interference, Labuschagne and his team were always determined to get their man – or woman, as in the Womb Raider case.
The Profiler Diaries is a fascinating – and often hair-raising – glimpse into what it was like to be a profiler in the world’s busiest profiling unit.
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.
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.
Multiple award-winning author Elsa Joubert's memoir about life after the death of her beloved husband. She must come to terms with the loss of independence, friends who die and the changes in her memory and bodily powers. Vivid memories of her eventful life as a celebrated writer are skilfully woven into her story. Filled with wisdom, compassion and humour, this book will leave no reader untouched.
This extraordinary account of imprisonment shows with exacting clarity the awful injustices of the system. Sylvia Neame, activist against apartheid and racism and by profession a historian (see the three-volume, The Congress Movement, HSRC Press, 2015), has not written a classical historical memoir. Rather, this book is a highly personal account, written in an original style. At the same time, it casts a particularly sharp light on the unfolding of a policedominated apartheid system in the 1960s.
The author incorporates some of her experiences in prisons and police stations around the country, including the fabricated trial she faced while imprisoned in Port Elizabeth, one of the many such trials which took place in the Eastern Cape. But her focus is on Barberton Prison. Here she was imprisoned together with a small number of other white women political prisoners, most of whom had stood trial and been sentenced in Johannesburg in 1964–5 for membership to an illegal organisation, the Communist Party. It is a little known story. Not even the progressive party MP Helen Suzman found her way here.
Barberton Prison, a maximum security prison, part of a farm jail complex in the eastern part of what was then known as the Transvaal province, was far from any urban centre. The women were kept in a small space at one end of the prison in extreme isolation under a regime of what can only be called psychological warfare, carried out on the instructions of the ever more powerful (and corrupt) security apparatus. A key concern for the author was the mental and psychological symptoms which emerged in herself and her fellow prisoners and the steps they took to maintain their sanity. It is a narrative partly based on diary entries, written in a minute hand on tissue paper, which escaped the eye of the authorities. Moreover, following her release in April 1967 – she had been altogether incarcerated for some three years – she produced a full script in the space of two or three months. The result is immediacy, spontaneity, authenticity; a story full of searing detail. It is also full of a fighting spirit, pervaded by a sharp intellect, a capacity for fine observation and a sense of humour typical of the women political prisoners at Barberton.
A crucial theme in Sylvia Neame’s account is the question of whether something positive emerged out of her experience and, if so, what exactly it was.
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.
The self-righteous, headstrong lawyering mother has a new and greater challenge. No longer seeking the approval of her successful mother, one of South Africa’s first women judges, Niki is out to find that elusive concept of the ‘work/life’ balance and some real, sustainable solutions.
Her journey takes her deep into feminist philosophies as she struggles to understand the unfolding media-driven drama of the Oscar Pistorius trial while researching issues of ethics in the legal profession. But in between life and children, Niki is also determined to navigate her own way around the new world of print and publishing and connect with her own identity as a writer. How is she going to survive all this?
Something In Between is a light-hearted non-fiction narrative about real issues in a changing world: issues of parenting and the legal profession, tertiary institutions and marriage institutions; issues about the old feminist debate and why it’s still unresolved and some lessons learnt about the world of books and book publishing. A memoir of her last three years and all of it absolutely true.
Locked up for poaching abalone, Shuhood Abader began writing his life story. For over fifteen years, he had been a small cog in a criminal industry stretching from the Cape underworld to China’s luxury seafood market. As abalone – perlemoen, perly – vanishes from the South African coast, Shuhood’s first-person account takes us right into the heart of the crisis.
Kimon de Greef’s postgraduate research on poaching led him into journalism, and today he is the pre-eminent local expert on the illicit abalone trade. He contextualises Abader’s raw, immediate tale by showing how the system works: from desperate fishing communities via gang strongholds on the Cape Flats, tik, guns and police complicity to the harbours of Morocco and Hong Kong.
Journey with the authors through death-defying dives, blackmail, robbery, shark encounters, near-drownings, and chases by police and rivals.
Poacher tells the story of a deadly black market; but it is also the story of one man, deeply conflicted, committed to his faith and searching for a better way.
In Foreign Native, RW Johnson looks back with affection and humour on his life in Africa. From schooldays in Durban – fresh off the aeroplane from Merseyside – to later years as an academic, director of the Helen Suzman Foundation and formidable political commentator, he has produced an entertaining and occasionally eye-popping memoir brimming with history, anecdote and insight.
Johnson charts his evolution from enthusiastic, left-leaning Africanist to political realist, relating the episodes that influenced his intellectual worldview, including time spent among the exiled liberation movements in London during the 1960s, a sojourn in newly independent Guinea and more recent forays into Zimbabwe. There are wonderful stories, some hilarious, others filled with pathos, about the multitude of characters – Harold Strachan, Tom Sharpe, Ronnie Kasrils, Helen Suzman, Frederik van zyl Slabbert, among many others – that he met along the way.
Perceptive, critical and full of verve, Foreign Native is leavened with a deep humanity that makes it a pleasure to read.
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.
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."
South African born-and-raised Hollywood screenwriter Helena Kriel is researching the ancient text of the Kama Sutra for a movie she’s writing. At the same time, she is travelling to India to meet with sages and find answers to the universal challenges of sex and love. While searching for love in her doomed relationships, little does she know she will find her answers in caring for her dying brother, Evan, in South Africa.
Set in the mid-1990s, South Africa is just emerging from the darkness of apartheid and bursting with vibrant chaos. The story zooms in on an intense year in the narrator’s life. It centres around the lively and eccentric South African Kriel family: Maya, the combative but inspired mother; Lexi, the sister recently returned from living in a temple in India; Ross, the younger brother diving with sharks; and Helena, the narrator, herself on a journey to understand love and death. At the heart of the story is Evan, her terminally ill 30-year-old gay brother, who has been keeping his illness a shameful secret. Conscious, sensitive, terrified and trying to hang onto sanity as his world changes, Evan becomes paralysed then finally goes blind as death draws ever closer. But it is Evan who leads the family through the fire.
In living through her brother’s fight to stay alive, the narrator finds herself at the heart of a savage story, one she would not have chosen. How could she know when she set out to India to find ancient solutions to the modern problems of our age that her brother’s approaching death would be her greatest teacher? How could she imagine that dying brings everything to life?
The Year Of Facing Fire is an astoundingly written memoir by one of South Africa’s finest writers. It traverses universal themes including love, death and sex, and finds value in the ordinary and great beauty in the uncertain.
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.
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.
Die oorlewingstog van 'n dapper vrou.
“ ŉ Kale vlakte waar my regterbors eens was. Ek maak my oë toe en laat my brein toe om te proe aan hierdie monumentale ding. Kanker schmanker, besluit ek. Ek is nog net soveel vrou soos voor die operasie. My vroulikheid het toe al die tyd nie in my bors gesit nie. Dit sit in my kop, in my hart, in daardie onmeetbare, onaantasbare iets wat die gees genoem word.”
In hierdie aangrypende boek deel die bekende spanningsverhaalskrywer Madelein Rust die intiemste besonderhede van haar reis met borskanker. Dit is ŉ brutaal eerlike vertelling wat haar belewenis van die siekte met patos en humor uitbeeld. Lesers verkry ŉ eiesoortige blik op die fisieke ervarings van borskankerstryders sowel as die ewig veranderende binnewêreld van dié wat teen die siekte veg.
Kanker schmanker! rus borskankerstryders toe met inligting wat nie altyd geredelik beskikbaar is nie en help hul geliefdes om die reis met kanker beter te verstaan. Dit is ŉ boek van hoop en triomf wat die leser hardop laat huil en laat lag. Dis 'n verhaal vir elkeen van ons wat ŉ stryd van enige aard stry.
If you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, this is the book for you. There's no need for superhero capes or for more signed cheques to heal our battered selves or our planet. This revolutionary memoir shows that ultimately, when we unf*ck ourselves, we unf*ck the world.
Crippled by burnout, in a state of near-collapse, bestselling author and corporate leader, Kagiso Msimango embarks on a powerful journey of unf*cking herself. What she discovers, after getting little relief from mainstream healing methods, (while maxing out her medical aid in the process), is a simple and revolutionary truth: the more we unf*ck ourselves, the more the we unf*ck our world.
A book filled with unique revelations to save your life.
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 freezing loneliness made one wish for death,’ journalist Joyce Sikakane-Rankin said of solitary confinement. With seven other women, including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, she was held for more than a year.
This is the story of these heroic women, their refusal to testify in the ‘Trial of Twenty-Two’ in 1969, their brutal detention and how they picked up their lives afterwards.
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.
Samantha is stamped with a 'bipolar' label that becomes the trajectory for her tortured existence. For the next three decades she will wind through a maze of anguished suffering, accompanied by memory-effacing medical interventions in the form of electroconvulsive therapies, heaps of pills and repellent hallucinations. As her helpless family and loved ones watch, often in terror, Samantha yo-yos between acceptance and denial of her diagnosis. Time and again believing she is well, she plummets into the devastating chasm of her illness.
Life Interrupted is a deeply compelling memoir that brilliantly humanises the sufferer beyond the label. It is groundbreaking in the way the author shares the horrors of psychosis and unbounded mania, the fears of depression and the emergence of recovery.
This book will not only appeal to the over four million people diagnosed with bipolar in South Africa, but to the millions of people who are affected by loved ones with bipolar, as well as to everyone who reads it.
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