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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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Matthew Buckland built a business that employed 70+ people and counted Vodacom, Naspers, Mediclinic and J&B as clients. He fulfilled many an entrepreneur’s dream when he sold it to M&C Saatchi for millions, and stayed on as MD. But a few years later, he was out on his own again with a new venture and a new battle to fight: against cancer. So You Want to Build a Startup? is a frank, refreshing account of the difficulties – and the fun – of building a new-media business.
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