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“I saw my mommy walking to the court with a hoodie on and a scarf covering her face. She looked almost like someone that was poor. People were cursing at her… and that broke me. This is the woman who was there for me every day, making lunch for me and my friends when we came from school, and now here she is on television being called a criminal.”
The kidnapping of baby Zephany Nurse from the cot beside her mother’s hospital bed made headline news. Desperate pleas from her parents to return her safely went unanswered. There was no trace of the baby. For 17 years, on her birthday, the Nurse family lit candles and hoped and prayed.
Living not far away from the Nurses, 17-year-old Miché Solomon had just started Matric. She had a boyfriend. She had devoted parents. She was thinking about the upcoming school dance and the dress her mother was going to make for her. She had no idea that a new girl at her school, who bore an uncanny resemblance to her, and a DNA test would shake her world to its foundations.
Miché is now 22. This is her story – for the first time in her own words. Told with astonishing maturity, honesty and compassion, it is also a story of what it means to love and be loved, and of claiming your identity.
A secret torment for some, a proud responsibility for others, ‘black tax’ is a daily reality for thousands of black South Africans. In this thought-provoking and moving anthology, a provocative range of voices share their deeply personal stories.
With the majority of black South Africans still living in poverty today, many black middle-class households are connected to working-class or jobless homes. Some believe supporting family members is an undeniable part of African culture and question whether it should even be labelled as a kind of tax. Others point to the financial pressure it places on black students and professionals, who, as a consequence, struggle to build their own wealth. Many feel they are taking over what is essentially a government responsibility. The contributions also investigate the historical roots of black tax, the concept of the black family and the black middle class.
In giving voice to so many different perspectives, Black Tax hopes to start a dialogue on this widespread social phenomenon.
Just as South Africans were starting to come to grips with the staggering cost of state capture, the Bosasa bombshell hit the country. This grand-scale corruption scandal cost South Africa billions of rands while the politicians involved were bought for as little as braai packs and booze.
While investigating state capture, The Zondo commission of inquiry blew the lid off the tangled web of bribery that was Bosasa. Gripping testimony before the commission about “little black books”, cash bribes and walk-in vaults held the public in thrall while a new realisation dawned: The notorious Gupta family had not been the only ones pillaging the country. In The Bosasa Billions, best-selling author James-Brent Styan and co-writer Paul Vecchiatto uncover the sordid story of how one company exploited the greed of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to establish an extensive tender network stretching right to the top of the ANC government.
Its cast of characters include:
Ultimately, however, Bosasa was not in the business of saving souls, but selling them.
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.
In 2016, the country watched as eight journalists stood up to the public broadcaster to dissent against the censorship imposed by COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the capture of the newsroom. They would become known as the SABC8. While many may remember the headlines, photos and footage that circulated during that time, few know the real story: the way lives were changed while history was being made.
Now, Foeta Krige, one of the SABC8, shares his version of events: how it came about that eight very different journalists from within the public broadcaster, each with their own unique background and motivation, were brought together by circumstance to fight the mighty SABC in the name of media freedom. This forms the backdrop for a lesser-known story – one of death threats, intimidation, assault and the eventual death of Suna Venter. Her death shocked the nation and baffled investigators. Was it a natural death caused by stress, or were there more sinister forces involved? To understand why her death was red-flagged, it is necessary to retrace her steps and how they converged with those of the seven other journalists.
Krige takes the reader back to the day when everything started, telling the gripping, and often harrowing, story behind the sensational headlines.
The indomitable Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng – affectionately known as Dr T – is passionate about making sexual health and well-being services available to all, regardless of their sexual and gender identities and their economic status.
This book is filled with the specifics of sexual anatomy and health as well as advice and facts about pleasure and sexual rights. Dr T, in her typically honest and warm way, makes the reader feel comfortable reading about topics that are not always discussed freely, providing ALL the information that demystifies sex and sexuality in a way that is entertaining and enlightening.
"Warning. Smoking Kills!" It also corrupts law enforcement officials and eviscerates state institutions. It devours politicians, professionals, business people and ordinary workers in the chase for big bucks and the battle for a slice of an ever-shrinking cigarette market.
Join one of South Africa's former tax sleuths, Johann van Loggerenberg, in a wild ride through the double-dealing world of tobacco's colourful characters and ruthless corporates. Meet the femme fatales, mavericks, mercenaries and grandmasters, and learn how the crime-busting unit led by van Loggerenberg at SARS and its "Project Honey Badger" became a victim of war between industry players and a high-stakes political game driven by state capture.
This is the tale of a few good men and women who dared to try to hold to account a billion-dollar international industry rife with private spy networks, tax evasion, collusion and corruption - ultimately at great cost to themselves and South Africa.
Survival: The state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.
Climate change: A change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular, a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.
This is a survival guide. It rests on the idea that we could possibly survive a changing climate. Temperatures are already climbing, sea levels are rising and parts of South Africa are on their way to being uninhabitable. Life is already incredibly hard for many people and nobody will be exempt from climate change. Circumstances are going to get a lot more difficult very soon, and we need a plan. This is a practical handbook that explores what climate change is likely to mean for us as South Africans, how we can prepare for it, and how we can – in our everyday lives – help to mitigate the impacts it will have.
They Called Me Queer is a collection written by Africans who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+).
Across the continent, and throughout the world, South Africa has become known for its tolerance towards us, the LGBTQIA+ community. However, even if being who we are is legal, we live in a devastatingly segregated and unequal society, where the combination of race, class, gender and sexual identities still heavily impacts every part of our lives. This collection of stories is a testimony to who we are. It is an assertion of our struggles, but also our triumphs, our joys.
These are our stories of acceptance and rejection, of young love and old lovers, of the agonising thrills of coming out and coming into ourselves, of our sex lives, of our families and communities.
Writing by Haji Mohamed Dawjee, Lwando Scott, Ling Sheperd, Maneo Mohale, Chase Rhys, Wanelisa Xaba, Jamil F Khan, Khanya Kemami, Janine Adams, Craig Lucas and others.
What does it take to deceive those closest to you? How do you lead a double life and not lose yourself? Is there ever a point of return? Jonathan Ancer explores these questions in the tales of SA’s spies: from the navy superspy on the Russian payroll to the party girl who fell in love with Cuba and the idealistic students used and abused in apartheid’s intelligence war.
Ancer gets under the skin of what it takes to betray those closest to you – and what it is means to be betrayed.
A quest is never what you expect it to be.
Elizabeth Madeline Martin spends her days in a retirement home in Cape Town, watching the pigeons and squirrels on the branch of a tree outside her window. Bedridden, her memory fading, she can recall her early childhood spent in a small wood-and-iron house in Blackridge on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg. Though she remembers the place in detail – dogs, a mango tree, a stream – she has no idea of where exactly it is. ‘My memory is full of blotches,’ she tells her daughter Julia, ‘like ink left about and knocked over.’
Julia resolves to find the Blackridge house: with her mother lonely and confused, would this, perhaps, bring some measure of closure? A journey begins that traverses family history, forgotten documents, old photographs, and the maps that stake out a country’s troubled past – maps whose boundaries nature remains determined to resist. Kind strangers, willing to assist in the search, lead to unexpected discoveries of ancestors and wars and lullabies. Folded into this quest are the tender conversations between a daughter and a mother who does not have long to live.
Taken as one, The Blackridge House is a meditation on belonging, of the stories we tell of home and family, of the precarious footprint of life.
Jonathan Kaplan, celebrated international rugby referee and former world record-holder for most Test caps, had his fair share of challenging moments on the field. He was known for his commitment to fair play, ability to defuse tense situations, and courage in making difficult, and sometimes controversial, decisions. All this would stand JK in good stead and come back into play when, at the age of 47, he made two life-changing decisions. The first was to blow his whistle for the last time and end his career as a professional rugby ref. The second was to become a parent – and a solo parent at that.
This is the story of JK’s decision to have a baby by surrogate, the two-year fertility process that followed, and the subsequent birth of his son Kaleb. Winging It draws on the insights of key role-players in JK’s journey, including the extraordinary experience of the surrogate mother herself.
Exchanging rucks for reflux, mauls for milk bottles, scrums for storks (and other stories about Kaleb’s conception), this account of how JK navigates the choppy waters of parenthood is disarmingly frank and scrupulously honest. At times poignant and tender, and at others downright funny, this is a thoroughly contemporary take on what constitutes a family and how we dare to build one.
When, in the 1990s, Wilhelm Verwoerd openly spoke out against his grandfather's racist policies and joined the ANC, he was ejected from the family. Working in Northern Ireland, making peace between former enemies, he feels the urge to return to his homeland, to make peace with his own family.
Between listening to searing stories of friends and neigbours’ suffering under apartheid, he reads Betsie Verwoerd’s intimate private diaries. This moving memoir examines the complexities of having Verwoerd blood in your veins in the full knowledge that Verwoerd has blood on his hands.
A nuanced and intimate look at family loyalty, betrayal, and the demands of restitution in South Africa.
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.
Ming-Cheau Lin’s family emigrated to South Africa from Tainan, Taiwan when she was just three years old and stayed in Bloemfontein with a small East Asian community. Seen as an outsider, she struggled to understand her identity as a minority and immigrant and faced harsh realities of being ‘yellow’ in the western world in addition to the legacy of South Africa’s history.
After assimilating to the surrounding society, she is deemed ‘not Asian enough’ when she is unable to conform to the rules of first-generation Asian elders, yet too Asian for everyone else. Taiwanese or South African, teenager or rebel, creative or disappointment.. she shares her story and journeys to uncover the reasons why yellow people are treated the way they are in a space that doesn’t recognise them as part of the population
Throughout the past 50 years, the courts have been a battleground for contesting political forces as more and more conflicts that were once fought in Parliament or in streets, or through strikes and media campaigns, find their way to the judiciary.
Certainly, the legal system was used by both the apartheid state and its opponents. But it is in the post-apartheid era, and in particular under the rule of President Jacob Zuma, that we have witnessed a dramatic increase in ‘lawfare’: the migration of politics to the courts.
The authors show through a series of case studies how just about every aspect of political life ends up in court: the arms deal, the demise of the Scorpions, the Cabinet reshuffle, the expulsion of the EFF from Parliament, the nuclear procurement process, the Cape Town mayor…
In Cape Curry & Koesisters, twin sisters Fatima and Gadija takes us on a Cape Malay food trip, which is also a journey of life, as the recipes are linked with memories of their childhood on the Cape Flats. They believe in home cooking and recipes that are quick, easy and affordable. Easy, yet never boring, there's something for every taste and every occasion. Try your hand at their curries with sambals on the side and dhaltjies for a bit of bite.
Talk of the Town by award-winning writer Fred Khumalo comprises short stories he wrote over many years. In this vibrant collection Khumalo explores identity and belonging through tales about African foreign nationals in South Africa, xenophobia, South Africans abroad, exiled comrades during apartheid, and past and current township life. At times hilarious and at times gut-wrenching, this is a collection that will move you.
The death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on 2 April this year unleashed a hailstorm of opinion. On one side, Winnie's legacy was under construction by the media and public in the shadow of her sanctified ex-husband, casting Winnie as history's loser.
Msimang - who in the last few years has reflected extensively on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela - stood on the side of a younger generation, particularly of black women, who sought to reclaim Ma Winnie's identity as an extraordinary woman and fierce political activist. Examining that early impulse, Msimang has written a succinct, razor-sharp book. It is a primer for young feminists, popular culture enthusiasts and those interested in the politics of memory, reconciliation and justice, and a book that is as much about a woman as it is about the country she left behind.
The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela is an astute examination of one of South Africa's most controversial political figures. It charts the rise and fall - and rise, again - of a woman who not only battled the apartheid regime, but the patriarchal character of the society that moulded her. In telling Ma Winnie's story, Sisonke Msimang demonstrates the vital link between reclaiming the lives of one complex woman, and activism aimed at restoring the dignity of all women.
In April 1981, Landa Mabenge enters this world, trapped in a girl’s body. From an early age, Landa is aware that he does not relate to his female form, despite being socialised as a girl. In this groundbreaking and brutally honest memoir, Landa Mabenge establishes himself as a resounding and inspirational voice for anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms. In mesmerising detail, Becoming Him lays bare Landa’s tortured world, growing up trapped in the wrong body, while unflinchingly tracing his transition from female to male.
His childhood in Umtata is brutally shattered, when at age 11 an angry woman and her zombie-like husband unexpectedly arrive to force him to accompany them to Port Elizabeth. Life in PE with ‘The Parents’ soon morphs into a Dickensian nightmare. Landa is subjected to horrific physical, emotional and psychological abuse as he descends into a world of isolation and shame. He recalls his prison of powerlessness: “I count the years I will have to remain a slave. There are seven before my redemption: 7 x 365 = 2555 days. Today is nearly at an end. By the end of tomorrow there will be 2554. By the end of the week, 2548. And so I will myself on. Eventually the day will come when I will be free.”
At 18 Landa is finally able to escape PE to study at UCT, where he tries to embrace life as a butch lesbian, but he remains tortured by his female body. After a close-to-death break down, Landa finally finds strength to embark on an arduous four-year-long journey to physically and legally become “him”, relentlessly researching what it will entail to embark on gender alignment. In 2014, Landa makes history by becoming the first known transgender man in South Africa to successfully motivate a medical aid to pay for his surgeries through the Groote Schuur Transgender Clinic.
Both heartbreaking and uplifting, Becoming Him is a unique story of torture and triumph, bravely opening the lid on cultural shame and abuse against those who choose a path less travelled.
On 5 December 2017 the Steinhoff group was still worth R199 billion. Twenty four hours later more than R160 billion of this fortune was wiped out. The Steinhoff Empire which took 20 years to build into an international business giant, had crumbled overnight.
Markus Jooste, Steinhoff’s flashy CEO, resigned via SMS and has since been fleeing an avalanche of scandals and accusations: luxury homes for a blonde mistress, allegations of fraud, racing horses and unparalleled extravagance, a lavish, black Jaguar for an old university residence...
What exactly happened here? Who knew what? What is Steinhoff, who is Markus Jooste and what does it all have to do with the so called Stellenbosch mafia? Where does business tycoon Christo Wiese, Shoprite and Pepkor fit in and where is the pensioners’ money?
Well-known financial writer James-Brent Styan unpacks these and other questions in this astounding tale of power and greed, of secrets and deceit, and ultimately the biggest financial breakdown in the history of South Africa.
Through interviews with trustworthy sources, revelations from confidential documents and in-depth research about Steinhoff’s history, Styan uncovers what the group doesn’t want you to know.
Follow the Money: The story of Steinhoff, Markus Jooste and the Stellenbosch Boys is a gripping financial thriller that will be told as cautionary tale or salacious scandal in both boardrooms and living rooms for decades to come.
Lucy Lurie is deeply sunk in PTSD following a gang rape at her father’s farmhouse in the Western Cape. She soon becomes obsessed with the author John Coetzee, who has made a name for himself by writing Disgrace, a celebrated novel that revolves around the attack on her.
Lucy lives the life of a celibate hermit, making periodic forays into the outside world in her attempts to find and confront Coetzee. The Lucy of Coetzee’s fictional imaginings is a passive, peaceful creature, almost entirely lacking in agency. She is the lacuna in Coetzee’s novel – the missing piece of the puzzle.
But Lucy Lurie is no one’s lacuna. Her attempts to claw back her life, her voice and her agency may be messy and misguided, but she won’t be silenced. Her rape is not a metaphor. This is her story.
The presidential campaign in the USA grabbed the global imagination. It also grabbed the feminist imagination, presenting the hope that if a woman could become the president of the USA, women throughout the world would finally break through the reinforced glass ceiling. However, when it didn’t happen, the lost opportunity became the metaphorical kick in the feminist gut on a global scale. Through the subsequent misogyny, vulgarity, lewd comments, the pussy grabbing video, and the threats of the erosion of feminist activism in the trenches, worldwide a deep mourning arose from the feminist community. It was the name calling of “nasty women” that really smarted. Initial feelings of anger gave rise to empowerment of women — those who talk back to patriarchy — to embrace the label of “nasty women”.
The idea for the collection was born, cradled and nurtured between friends who wanted to create a space for writing and thinking about the marches. The group of feminists who contributed to this collection used the marches and the posters inspired by the marches as a vehicle which galvanised women into action to put pen to paper and show fervour for ongoing feminist activism.
The nexus of this beautifully written and evocatively illustrated collection is telling narratives that link very personal stories with deeply political issues. These are the stories told by nasty women who are making the personal political, who are seeking to live their lives in ways that resist and challenge patriarchy. Through their very intimate nature these are stories that speak to the creation of a different kind of social order, one based on equity, the promotion of human rights and social justice.
In October 2015, the Gupta brothers offered Mcebisi Jonas the position of minister of finance in exchange for R600 million. Then deputy minister of finance, Jonas turned down the bribe and a period of deep introspection followed for him. How did we reach this point, and what did the future hold for South Africa’s democracy and the economy?
In After Dawn, Mcebisi Jonas analyses the crisis at the heart of our current system, which places politics at the centre of policymaking and implementation at the expense of growth. In this important and authoritative book, Jonas first unpacks and analyses the current badlands of the South African economic and political landscape. In the second half, Jonas proposes a series of workable and practical solutions for transitioning South Africa into a growing, job-creating country including:
Time is of the essence and the window of opportunity is narrowing for all South Africans to work together towards the South Africa we all imagined was possible in 1994.
Charles Abrahams is a world-class lawyer who sued multinationals for colluding with the apartheid government, but at twelve he was determined to become a world-famous heartsurgeon. Then a school inspector shattered his dream: coloured children from the Cape Flats 'should not aim too high'. Class Action is the story of how Charles aimed high anyway, despite a childhood that included forced removal, dire poverty and the deep sense of shame of being neither white nor a 'white coloured'. As one of eleven children in a poor family, he experienced constant hardship and family strife.
Violence was ubiquitous: his street was notorious for its gang fights, his father abused his mother at home, and schoolteachers beat darker-skinned children like him. Charles wanted a larger life, and he found it through student politics, anti-apartheid activism and reading. He studied relentlessly, finding not only formidable political weapons, but a means to delve into the damage apartheid had done to his personal identity, selfesteem, sexuality and morality. He went on to qualify as a lawyer and, after defending local gangsters, he sought to do good through human-rights and class-action law. He has since spearheaded some of South Africa’s most historic, groundbreaking lawsuits, pursuing justice for ordinary citizens whose lives were ruined by powers too profit-driven to ever think about them.
Class Action depicts a remarkable journey of resistance and healing in reaction to institutionalised greed and racism and the harm it has done to our identities, our relationships and the people of our country.
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