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Five local non-fiction eBooks to read in January

Heartbreaker: Christiaan Barnard and the first heart transplant
James-Brent Styan

In this new biography of Chris Barnard we not only learn about the life of South Africa’s most famous surgeon, from his Beaufort West childhood through his studies locally and abroad to his prominent marriages – and divorces – but James Styan also examines the impact of the historic heart transplant on Barnard’s personal life and South African society at large, where apartheid legislation often made the difficulties of medicine even more convoluted.

The role of black medical staff like Hamilton Naki is explored, as is the intense rivalry that arose between other famous heart surgeons and Barnard. How did Barnard manage to beat them all in this race of life and death? How much did his famous charisma have to do with it all?

And in the light of his later years, his subsequent successes and considerable failures, what is Barnard’s legacy today? Styan covers it all in this fascinating new account of a real heartbreaker.

Hartebreker – Christiaan Barnard en die eerste hartoorplanting
James-Brent Styan

Dié nuwe biografie oor Suid-Afrika se beroemdste hartsjirurg vertel nie net van Barnard se kinderjare in Beaufort-Wes, sy prominente huwelike (en egskeidings) en flambojante lewe nie. James Styan ondersoek ook die impak van die historiese eerste hartoorplanting op Barnard se persoonlik lewe en op die Suid-Afrikaanse gemeenskap in die algemeen, waar apartheidswetgewing dikwels die probleme van geneeskunde nog ingewikkelder gemaak het.

Die rol van swart mediese personeel soos Hamilton Naki word bespreek, sowel as die intense wedywering wat tussen ander beroemde hartsjirurge en Barnard ontstaan het.

Hoe het Barnard dit reggekry om hulle almal in dié resies om lewe en dood te wen? Hoeveel het sy welbekende sjarme daarmee te doen gehad? En wat is Barnard se nalatenskap vandag, in die lig van sy latere suksesse en aansienlike mislukkings? Styan dek dit alles in dié fassinerende nuwe blik op Chris Barnard wat uitgegee is om saam te val met die 50ste herdenking van die eerste hartoorplanting.

In the Heart of the Whore: The Story of Apartheid’s Death Squads
Jacques Pauw

The ongoing assassinations of anti-apartheid activists led to rumours that some kind of third force must be responsible. The South African government flatly denied any involvement. All investigations of the matter were met with stony silence.

The first crack in the wall came with the publication by the Vrye Weekblad newspaper of the extraordinary story of Dirk Coetzee, former Security Branch Captain. His tale of murder, kidnapping, bombing and poisoning provided corroboration of the shocking confessions made by Almond Nofemela on death row. Slowly the dark secret started unravelling under the probing of determined journalists.

In the Heart of the Whore introduces the reader to the secret underworld of the death squads. It explains when and why they were created, who ran them, what methods they employed, who the victims and perpetrators were.

Jacques Pauw was more closely involved with the subject than any other person outside the police and armed forces. In this groundbreaking work he looks at the devastating effect of the secret war on the opponents of apartheid as well as the corrosive effects on the people who committed these crimes.

Into the Heart of Darkness: Confessions of Apartheid’s Assassins
Jacques Pauw

Jacques Pauw has been an investigative journalist for more than three decades. Before the phenomenal success of The President’s Keepers, he spent years tracking down apartheid death squads. Into the Heart of Darkness, first released in 1997, was the result of this work.

Despite official denials and cover-ups, the rumours of apartheid’s death squads have now been proved to be all too real. Hundreds of anti-apartheid activists were killed and thousands tortured by a group of bizarre assassins, the foot soldiers of apartheid’s secret war.

Jacques Pauw has been more closely involved with apartheid’s killers than any other journalist. For more than seven years, he has hunted them down and become a witness to their secret and forbidden world.

Into the Heart of Darkness will take you on a journey into the minds and lives of the men who went out to kill and kill again. What caused these souls to become so dark and guided them to so much evil?

A Short History of Mozambique
Malyn Newitt

This comprehensive history traces the evolution of modern Mozambique, from its early modern origins in the Indian Ocean trading system and the Portuguese maritime empire to the fifteen-year civil war that followed independence and its continued after effects.

Though peace was achieved in 1992 through international mediation, Mozambique’s remarkable recovery has shown signs of stalling. Malyn Newitt explores the historical roots of Mozambican disunity and hampered development, beginning with the divisive effects of the slave trade, the drawing of colonial frontiers in the 1890s and the lasting particularities of the provinces.

Following the nationalist guerrillas’ victory against the Portuguese in 1975, these regional divisions resurfaced in a civil war pitting the south against the north and centre. The settlement of the early 1990s is now under threat from a revived insurgency, and the ghosts of the past remain.

This book seeks to distil this complex history, and to understand why, twenty-five years after the Peace Accord, Mozambicans still remain among the poorest people in the world.

Book details

And our sunshine noir author for December is … Deon Meyer!

A new months calls for a new sunshine noir author sending shivers down the spines of local thriller fans…

 
This month, the co-author of the popular Detective Kubu series, Michael Sears, had the opportunity to interview one of South Africa’s finest thriller writers, Deon Meyer, for The Big Thrill – the magazine for international thriller writers.

Deon Meyer is renowned for his cliff-hanging thrillers, writes Sears. He’s one of South Africa’s most popular authors and successful world-wide. His books have been translated from the original Afrikaans into 27 languages and have won a slew of prizes, and last year his novel Dead Before Dying was adapted as a TV miniseries in Germany under the title Cape Town. Deon also writes and produces movies and TV series for the South African market.

With all that going on, you’d think that he would be content to play out his ever-popular characters. Not if you know Deon. This year saw the release in English of a blockbuster stand-alone thriller set in South Africa in the near future titled Fever.

Here’s how Marcel Berlins in the London Times summed it up: “It’s a crime thriller, but it’s far more. The first sentence is: ‘I want to tell you about my father’s murder.’ The actual crime takes place more than 400 absorbing, emotional and atmospheric pages later; the solution comes even later than that. The narrator, who is aged 47, tells of his teenage years when his father founded a small settlement, safe from a virus that has killed most of the world’s population. But as the community grew, so did their problems, their jealousies and the moving relationship between father and son. There are shades of Cormac McCarthy’s superb The Road, but Fever grips even more.’

For me, this is Deon’s break-out book. Stephen King thinks so too, commenting that Fever is “Reminiscent of The Stand and The Passage. Great stuff.”

Deon, I guess you must be very tired of this question by now, but I have to ask it. What persuaded you to set aside your highly successful and acclaimed contemporary police procedurals and thrillers for a post-apocalyptic future saga?

Thanks for the most kind comments. My philosophy has always been to only write those stories I really feel passionate about, and not worry too much about exactly how they fit into a genre, or my general body of work.

I had more passion for Fever than any of my previous novels. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps, subconsciously, I was aware of the possibilities. And some of the themes in the book are very dear to me. I did not analyze my fervor for writing it (I never do), I just went with it. Hoping that suspense and an attempt at human characters would at least make it familiar enough to regular readers.

However, I knew from the beginning that Fever was going to be different enough in terms of the setting (the very near future, in a world devastated by a virus), structure (it spans five years, all my other books span a week or two at most) and genre (I’ll plead guilty to speculative fiction) that I asked the advice of my agent Isobel Dixon. She gave me the green light, which finally gave me the courage, but also proposed that I write two more Benny Griessel novels (Cobra and Icarus) before embarking on this slightly alternative journey.

The book is indeed a powerful thriller, and at the heart of it is the question of why Willem Storm was killed and who killed him. Was this the kernel of the idea that grew into the book?

No, it was an element that came later in the concept development. Fact is, I can’t remember exactly what the first spark was that lit the Fever fire. Perhaps the wonderful book The World Without Us by Alan Weisman? Or a short story I read six or seven years ago, that had the promise of a Fever ending, and never delivered?

Like all my novels, the final product was a puzzle built with a hundred pieces.

Continue reading their conversation here.
 

Fever

Book details

Q&A: PEN SA interviews their newly appointed board member, Sisonke Msimang

Via PEN SA

Sisonke Msimang

 

PEN SA extends a warm welcome to Sisonke Msimang, who has been co-opted onto its Board. Msimang was asked to share what motivated her to agree to take on this assignment, what she hopes to accomplish during her tenure as well as to reflect on any concerns, hopes and encouragement for writers expressing themselves in South Africa during this time.

PEN SA: How long have you been a member of PEN SA?

I have been a member for two years.

PEN SA: What motivated you to become a member?

I admire the work PEN does globally, but I also think as the politics in South Africa becomes more complex, we will see more and more incursions into the space writers occupy – both by the state and by private actors.

Critical thought is flourishing in many ways and it is a great time to be a South African writer.

It is also, of course, always a dangerous time to be a writer when your ideas challenge the status quo and special interests. PEN is an important place precisely because of this.

PEN SA: What action(s) taken by PEN SA stand out for you?

I was really impressed with the activism for Stella Nyanzi that PEN SA helped to mobilise. That show of solidarity was important on many levels.

PEN SA: What motivated you to join the board of PEN and what do you hope to contribute/accomplish during your tenure?

I joined the board because I think representation and leadership are important. I also believe strongly in the values of the board and have the deepest respect for my fellow board members. Plus it is very difficult to say no to Nadia Davids!

PEN SA: South Africa is proving to be a remarkably resilient constitutional democracy, notwithstanding the multiple political, social, economic, governance-related challenges (most notably from government itself): what concerns, if any, do you have regarding the role of the writer in this time? What hopes/words of encouragement do you have for writers during this time?

My concerns are related to the fragility of the moment – the fact that so much hangs in the balance.

South Africa is on the verge of a leadership transition, but we are also at a stage where our innocence has been lost. We are having far more robust discussions about who we are and where we are going.

Writers have never mattered more – not just journalists but playwrights and novelists and poets. The best work often emerges out of times like this and so in some ways I think of myself as being hopeful but vigilant. So for my fellow writers – for those who express themselves with the pen, I am buoyed by the fact that we live in a time of hope and sobriety. They make strange but passionate bedfellows.

Msimang’s memoir, Always Another Country, was recently published by Jonathan Ball.

Always Another Country

Book details

Also available as an eBook.

Launch – Ramaphosa: The Man Who Would be King by Ray Hartley (29 November)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is credited with driving through the deal between the apartheid government and the African National Congress that was at the heart of South Africa’s democratic constitution. He was the ANC’s lead negotiator and the man who persuaded one of the most recalcitrant racist governments in the world to buy into a settlement based on one of its most enlightened bills of rights.

But once the ink had dried on the constitution, Ramaphosa found himself politically sidelined. Before the negotiations he had been the head of the country’s largest mineworkers union. Afterwards, he went into business after concluding a landmark black empowerment deal.

A talented negotiator capable of driving a hard bargain between implacable enemies, Ramaphosa has always been ‘the man in the middle’.

Now, as Jacob Zuma’s presidency enters its final stretch, Ramaphosa has re-entered politics and is one of a handful of candidates to take over as ANC president and as president of South Africa. Should he succeed, he will take over a country that has been battered by years of corruption and misrule which flourished under Zuma.

The question that everyone is asking is: can the man in the middle lead from the front? Ray Hartley, author and seasoned journalist, attempts to answer that question by looking at how Ramaphosa has handled the key challenges he has faced in the unions, in business and in politics.

Ray Hartley worked as an administrator at the CODESA negotiations, which ended apartheid. He has covered the unfolding drama of the new South Africa as a political correspondent, travelling extensively with Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Hartley was the founding editor of The Times and editor of South Africa’s largest newspaper, The Sunday Times, from 2010 to 2013. He is author of Ragged Glory: The Rainbow Nation in Black and White and editor of the essay collection How To Fix South Africa.

Book details

Also available as an eBook.

“If I was forced to – I would put my money on Ramaphosa.” Ray Hartley on the future of South Africa’s presidency at the launch of Ramaphosa: The Man Who Would be King

All images by Guy Martin

Ray Hartley and Mondli Makhanya

 

It was quite a gathering for Ray Hartley’s launch of his book Ramaphosa: The Man Who Would be King. He was in discussion with fellow editor and seasoned journalist Mondli Makhanya at Exclusive Books in Rosebank.

Attendees congregated around the author

 

The audience got to know a bit of how Ramaphosa got to where he is. But as Hartley said: “The book is not about the psychological look at Cyril Ramaphosa.”

There was quite a bit to unpack – from Ramaphosa’s early days with the Student Christian Movement to becoming a force behind the mining unions, and eventually emerging as the Deputy President in South Africa. Hartley also spoke about how integral Ramaphosa was in the Codesa negotiations and why he was quiet all these years as Deputy.

At the end of the discussion it was clear that the audience was interested in the now – would he become President and would he be able to get South Africa on the right track? Hartley’s answer was measured. “If I was forced to – I would put my money on Ramaphosa. The numbers seem to be on his side, but it’s such a close race.”

The night in pictures:

The author, the book, the mandatory glass of water.

 

Hartley in conversation with Bradley Lutz, sales manager at Jonathan Ball Publishers

 

A pensive Hartley

 

Captivated!

Book details

Also available as an eBook.

Launch – Ramaphosa: The man who would be king by Ray Hartley (23 November)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is credited with driving through the deal between the apartheid government and the African National Congress that was at the heart of South Africa’s democratic constitution. He was the ANC’s lead negotiator and the man who persuaded one of the most recalcitrant racist governments in the world to buy into a settlement based on one of its most enlightened bills of rights.

But once the ink had dried on the constitution, Ramaphosa found himself politically sidelined. Before the negotiations he had been the head of the country’s largest mineworkers union. Afterwards, he went into business after concluding a landmark black empowerment deal.

A talented negotiator capable of driving a hard bargain between implacable enemies, Ramaphosa has always been ‘the man in the middle’.

Now, as Jacob Zuma’s presidency enters its final stretch, Ramaphosa has re-entered politics and is one of a handful of candidates to take over as ANC president and as president of South Africa. Should he succeed, he will take over a country that has been battered by years of corruption and misrule which flourished under Zuma.

The question that everyone is asking is: can the man in the middle lead from the front? Ray Hartley, author and seasoned journalist, attempts to answer that question by looking at how Ramaphosa has handled the key challenges he has faced in the unions, in business and in politics.

Ray Hartley worked as an administrator at the CODESA negotiations, which ended apartheid. He has covered the unfolding drama of the new South Africa as a political correspondent, travelling extensively with Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Hartley was the founding editor of The Times and editor of South Africa’s largest newspaper, The Sunday Times, from 2010 to 2013. He is author of Ragged Glory: The Rainbow Nation in Black and White and editor of the essay collection How To Fix South Africa.

Event Details

CT launch: Enemy of the People by Adriaan Basson & Pieter du Toit (23 November)

Enemy of the People is the first definitive account of Zuma’s catastrophic misrule, offering eyewitness descriptions and cogent analysis of how South Africa was brought to its knees – and how a people fought back.

When Jacob Zuma took over the leadership of the ANC one muggy Polokwane evening in December 2007, he inherited a country where GDP was growing by more than 6% per annum, a party enjoying the support of two-thirds of the electorate, and a unified tripartite alliance. Today, South Africa is caught in the grip of a patronage network, the economy is floundering and the ANC is staring down the barrel of a defeat at the 2019 general elections.

How did we get here?

Zuma first brought to heel his party, Africa’s oldest and most revered liberation movement, subduing and isolating dissidents associated with his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. Then saw the emergence of the tenderpreneur and those attempting to capture the state, as well as a network of family, friends and business associates that has become so deeply embedded that it has, in effect, replaced many parts of government. Zuma opened up the state to industrial-scale levels of corruption, causing irreparable damage to state enterprises, institutions of democracy, and the ANC itself.

But it hasn’t all gone Zuma’s way. Former allies have peeled away. A new era of activism has arisen and outspoken civil servants have stepped forward to join a cross-section of civil society and a robust media. As a divided ANC square off for the elective conference in December, where there is everything to gain or to lose, award-winning journalists Adriaan Basson and Pieter du Toit offer a brilliant and up-to-date account of the Zuma era.

Adriaan Basson is an award-winning South African journalist and editor. He cut his teeth at the Afrikaans daily newspaper Die Beeld in 2003, where he was later to become editor. In 2016 he was appointed as editor of South Africa’s largest news site, News24.

Pieter du Toit is a political journalist and has held senior positions at a number of Afrikaans titles, including political correspondent and news editor at Die Beeld in Johannesburg. In 2016 he was appointed Deputy Editor of the newly launched Huffington Post South Africa. He has covered politics for more than a decade.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 23 November 2017
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge, 71 Roeland Street, Cape Town | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Koketso Sachane
  • RSVP: booklounge@gmail.com
     

    Book Details

    • Enemy of the People: How Jacob Zuma stole South Africa and how the people fought back by Adriaan Basson, Pieter du Toit
      EAN: 9781868428182
      Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Watch: Adriaan Basson and Pieter du Toit discuss Enemy of the People on News24

Enemy of the People is the first definitive account of Zuma’s catastrophic misrule, offering eyewitness descriptions and cogent analysis of how South Africa was brought to its knees – and how a people fought back.

When Jacob Zuma took over the leadership of the ANC one muggy Polokwane evening in December 2007, he inherited a country where GDP was growing by more than 6% per annum, a party enjoying the support of two-thirds of the electorate, and a unified tripartite alliance. Today, South Africa is caught in the grip of a patronage network, the economy is floundering and the ANC is staring down the barrel of a defeat at the 2019 general elections.

How did we get here?

Zuma first brought to heel his party, Africa’s oldest and most revered liberation movement, subduing and isolating dissidents associated with his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. Then saw the emergence of the tenderpreneur and those attempting to capture the state, as well as a network of family, friends and business associates that has become so deeply embedded that it has, in effect, replaced many parts of government. Zuma opened up the state to industrial-scale levels of corruption, causing irreparable damage to state enterprises, institutions of democracy, and the ANC itself.

But it hasn’t all gone Zuma’s way. Former allies have peeled away. A new era of activism has arisen and outspoken civil servants have stepped forward to join a cross-section of civil society and a robust media. As a divided ANC square off for the elective conference in December, where there is everything to gain or to lose, award-winning journalists Adriaan Basson and Pieter du Toit offer a brilliant and up-to-date account of the Zuma era.

Adriaan Basson is an award-winning South African journalist and editor. He cut his teeth at the Afrikaans daily newspaper Die Beeld in 2003, where he was later to become editor. In 2016 he was appointed as editor of South Africa’s largest news site, News24.

Pieter du Toit is a political journalist and has held senior positions at a number of Afrikaans titles, including political correspondent and news editor at Die Beeld in Johannesburg. In 2016 he was appointed Deputy Editor of the newly launched Huffington Post South Africa. He has covered politics for more than a decade.

Click here to watch Basson and Du Toit’s recent News24 interview.

Book details

  • Enemy of the People: How Jacob Zuma stole South Africa and how the people fought back by Adriaan Basson, Pieter du Toit
    EAN: 9781868428182
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Can the man in the middle lead from the front, asks Ray Hartley in Ramaphosa: The man who would be king

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is credited with driving through the deal between the apartheid government and the African National Congress that was at the heart of South Africa’s democratic constitution. He was the ANC’s lead negotiator and the man who persuaded one of the most recalcitrant racist governments in the world to buy into a settlement based on one of its most enlightened bills of rights.

But once the ink had dried on the constitution, Ramaphosa found himself politically sidelined. Before the negotiations he had been the head of the country’s largest mineworkers union. Afterwards, he went into business after concluding a landmark black empowerment deal.

A talented negotiator capable of driving a hard bargain between implacable enemies, Ramaphosa has always been ‘the man in the middle’.

Now, as Jacob Zuma’s presidency enters its final stretch, Ramaphosa has re-entered politics and is one of a handful of candidates to take over as ANC president and as president of South Africa. Should he succeed, he will take over a country that has been battered by years of corruption and misrule which flourished under Zuma.

The question that everyone is asking is: can the man in the middle lead from the front? Ray Hartley, author and seasoned journalist, attempts to answer that question by looking at how Ramaphosa has handled the key challenges he has faced in the unions, in business and in politics.

Ray Hartley worked as an administrator at the CODESA negotiations, which ended apartheid. He has covered the unfolding drama of the new South Africa as a political correspondent, travelling extensively with Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Hartley was the founding editor of The Times and editor of South Africa’s largest newspaper, The Sunday Times, from 2010 to 2013. He is author of Ragged Glory: The Rainbow Nation in Black and White and editor of the essay collection How To Fix South Africa.

Book details

Enemy of the State offers an account of how Zuma’s misrule brought South Africa to its knees – and how a people fought back

Enemy of the People is the first definitive account of Zuma’s catastrophic misrule, offering eyewitness descriptions and cogent analysis of how South Africa was brought to its knees – and how a people fought back.

When Jacob Zuma took over the leadership of the ANC one muggy Polokwane evening in December 2007, he inherited a country where GDP was growing by more than 6% per annum, a party enjoying the support of two-thirds of the electorate, and a unified tripartite alliance. Today, South Africa is caught in the grip of a patronage network, the economy is floundering and the ANC is staring down the barrel of a defeat at the 2019 general elections.

How did we get here?

Zuma first brought to heel his party, Africa’s oldest and most revered liberation movement, subduing and isolating dissidents associated with his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. Then saw the emergence of the tenderpreneur and those attempting to capture the state, as well as a network of family, friends and business associates that has become so deeply embedded that it has, in effect, replaced many parts of government. Zuma opened up the state to industrial-scale levels of corruption, causing irreparable damage to state enterprises, institutions of democracy, and the ANC itself.

But it hasn’t all gone Zuma’s way. Former allies have peeled away. A new era of activism has arisen and outspoken civil servants have stepped forward to join a cross-section of civil society and a robust media. As a divided ANC square off for the elective conference in December, where there is everything to gain or to lose, award-winning journalists Adriaan Basson and Pieter du Toit offer a brilliant and up-to-date account of the Zuma era.

Adriaan Basson is an award-winning South African journalist and editor. He cut his teeth at the Afrikaans daily newspaper Die Beeld in 2003, where he was later to become editor. In 2016 he was appointed as editor of South Africa’s largest news site, News24.

Pieter du Toit is a political journalist and has held senior positions at a number of Afrikaans titles, including political correspondent and news editor at Die Beeld in Johannesburg. In 2016 he was appointed Deputy Editor of the newly launched Huffington Post South Africa. He has covered politics for more than a decade.

Book details

  • Enemy of the People: How Jacob Zuma stole South Africa and how the people fought back by Adriaan Basson, Pieter du Toit
    EAN: 9781868428182
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!