Support World Book Day

Support World Book Day

Books
I recently quoted a UN Development Programme literacy survey, that said South Africa lags behind other African countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, Lesotho and Libya, in spite of its huge investment in education over the last 20 years. One of the problems SA faces is a lack of reading resources for many children around the country. To address this problem, I believe more needs to be done by us, the people who love reading, who understand its importance and want to share this with others. World Book Day (WBD) on April 23 is a chance for us to do this. A quick Google search will bring up an array of activities and programmes around the country aimed at helping to get books to communities that need them. The Nal’ibali…
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Every child must read

Every child must read

Books
“A literate, educated society is a safer, healthier, and more prosperous society." So says Imraan Noorbhai, Standard Bank’s provincial head in KZN. It is with this philosophy in mind that the bank has launched its literacy project – “Every Child Must Read”. According to a UN Development Programme literacy survey, South Africa lags behind other African countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, Lesotho and Libya, in spite of its huge investment in education over the last 20 years. Sobering figures indeed. Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, called on South Africans to make us a nation of readers in 2015. And so the Department of Basic Education (DBE) launched the One Thousand School Libraries campaign – 1 000 libraries, reading corners or container libraries are to be built or refurbished to…
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On my desk

On my desk

Books
Affluenza By Niq Mhlongo (Kwela) Affluenza is a collection of short stories written in Niq Mhlongo’s characteristically piercing style. With stories covering issues such as crime, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, the new black elite and land distribution in South Africa, Mhlongo writes about Span of South African democracy and the troubles of the last 20 years after the fall of apartheid. Under the Udala Trees By Chinelo Okparanta (Granta) The year is 1968 – the height of the Nigerian civil war. Ijeoma’s father is killed and her world changes forever. Separated from her mother, Ijeoma meets another lost girl, Amina, and the two become inseparable. This is their story – a relationship is formed that will test faith and resolve. This is a coming of age novel that takes the reader from a…
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Get your copy of this delish new cookbook

Get your copy of this delish new cookbook

Books, Durban
She may be young, but Zola Nene has already garnered much experience in the food industry. From working in England to training at the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch; from working with some of South Africa’s top chefs to being appointed as a food stylist on the SABC3 TV show, Expresso, Nene certainly has an impressive culinary CV. And this culinary career is shared through the recipes and life snippets that make up her recently-launched cookbook, Simply Delicious. Nene says: “Food has always been a huge part of my life; important occasions were always marked with a feast of some sort.” The book is a chronicle of her journey with food and a tribute to the people who have inspired and influenced her. Her food philosophy is that cooking is…
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The cover of the rediscovered Beatrix Potter tale

The cover of the rediscovered Beatrix Potter tale

Books
Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots was recently rediscovered by Penguin Random House Children’s, over 100 years after it was originally written. It’s set to be released at bookstores in October this year – 150 years after Potter’s birth and just over a century after she penned the tale about the mischievous kitten. Here’s a sneak peak at the cover – illustrated by well-known illustrator, Quentin Blake. This is what Blake said when he was sent the manuscript: “It seemed almost incredible when, early in 2015, I was sent the manuscript of a story by Beatrix Potter… I liked the story immediately – it’s full of incident and mischief and character –and I was fascinated to think that I was being asked to draw pictures for it. I have a…
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Decolonising the Book: Join the discourse

Decolonising the Book: Join the discourse

Books, Durban
I’ve been writing about the upcoming Time of the Writer festival quite a bit recently – it’s because I think a very important discussion is going to be taking place during this 5-day gathering of many stakeholders in South African literature. The key focus is decolonising South African literature not only from a writing perspective, but also in terms of editing, publishing, translation, marketing, bookselling and the promotion of literature in South Africa.   The Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) has just announced its programme for the 19th Time of the Writer festival which begins on March 14 and ends March 19. So, if you want to be a part of this important dialogue, take note of the dates, times and topics and make your way to the various venues…
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On my desk

On my desk

Books
Walking the Himalayas, by Levison Wood (Hodder UK) British explorer Levison Wood has led expeditions on five continents around the globe. Last year I featured his book, Walking the Nile. It was about his journey along the Nile river over a period of nine months. His current expedition finds Wood walking the entire length of the Himalayas. Like his expedition along the Nile, this one has been filmed for a Channel 4 series. In this book Wood chronicles his journey that begins along the Silk Road route of Afghanistan, taking him through five countries, and ending in Bhutan. It is a personal story of adventure, exploration and discovery. By travelling on foot, Wood meets local people and uncovers stories that might not have been uncovered. It promises to be a…
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Time of the Writer festival rings in changes

Time of the Writer festival rings in changes

Books, Durban
I was excited to read that the 19th Time of the Writer Festival, which takes place in the middle of March this year, has taken heed of South African author, Thando Mgqolozana’s, statements about South African literature. In opting out of a “white literary system” at the Franschhoek Literary Festival last year, Mgqolozana elicited a national discussion around the idea of “decolonising the literary landscape” in South Africa. At the heart of his position are the concepts of increased diversity, access and inclusiveness. It’s an important discussion to be had and one we need to take seriously – as writers, readers and consumers. In an attempt to facilitate the discussion, this year’s Time of the Writer includes a special programme under the theme Decolonising the Book. A thorough interrogation of…
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Calling all young writers

Calling all young writers

Books, Durban
Time is running out for young writers to submit their short stories for the annual Schools Short Story Competition, which is part of the Time of the Writer festival. The competition is open to all South African high school learners and is an excellent springboard for future South African writers. In a world where a culture of reading and writing must be nurtured, this is an important initiative that encourages our youth to express themselves creatively. The 19th Time of the Writer, hosted by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts, learners to submit their short stories for the annual Schools Short Story Competition by this Friday (26 February). Winners will be awarded cash prizes, book vouchers and complimentary tickets to the festival. For more information on the festival or the competition, visit…
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On my desk

On my desk

Books
Happiness is a Four-letter Word by Cynthia Jele (Kwela) She may have written a novel categorized as chick lit, but South African author, Cynthia Jele, is no literary lightweight. Her debut novel Happiness is a Four-letter Word has earned her two literary awards and has just been adapted into a major motion picture – it hits cinemas throughout South Africa on February 19. The novel has been re-auditioned to coincide with the launch of the film, starring Khanyi Mbau, Renate Stuurman and Mmabatho Montsho. Nandi, Zaza, Tumi and Princess are four friends living fast and fabulous lives in Sandton. But fast and fabulous is just what’s on the surface – each has her own demons to deal with. As Nandi makes the final arrangements for her wedding, she can’t help…
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