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Launch of Gandhi’s Printing Press by Isabel Hofmeyr, in conversation with Imraan Coovadia and Bodhisattva Kar

Monday, September 30th 2013 at 5:30 PM

Gandhi's Printing Press

At the same time that Gandhi, as a young lawyer in South Africa, began fashioning the tenets of his political philosophy, he was absorbed by a seemingly unrelated enterprise: creating a newspaper. Gandhi’s Printing Press is an account of how this project, an apparent footnote to a titanic career, shaped the man who would become the world-changing Mahatma. Pioneering publisher, experimental editor, ethical anthologist—these roles reveal a Gandhi developing the qualities and talents that would later define him.

Isabel Hofmeyr is Professor of African Literature. Her research interests include postcolonialism; African literature; Southern African literary studies; oral history and literature; John Bunyan; seventeenth century studies; textual transnationalism; Africa-India interactions; Indian Ocean studies; histories of the book and print culture; and histories of reading and writing. Her current work focuses on Africa and its intellectual trajectories in the Atlantic and Indian oceans.

Born in Durban, Imraan Coovadia has lived in London, Melbourne and New York. He is currently based in Cape Town where he lectures in the English Department at the University of Cape Town. He is the author of four novels, The Wedding, Green-Eyed Thieves, High Low In-between (Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2010 as well as the University of Johannesburg Prize) and most recently, The Institute of Taxi Poetry. His collection of essays, Transformations, was published in 2012.

Bodhisattva Kar received his PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. Before joining the UCT in 2012, he has taught and held fellowships at Amsterdam, Berlin, Calcutta, Mexico City, Oxford, and Paris. His research interests include histories of development and disciplines; primitivism; nineteenth and early twentieth-century history of South and South East Asia; connected and comparative histories of frontiers; nationalist formations; and joint–stock companies. Bodhisattva’s current research is focused on the constitutive and conflicted complicity of the structuralist thought with the emergent structures of global governmentality in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.


Grumpy Story Time

Saturday, September 28th 2013 at 11:00 AM

grumpyHave you ever heard someone say “Oh, they got out of the bed with the wrong foot?” Some days you just don’t want to be in a good mood, you get all grumpy and everyone is bothering you.
This happens to children and grown ups.

Today we will read stories about how things don’t always go our way, but in the end, everyone is happy 🙂


Launch of Left Over by Kobus Moolman

Thursday, September 26th 2013 at 5:30 PM

left over invite

There is a relentless asking in Moolman’s poems … Left Over feels like a follow-on to Light and After, a continuation of the growing power of Moolman’s voice as a poet. It’s a voice that opens up as it breaks (breaks up?), resists false closure.”

– Alan Finlay

“Kobus Moolman’s elliptical, foreshortened poetry opens up a world of exploration and heightened experience from which the reader eventually emerges, chastened but delighted. These are poems of acumen, depth and extraordinary pressure.”

– Kelwyn Sole

About Kobus Moolman

An award-winning poet and playwright, Kobus Moolman teaches creative writing in the Department of English at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban.

He has published six collections of poetry, two plays, and also edited an anthology of poetry, prose and art by South African writers living with disabilities.

Kobus will be introduced by Liesl Jobson


Launch of The Zuma Years by Richard Calland, in conversation with Judith February

Wednesday, September 25th 2013 at 5:30 PM

zuma years invite

What goes on in Jacob Zuma’s cabinet meetings? What tensions exist between the ANC and its alliance partners? How does the future look for opposition parties? What influence does business have on politics in South Africa? In The Zuma Years, Richard Calland answers these and other questions, as he presents a vivid, up-to-date picture of the workings of power in Jacob Zuma’s South Africa.

It is people who make politics, and this is a book about personalities as well as the institutions they belong to. Discussing topics such as the presidency, the cabinet and the directors-general, the opposition parties, the parliamentary committees and the ANC alliance partners, Calland takes the reader along the corridors of power, mixing vivid anecdotes with solid research. The result is an accessible yet authoritative account of who runs South Africa, and how, today. It provides a fl y-on-the-wall, insider’s approach to the people who control the power that affects us all.


September 2013

Wednesday, September 25th 2013 at 11:29 AM


Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism Year One by Kevin Jackson

Ezra Pound referred to 1922 as Year One of a new era. It was the year in which a skinny, shabby Irishman and a natty, quietly sinister American entered the cultural landscape, hell-bent on exploding everything that realistic fiction and Georgian poetry held dear. It was the year which began with the publication of Ulysses and ended with the publication of The Waste Land: the most influential English-language novel and poem of the century. Despite several revolutions in taste, these two works remain the twin towers at the beginning of modern literature; some would say, of modernity itself. And it was the generous, indefatigable, discerning Ezra Pound who played a significant part in the launch of both writers’ careers.

Constellation of Genius puts the accomplishments of Eliot and Joyce in the context of the world in which their works appeared – a year of remarkable firsts, births, and foundations. The passing of an old world: the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the end of British Liberalism with the crushing defeat by the Conservatives at the General Election, the thwarting of Marcus Garvey’s dreams for a new Africa. Dada was put to rest, Proust died and Hollywood transformed the nature of fame, making Charlie Chaplin the most recognisable man on the planet. Hitchcock directed his first feature, Kandinsky and Klee joined the Bauhaus and Louis Armstrong took the train from New Orleans to Chicago, heralding the beginning of modern jazz.

 Gloriously entertaining, erudite and idiosyncratic, this is a biography of a year, a journey through the diaries of the anthropologists, actors, artists, dancers, designers, film-makers, philosophers, playwrights, politicians and scientists whose lives and works collided over twelve months, creating a frenzy of innovation which broke the world in two.

Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials that Shape Our Man-made World by Mark Miodownik

Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? How come concrete pours? Why does a paperclip bend? Why does any material look and behave the way it does?

From the towering skyscrapers of our cities to the most ordinary objects in our homes, Stuff Matters tells enthralling stories that explain the science and history of materials we take entirely for granted, while introducing some of humankind’s most ingenious and improbable inventions.

From the tea-cup to the jet engine, the silicon chip to the paper clip, the plastic in our appliances to the elastic in our underpants, world-leading materials scientist Mark Miodownik reveals the miracles of engineering and ingenuity that permeate every aspect of our lives. Along the way, he introduces materials that can heal themselves, implants that become living bone, the explosive that made the movie business, materials that might one day save the world – and others that already have.

Insightful, fascinating. The futuristic materials will elicit gasps. Makes even the most everyday substance seem exciting.”                Sunday Times

Expert, deftly written, immensely enjoyable.” Observer

Enthralling…a mission to re-acquaint us with the wonders of the fabric that sustains our lives.”                               Guardian

A certain sort of madness may be necessary to pull of what he has attempted here, which is a wholesale animation of the inanimate: Miodownik achieves precisely what he sets out to.”  The Times

Wonderful. Miodownik writes well enough to make even concrete sparkle.” Financial Times

The White Lion Back to the Wild by Andrew Schofield

 This is the story of the first white lions to be released back into the wild. With incredible characters and unforgettable wildlife, this is a riveting book that will appeal to animal lovers and adventurous people all over the world. It is not only the story of the White lions but how a game reserve was created from overgrazed sheep and cattle farms to a free roaming big five wildlife reserve in an area that had not seen big game for over 250 years.

Damn His Blood: Being a True and Detailed History of the Most Barbarous and Inhumane Murder at Oddingley and the Quick and Awful Retribution  by Peter Moore

The brutal murder of the Reverend George Parker in the rural village of Oddingley on Midsummer’s Day in 1806 – shot and beaten to death, his body set on fire and left smouldering in his own glebe field – gripped everyone from the Home Secretary in London to newspapermen across the country. It was a strange and stubborn case. The investigation lasted twenty-four years and involved inquests, judges and coroners, each more determined than the last to solve Oddingley’s most gruesome crime – or crimes, as it turned out.

With a cast of characters straight out of Hardy, Damn His Blood is a nail-biting true story of brutality, greed and ruthlessness which brings an elusive society vividly back to life.

Written in the vein of Kate Summerscale’s The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher, Moore’s story is in many ways more compelling”                                 Herald

A terrific read. First class research, beautifully written, a true thriller about an extraordinary story.”                          Edwina Currie

The clever thing is how deftly Peter Moore tells his story. At the time, the murders were a sensation so there are plenty of historical documents, but he has arranged the details in a way that shows a very canny eye for story-telling.”                    Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

The Haunted Book by Jeremy Dyson

· What unspeakable horror glimpsed in the basement of a private library in West Yorkshire drove a man to madness and an early grave?

· What led to an underground echo chamber in a Manchester recording studio being sealed up for good?

· What creature walks the endless sands of Lancashire’s Fleetwood Bay, and what connects it to an unmanned craft washed ashore in Port Elizabeth, nearly six thousand miles away?

In 2009 Jeremy Dyson was contacted by a journalist wanting help bringing together accounts of true life ghost stories from across the British Isles.

The Haunted Book chronicles the journey Dyson, formerly a hardened sceptic, went on to uncover the truth behind these tales.

Dyson nestles in the little vacant chink between Roald Dahl and Borges.”                             Observer

Darkly surreal humour …seemingly innocent scenarios that veer into deep weirdness.”                 Daily Express

Dyson’s one of those rare authors who can write from the heart while still creating something deceptively clever and complex.”                           Independent of Sunday

Gripping, twisted and devilishly enjoyable.”      Mark Gatiss, author of The Vesuvius Club and The Devil in Amber

“The Haunted Book sets out not merely to entertain, but to embody a creeping menace in the text itself …Open if you dare.”   Suzi Feay, The Independent on Sunday

Money: The Unauthorised Biography by Felix Martin

What is money, and how does it work?

The conventional answer is that people once used sugar in the West Indies, tobacco in Virginia, and dried cod in Newfoundland, and that today’s financial universe evolved from barter.

Unfortunately, there is a problem with this story. It’s wrong. And not just wrong, but dangerous.

Money: the Unauthorised Biography unfolds a panoramic secret history and explains the truth about money: what it is, where it comes from, and how it works.

Drawing on stories from throughout human history and around the globe, Money will radically rearrange your understanding of the world and shows how money can once again become the most powerful force for freedom we have ever known.

 “It’s a wealth of understanding for understanding wealth”          Esquire

Combines breadth of scholarship with a wealth of practical experience in tackling the most elusive of economic subjects – the nature of money.”   John Kay

Magnificent – hugely imaginative, clear, coherent”         Robert Skidelsky

The virtue of Martin’s book is that it exposes the deep flaws in the way we have traditionally thought about money. The exposition is clear. Fresh.”                            New Statesman

If you don’t know about economics, this is a really good introduction.gets right to the heart of it.”          Misha Glenny

Zibaldone: The Notebooks of Leopardi

Giacomo Leopardi was the greatest Italian poet of the nineteenth century and was recognized by readers from Nietzsche to Beckett as one of the towering literary figures in Italian history. To many, he is the finest Italian poet after Dante.

Leopardi was also a prodigious scholar of classical literature and philosophy, and a voracious reader in numerous ancient and modern languages. For most of his writing career, he kept an immense notebook, known as the Zibaldone, or “hodgepodge,” as Harold Bloom has called it, in which he put down his original, wide-ranging, radically modern responses to his reading. His comments about religion, philosophy, language, history, anthropology, astronomy, literature, poetry, and love are unprecedented in their brilliance and suggestiveness, and the Zibaldone, which was only published at the turn of the twentieth century, has been recognized as one of the foundational books of modern culture. Its 4,500-plus pages have never been fully translated into English until now, when a team led by Michael Caesar and Franco D’Intino of the Leopardi Centre in Birmingham have spent years producing a lively, accurate version.

41 False Starts: Essays on Writers and Artists by Janet Malcolm

 Selected essays from America’s foremost literary journalist and essayist, featuring ruminations on writers and artists as diverse as Edith Wharton, Diane Arbus and the Bloomsbury Group. This charismatic and penetrating collection includes Malcolm’s now iconic essay about the painter David Salle.

 “The clarity of Malcolm’s sentences is matched only by the clarity of her thought. She cuts a direct and easy-to-follow path through knotty terrain, never allowing her scepticism about story telling to ruin a good story, nor her skill as a storyteller to overwhelm her commitment to telling the truth. She is helped in this endeavour by her dry wit, her sense of intellectual mischievousness, and her absolute honesty.”     Sunday Times

Reading Malcolm is always thrilling and dangerous. You can never tell what she might uncover next about the everyday horrors of humankind. The prose is taut, the stance uncompromising, but she cares about what she sees. Hers is always a human response. “                          Daily Telegraph

Malcolm’s authorial voice, beady, strict and deeply saner, tends to suggest her superiority as a tale-teller. But she is careful to undermine this by showing her workings. And the trick of it is that the reader only grows more certain that she is more right than most. “                            Observer

Granta 124 Travel

Hari Kunzru travels to Chernobyl, Detroit, and Japan to investigate the phenomenon of disaster tourism. Policeman-turned-detective-turned-writer A Yi describes life as a provincial gumshoe in China. Physician Siddhartha Mukherjee visits a government hospital in New Delhi, where he meets Madha Sengupta, at the end of his life and on the frontiers of medicine. Robert Macfarlane explores the limestone world beneath the Peak District. And Haruki Murakami revisits his walk to Kobe in the aftermath of the 1995 earthquake.
In this issue – which includes poems by Charles Simic and Ellen Bryant Voigt, a story by Miroslav Penkov, and non-fiction by David Searcy, Teju Cole, and Hector Abad – Granta presents a panoramic view of our shared landscape and investigates our motivations for exploring it. “One’s destination is never a place,” Henry Miller wrote, “but a new way of seeing things.”


Multiples: 12 Stories in 18 Languages by 61 Authors  by Adam Thirlwell

 Like Chinese whispers, the rules of this literary game are simple: the first writer translates an unknown story into English, which a second writer then translates into a different language, and a third translates back into English, and so on, down the line. As the stories are told and retold, out of English and in again, they are transformed, twisted and turned into something new. Featuring an all-star international line-up of writers from Zadie Smith to Alejandro Zambra, via Jeffrey Eugenides, Laurent Binet, Javier Marias, David Mitchell, Colm Toibin, Etgar Keret and Sheila Heti, this collection is pure literary entertainment. Playful, provocative and wilfully inventive, Multiples asks fascinating questions about the relationship between a translation and a version, about the art of storytelling, and about the way that our individual linguistic choices reflect our shared cultural prejudices. Here, we see not so much what is lost in translation, but what is found.

A mischievous sortie into linguistic mutability. There’s plenty of linguistic fun to be had here.”                    Independent on Sunday

There is a moving case of translation loss in the book Adam Thirlwell has edited, Multiples, but the book is also full of gains.”                   London Review of Books

A brilliant piece of mischief. I can imagine dipping into this delightful compendium for months and years to come. For all its parlour-game charms, it is subversive at heart, challenging just about everything we hold true about authenticity, originality and creative genius.”                                The Times

Exquisite.”                         Observer

Too often translation is discussed in terms of loss. Multiples, refreshingly, does the opposite: it asks, instead, what is it that survives? The outcome is this impossible, fascinating book. The whole thing is big, preposterously ambitious and pleasingly silly. But meaningful, too. To anyone interested in translation – or perhaps more pertinently, in the effects of style – each failure is something new, something fascinating, that is gained.”                              Guardian

The Space Race by Alex Latimer

 Vastrap. Our very own nuclear testing site, so far into the desert that the Russians and the Americans don’t even have a clue about it. You don’t mess with an Afrikaner, not if you don’t want to get a proper klap.

An unauthorised nuclear blast beyond belief at Vastrap Airbase outside Upington not only winds up the Americans, but also launches Africa’s first spacecraft. Pro­pelled by an engine harnessing the power of a nuclear bomb never disarmed in the eighties, the rocket leaves Earth without its pilot or crew.  But how did this spaceship, designed by the previous government to extend the Afrikaner’s history as a nation of pioneers, survive? And more pressingly, who’s working its joystick?

Small-time journalist Greg Hall sets out to uncover the details of the ship that has captured the world’s imagination. In the wreckage of the blast, he discovers a man badly burnt and almost dead. A man who has an alarming story to tell and a frightening plan of his own.

Funny and thrilling, The Space Race twinkles with its author’s humour and trademark irony.

One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore

If your children were forced to testify against you, what terrible secrets would they reveal?

Moscow 1945. As Stalin and his courtiers celebrate victory over Hitler, shots ring out. On a nearby bridge, a teenage boy and girl lie dead.

But this is no ordinary tragedy and these are no ordinary teenagers, but the children of Russia’s most important leaders who attend the most exclusive school in Moscow.

Is it murder? A suicide pact? Or a conspiracy against the state?

Directed by Stalin himself, an investigation begins as children are arrested and forced to testify against their friends – and their parents. This terrifying witch-hunt soon unveils illicit love affairs and family secrets in a hidden world where the smallest mistakes will be punished with death.

 “Gripping and cleverly plotted. Doomed love at the heart of a violent society is the heart of Montefiore’s One Night in Winter… depicting the Kafkaesque labyrinth into which the victims stumble.”     Sunday Times

A nail-biting drama…Montefiore writes brilliantly about love, timeless dilemmas, family devotion, teenage romance and the grand passion of adultery. Readers of Sebastian Faulks and Hilary Mantel will lap this up.”   Mail on Sunday

A thrilling work of fiction. Montefiore weaves a tight, satisfying plot, delivering surprises to the last page. Stalin’s chilling charisma is brilliantly realised. The novel’s theme is Love: family love, youthful romance, adulterous passion. One Night in Winter is full of redemptive love and inner freedom.”                      Evening Standard

Seriously good fun… the Soviet march on Berlin, nightmarish drinking games at Stalin’s countryhouse, the magnificence of the Bolshoi, interrogations, snow, sex and exile… lust adultery and romance. Eminently readable and strangely affecting.”                                 Daily Telegraph

Compulsively involving. Our fear for the children keeps up turning the pages… We follow the passions with sympathy… The knot of events tugs at a wide range of emotions rarely experienced outside an intimate tyranny.”                    The Times

Brewster by Mark Z. Slouka

As an infant, Jon Mosher tragically lost his older brother to a freak accident – something that could have happened to any family. There’s nothing he could have done to prevent it, but there it is anyway, that loss echoing in every room and painted on the faces of his parents – German Jews who’d escaped the war – as if to say: you weren’t, and aren’t, enough. Saddled with this absence, Jon’s life has been defined by what’s missing and what he lacks; that is, until in high school he befriends wisecracking Ray, a reckless boy with a volatile father, and finds that he can run with the kind of grace and speed possessed by only the most promising track stars in the state. Against the backdrop of the Summer of Love and the encroaching Vietnam War, Jon dreams of ultimately leaving his grey, blue-collar town, but is set on an irrevocable course as the escalating violence of Ray’s home life threatens to shatter their bright-eyed plans to escape. Pulled between obligation and desire, Jon’s faced with the impossible decision of whether to help, or run. In this haunting novel, Slouka brilliantly captures the polarising forces of a working class, hardscrabble ethos and the hopeful vibrancy of the sixties and early seventies. With concise, wise prose, Slouka weaves together a tapestry of family, fate, friendship, and the impossibility of ever, really, leaving home.

Ten by Andreij Longo

 The Mafia and the Ten Commandments meet in these interlinked short stories about the undebelly of Naples. Ten uncovers the raw heart of a city, telling the stories of ordinary people forced to make extraordinary compromises in a place permeated by crime.

We encounter a son who finds that he is capable of a terrible act when faced with his mother’s suffering ‘because someone had to do it’; a girl whose only outlet for the horrors of an adult’s abuse is to confide in a stuffed toy; an ancient nightclub singer whose ambition has led him to become a drug tester for a Mafia boss; and Ray-Ban who, during a night of mayhem with his friends, manages to steal the wrong car and pays dearly for it.

Each comes to life with painful precision in the hands of Andrej Longo – their fears, regrets, energy and grace. In direct and sometimes brutally raw prose, he conjures a searing new vision of Naples. With the lightest of brush strokes, Longo builds a vivid portrait of a city, its people, and their dreams of escape.

Cook by Wayne Macauley

 At seventeen Zac is given a choice: either go to a young offenders’ institute, or enrol in a rehabilitation scheme – a course that teaches juveniles how to cook.

He makes his choice.
He chooses to cook.

He also chooses to succeed.

Whatever it takes.

A riot of a novel! Gripping and subversive.”       Nick Cave.

Irresistible – The Cook reminds us just how exciting it is to read a wonderful and original novel.”                               Lloyd Jones, Man Booker shortlisted author of Mister Pip

I’m a big fan of this Australian novel … Jamie Oliver’s social conscience meets Anthony Bourdain’s sense of anarchy in fiction.”                                Red.

Manu Chao Corner

Clandestino In Search of Manu Chao by Peter Culshaw

A decade ago, Manu Chao’s band, Mano Negra, toured Colombia by train, negotiating with government troops and rebels – an episode described at the time as ‘less like a rock’n’roll tour – more like Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow’. That’s Manu in a nutshell. He does everything differently. He is a multi-million selling artist who prefers sleeping on friends’ floors to five-star hotels, an anti-globalisation activist who hangs out with prostitute-activists in Madrid and Zapatista leader Comandante Marcos in Chiapas, a recluse who is at home singing in front of 100,000 people in stadiums in Latin America or festivals in Europe.Clandestino has been five years in the writing, as Peter Culshaw followed Manu around the world, invited at a moment’s notice to head to the Sahara, or Brazil, or to Buenos Aires, where Manu was making a record with mental asylum inmates. The result is one of the most fascinating music biographies we’re ever likely to read.

To distil the nature of Chao’s elusive genius requires a bold author and a special kind of book – and Peter Culshaw has risen to the task … a compelling story, brilliantly told…By the journey’s end, one is left with the satisfying conclusion that the fabulous experiences and curious explorations along the way have been more important than any imagined or real destination – for author, subject and reader alike.”                          Songlines

Manu Chao is a nomadic non-conformist, bard of the dispossessed and pied piper of the poor … An engaging new biography…Culshaw does a fine job keeping track of the musician’s helter-skelter movements … he’s also strong when analysing Chao’s winning musical formula.”                       Daily Telegraph

Any story which features a band playing shows on trains around Colombia or on cargo ships sailing up and down South America is always going to be colourful…Clandestino is a great read.. As tales of unlikely global stars go, this is well worth your time.”                         Irish Times

It’s bloody brilliant. Really. The whole structure works really well, the storytelling is really vivid. I loved the digressions and learned plenty,”                                Guardian

Excellent…Clandestino is part travelogue, part-history, and a thumpingly good book.”                                New Internationalist

South African Interest

A Nation in Crisis: An Appeal for Morality by Paulus Zulu

Schabir Shaik, Jackie Selebi, Tony Yengeni, ‘Oilgate’, Jacob Zuma, Judge Hlope and the JSC, ‘Travelgate’ – What has happened to morality in South Africa?

With this book, respected academic and community leader, Paulus Zulu, cuts right to the heart of our current malaise.

Drawing equally on Western concepts and on African traditional thought, he provides a searing indictment of the state of the nation, casting new light on corruption, incompetence and mismanagement.

This enlightening analysis makes for compelling reading.

This eyewitness account of the difficult quest for freedom and dignity in South Africa could not be more timely.  With great wisdom and humanity, Paulus Zulu analyzes the obstacles that have impeded his nation’s progress toward a more just society, and explains why moral renewal must be part of the path forward.  A Nation in Crisis is an important book for friends of democracy and human rights everywhere.”                    Mary Ann Glendon, Professor of Law, Harvard University

 “As a consummate applied social scientist, Paulus Zulu adopts a reflective, profoundly thoughtful approach to tackling a crucial contemporary challenge: moral authority as sine qua non to credible leadership. An essential perspective to all concerned with South Africa’s leadership challenge.”                      Dr Reuel J Khoza, IODSA President and director of companies.

Gandhi’s Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading by Isabel Hofmeyr

 At the same time that Gandhi, as a young lawyer in South Africa, began fashioning the tenets of his political philosophy, he was absorbed by a seemingly unrelated enterprise: creating a newspaper. Gandhi’s Printing Press is an account of how this project, an apparent footnote to a titanic career, shaped the man who would become the world-changing Mahatma. Pioneering publisher, experimental editor, ethical anthologist – these roles reveal a Gandhi developing the qualities and talents that would later define him. Isabel Hofmeyr presents a detailed study of Gandhi’s work in South Africa (1893-1914), when he was the some-time proprietor of a printing press and launched the periodical Indian Opinion.

The skills Gandhi honed as a newspaperman – distilling stories from numerous sources, circumventing shortages of type – influenced his spare prose style. Operating out of the colonized Indian Ocean world, Gandhi saw firsthand how a global empire depended on the rapid transmission of information over vast distances. He sensed that communication in an industrialized age was becoming calibrated to technological tempos. But he responded by slowing the pace, experimenting with modes of reading and writing focused on bodily, not mechanical, rhythms. Favoring the use of hand-operated presses, he produced a newspaper to contemplate rather than scan, one more likely to excerpt Thoreau than feature easily glossed headlines. Gandhi’s Printing Press illuminates how the concentration and self-discipline inculcated by slow reading, imbuing the self with knowledge and ethical values, evolved into satyagraha, truth-force, the cornerstone of Gandhi’s revolutionary idea of nonviolent resistance.

Sindiwe Magona: Climbing Higher by Dianne Shober

Playwright, poet, novelist and activist – Sindiwe Magona is an archetype of South African feminism, literary advocacy and self-empowerment.
Born in Mthatha and raised in the sprawling Cape Town township of Gugulethu, Magona transformed herself from a spiritually-defeated domestic worker to a doyen of South African literature, matching her innumerable personal victories with a literary output of astonishing prolificacy and quality. In addition to their ardent championing of African language and culture, Magona’s works are windows to the domestic heartaches and longings of women, not only in contemporary South Africa, but also in the country’s not-so-distant past.
Climbing Higher looks at Magona’s literary work and its relation to the intimate triumphs and defeats of her life, as well as the pervasive social contexts – of patriarchy, poverty, HIV/AIDS and apartheid – in which, and against which, Magona’s stories so strongly testify.

GrafLit: Graveyard Literature in Black and White

GRAFlit is a new anthology of contemporary graphic literature showcasing South African comic artists who aren’t afraid to ransack the graveyard of big ideas. It’s a gritty collection that steers clear of pretty colours or sentimental storylines, featuring dark, iconic tales from the enigmatic hinterlands of geography and mind.

There are hallucinogenic literary sequences, duelling monsters, drug-addled slackers, sleazy conmen and corrupt councillors, there’s an alchemic fantasy vampire tale set in  the rural mines of Africa, a struggle memoir of Jo’burg in the 1970’s, and even a reconstruction of the fall of Bhagdad in 760 AD. Plus there are lots of grim jokes.

Happy Reading!

Hero Day at Story Time

Saturday, September 21st 2013 at 11:00 AM

super heroSometimes Heroes are in capes and they have special powers and they can do anything that we can’t do. Sometimes heroes are people who simply stand up for others and help where they see a need.

These are things that we can all do. Being brave makes us all heroes.
Today Claire will be reading stories about heroes and they are not all the obvious ones.


Launch of South Africa’s Renegade Reels: The Making and Public Lives of Black-Centered Films by Litheko Modisane, in conversation with Adam Haupt

Wednesday, September 18th 2013 at 5:30 PM

sa's renegade reels inviteSouth Africa’s Renegade Reels seeks to understand the way certain films take on exemplary/iconic status in a country like South Africa where the historical production of film has been minimal, and in a context of intense political reality. The book lays bare the public critical engagements around old renegade films and new ones. It dissects their subtleties in the public lives of forgotten films from South Africa that are oriented to black social experience – Come Back, Africa (1959), uDeliwe (1975), Mapantsula (1988), alongside a new one, Fools (1998), and a television comparator Yizo Yizo (1999-2001) – excavating from the record iconic and newer black-centered films and television. Through analysis of public reflections on the films’ representations of black identity, the book shows the complex nature of films in modern public life. In doing so, the book enriches and is enriched by established methodologies of film study, by expanding the cultural and conceptual boundaries of film as a phenomenon of textual circulation.

 Litheko Modisane teaches in the Department of African Literature, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He earned his PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is also an Honorary Research Associate, Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Adam Haupt is an Associate Professor in Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town



My Forever Friend Launch

Saturday, September 14th 2013 at 2:00 PM



Piggy Story Time

Saturday, September 14th 2013 at 11:00 AM

piggyYou know pigs are actually clean and clever animals. Today we will read some stories about pigs who have different adventures and attitudes.

Join Danica for an OINKY story time!


Down in the Basement Goes Hand Drawn : Illustrator Sports

Monday, September 9th 2013 at 5:30 PM

drawingIn September DiTB will be part of the Open Book Festival with an Illustrators Sport event on Monday evening. Tickets are R45 a ticket and all money made on the evening will go to Library Project with Westridge High School.

ARTISTS: Alex Latimer, Polly Dunbar, Mak1one and Ryan Carolisen from the Lil’Five crowd

Artists will be drawing different concepts and ideas the the audience have a chance to guess the concept and win that picture if they are correct. We will also have a hat on the counter into which people can put suggestions according to three categories, noun, verb, adjective – these we will pair up into a jumbled concept and then the artists will draw these. The audience gets a chance to pick their favourite. We will auction off the winners of the “draw off” rounds. A great opportunity to see artists in action and walk away with some fresh ink.

As it is part of Open Book Festival, tickets need to be bought from