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1001 South African Stories

Friday, March 31st 2017 at 5:30 PM

1001 SA Stories


Launch of Dancing the Death Drill by Fred Khumalo

Thursday, March 30th 2017 at 5:30 PM

fred khumalo
Be quiet and be calm, my countrymen, for what is taking place is exactly what you came to do… Brothers, we are drilling the death drill .’ – Reverend Isaac Wauchope Dyobha
Paris, 1958. A skirmish in a world-famous restaurant leaves two men dead and the restaurant staff baffled. Why did the head waiter, a man who’s been living in France for many years, lunge at his patrons with a knife?
As the man awaits trial, a journalist hounds his long-time friend, hoping to expose the true story behind this unprecedented act of violence.
Gradually, the extraordinary story of Pitso Motaung, a young South African who volunteered to serve with the Allies in the First World War, emerges. Through a tragic twist of fate, Pitso found himself on board the SS Mendi, a ship that sank off the Isle of Wight in February 1917. More than six hundred of his countrymen, mostly black soldiers, lost their lives in a catastrophe that official history largely forgot. One particularly cruel moment from that day will remain etched in Pitso’s mind, resurfacing decades later to devastating effect.
Dancing the Death Drill  recounts the life of Pitso Motaung. It is a personal and political tale that spans continents and generations, moving from the battlefields of the Boer War to the front lines in France and beyond. With a captivating blend of pathos and humour, Fred Khumalo brings to life a historical event, honouring both those who perished in the disaster and those who survived.


Launch of Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson by Jonathan Ancer

Wednesday, March 29th 2017 at 5:30 PM



Launch of I Am Pandarus by Michiel Heyns

Tuesday, March 28th 2017 at 5:30 PM

michiel heyns

In a London gay bar, a charismatic stranger accosts an editor still raw from his lover’s abandonment. The stranger insists he is the modern avatar of Pandarus, intent on getting his version of events published to country the unflattering portrait of him that Shakespeare has given to the world.

And so begins Michiel Heyns’ eighth novel, a modern retelling of the story of Troilus and Criseyde, set during the tenth year of the Trojan War, with both sides of the conflict exhausted and the supreme warrior Achilles sulking in his tent. This urbane and sparking rendition of the classical tale is interspersed with meetings between the editor and Pandarus, as the latter supplies instalments of his tale. I am Pandarus combines shrewd domestic comedy with high heroic tragedy in an original exploration of the nature of love, friendship, warfare and loss.


Boekbekendstelling van As in die Mond deur Nicole Jaekel Strauss

Thursday, March 23rd 2017 at 5:30 PM



Launch of Lady Anne: A Chronicle in Verse by Antjie Krog

Wednesday, March 22nd 2017 at 5:30 PM



Bekendstelling van Elders deur Erns Grundling

Thursday, March 16th 2017 at 5:30 PM



Launch of Men of the Mendi by Brenda Shepherd

Wednesday, March 15th 2017 at 5:30 PM

Men of the Mendi

This is the story of the sinking of the SS Mendi during WW1, the bravery of the men on board and the ensuing inquiry conducted by the Board of Trade in London. The story follows the small band of survivors to France where they complete their tour of duty.
The First World War rages in Europe, it is a white man s war, but when the British government calls for 10 000 black soldiers to be sent to France as a labour force, men from around South Africa volunteer for service. In the foothills of the Drakensberg, Kula Hlongwane, an amaNgwane prince steps forward, followed by a group of his tribesmen. Madondo is ordered to accompany them. For him it is a nightmare from which there is no escape.

When crossing the English Channel on the troopship, the SS Mendi, lights loom out of the thick black fog, then a siren blasts. With no time to avoid the collision, the Mendi is struck a devastating blow on the starboard side where Kula and his men lie sleeping. Within minutes, the Mendi begins to sink. The book makes use of various historical documents and the transcripts from the inquiry held in London by the Board of Trade to establish causality for the large loss of life. On conclusion of the inquiry, these transcripts were declared secret and concealed from view for the next 50 years. Men of the Mendi gives an in depth account of the inquiry and the apparent reason for the cover-up.


Women in Dark Times an Evening with Jacqueline Rose

Friday, March 10th 2017 at 5:30 PM

women in dark times-page-001

Jacqueline Rose’s book begins with three remarkable women: revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg; German–Jewish painter Charlotte Salomon, persecuted by family tragedy and Nazism; film icon and consummate performer Marilyn Monroe.

Together these women have a shared story to tell, as they blaze a trail across some of the most dramatic events of the last century – revolution, totalitarianism, the American dream. Enraged by injustice, they are each in touch with what is most painful about being human, bound together by their willingness to bring the unspeakable to light.

Taking the argument into the present are today’s women, courageous individuals involved in some of the cruellest realities of our times. Grappling with the reality of honour killing – notably through the stories of Shafilea Ahmed, Fadime Sahindal and Heshu Yones – Rose argues that the work of feminism is far from done. In the final three chapters, she celebrates the work of three brilliant contemporary artists – Esther Shalev-Gerz, Yael Bartana and Thérèse Oulton – whose work grows out of an unflinching engagement with all that is darkest in the modern world.

Women in Dark Times shows us how these visionary women offer a new template for feminism. Taking their stand against the iniquities of our times, they tread a path between public and private pain, confronting us with what we need most urgently, but also often, cannot bear to see.


Boekbekendstelling van Alles het niet kom Wod deur Nathan Trantraal

Thursday, March 9th 2017 at 5:30 PM