Category: Books

Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture

Leader of the only successful slave revolution in history

An outstanding study of how ‘the first black superhero of the modern age’ led the world’s only successful slave revolution.
In January 1804, the West Indian island of Saint-Domingue became the world’s first black republic. The Africans toiling on the sugar-rich plantations overthrew their French masters and declared independence. The name Saint-Domingue was replaced by the aboriginal Taíno Indian word Haiti (meaning “mountainous land”) and the Haitian flag created when the white band was ceremonially ripped from the French tricolour.

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BOOK EXTRACT: South Africa’s Survival Guide to Climate Change

Sipho Kings and Sarah Wild have been reporting on different facets of climate change for most of their careers. Their book, South Africa’s Survival Guide to Climate Change, is ultimately a survival guide, which rests on the idea that we could possibly survive a changing climate. With temperatures climbing and sea levels rising, parts of South Africa are already well on their way to being uninhabitable and we need a plan.

Every morning, there are people in South Africa who wake up and try to piece together the puzzle of climate change. That is their day job.

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Book review: Period Pain

Kopano Matlwa gets South Africans to ask the important questions

In 2007, South African writer Kopano Matlwa burst onto the literary scene with the publication of her debut novel Coconut, which went on to win the European Union Literary Award. Spilt Milk was her second novel, which won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in 2010. Our books editor, Kay-Dee Mashile, reviews Matlwa’s latest novel, Period Pain, which was recently shortlisted for the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize.

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Book Extract: Parcel of Death

The biography of Onkgopotse Abram Tiro

Parcel of Death recounts the little-told life story of Onkgopotse Abram Tiro, the first South African freedom fighter the apartheid regime pursued beyond the country’s borders to assassinate with a parcel bomb, in 1974. He is also hailed by many as the ‘godfather’ of the June 1976 uprisings. Tiro’s anti-apartheid speech in 1972 saw him and many of his fellow student activists expelled, igniting a series of strikes in tertiary institutions across the country.

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Poem: Red Africa

“Azania! Hear the cries of your children”

Red Africa

Blood red

Dry and red
Barren and bare
Africa is as red as Mars
Dry as the lips of her hungry
I guess she must also be hungry
What other reason can she possibly have to eat her own children?
Children that she bled to bare
Children that she dared to raise against all odds?

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Mathatha Tsedu’s autobiography is our collective story

“Detention, imprisonment, torture and banishment were almost inevitable”

Mathatha Tsedu, veteran journalist and writer-in-residence at STIAS is a familiar face in the media landscape. He has served as editor of City Press and Sunday Times, he has been deputy head of news at SABC and head of the Media 24’s Journalist academy. Added to his many accolades is chairperson of the African Editors Forum and the SANEF. He was recently honoured by President Cyril Ramaphosa, during the awarding of National Orders at a ceremony in Tshwane.

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Social worker and author, a Q&A with Rethabile Lenkoe

We have more that makes us similar than that which makes us different.

Bongani Madondo once wrote, “Writing is both an act of war and a practice of love”.  It is war, both internally and externally, to write your version of the truth. It often calls for the crucifixion of self – one’s pride has to give in to one’s vulnerability. To Rethabile Lenkoe, a South African author, and social worker, writing is like stepping out naked and hoping that people will understand your motives and help you instead of condemning you.

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Newly published book puts young ‘Heroes’ in the spotlight

Honesty, resilience, tact, empathy, thoughtfulness and sincerity

A new book, called Heroes, published by the organisation Activate! Change Drivers gives voice to the youth. Through Heroes, they hope to shine a light on everyday heroes and leaders who will stop at nothing to positively impact their surroundings. Heroes tells the stories of young people who have started their own businesses, overcome drug addiction, advocate for the LGBTQI+ community and much more.

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