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Black Tax 1Black Tax – Burden or Ubuntu

fin24, Ferial Haffajee

There's a credit that we don't often enough pat ourselves on the back for as South Africans. Every single month, come a downgrade, come yawning budget deficit or widening trade balance, we pay 18 million social grants in a form of solidarity to compatriots. I say 'we' because it's solidarity from all to all – after all, it's paid from personal, corporate and VAT collections. It is huge; almost certainly the largest form of social solidarity on the continent and it is up there among the better systems in the developing world.

Read more here.


My African ConquestMy African Conquest by Julia Albu

City Press, Julia Albu

The next morning I rushed to see if Tracy was still with us, and there she was, waiting. “Hurry!” I said to Zambi, as I was dying to get going – I was becoming addicted to the rhythm of Tracy on the open road and I was enjoying my beautifully upholstered two-seater sofa. And I was also starting to feel the spirit of adventure …

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Americanah‘Americanah’ adaptation lands at HBO Max

Hypable, Lelanie Seyffer

Americanah will be adapted as a series at HBO Max, with Lupita Nyong’o as the lead and Danai Gurira as showrunner. The novel, written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has long been on the radar for both Nyong’o and Gurira. Lupita Nyong’o has described Americanah as “a passion project from me since I read Chimamanda’s beautiful novel in 2013.”

Read more here.

The girl who lived twiceThe Girl Who Lived Twice

The Washington Post, Richard Lipez

Salander is less physically present this time — and that’s too bad, because she’s fascinating. A superhacker, Salander learns online that her family is genetically predisposed to both high intelligence and psychopathy. Abused by both her father and later by a sadistic child psychiatrist, Salander devotes her life to revenge against powerful cruel people, most of them men.

Read more here.


The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena

The moving true life story of an ordinary woman in extraordinary circumstances. Houseworker and resilient Afrikaans-speaking isiXhosa mother, Poppie Nongena, desperately tries to keep her family together by navigating the day-to-day struggle against inhumane government pass laws in 1970's South Africa.

Based on the celebrated novel by Elsa Joubert.
#PoppieNongenaFilm in cinemas 31 January 2020.

CoconutCoconut Kelz's Guide


When she was last spotted on the crossroads of Swart and Gevaar Roads, Coconut Kelz was drinking Woolies water and spreading her ‘truth bombs’ about the state of the nation, why corruption is okay when white people do it and why black people don’t win in life…

Read more here.

One DayLISTEN: Insights into One Day in Bethlehem

Radio 702, Zanele Zama

South African author and scholar Jonny Steinberg has published his latest book titled One Day in Bethlehem. The book centres around what actually happened at 4.10pm on 2 April 1992, on the outskirts of Bethlehem, the time and the location of the crime for which Fusi Mofokeng and Tshokolo Mokoena were sentenced to life in prison.

Listen here.

American DirtPreview American Dirt

EW, David Canfield

One of 2020’s most anticipated titles, Jeanine Cummins’ sweeping novel is set to arrive with big expectations: It’s already generated raves from the likes of Don Winslow (“a Grapes of Wrath for our times”) and Stephen King (“an extraordinary piece of work”). And back in 2018, it sparked a nine-house, seven-figure auction, ultimately won by Flatiron Books.

Read more here.

Fighting for the Dream The IMF can do what the ANC can't

Politics Web, RW Johnson

Mr Bruce also wants the ANC to act without the spur of the IMF but his argument is different: “No one should want the IMF in here. Cost cuts and labour market reforms are just the beginning of a restructuring. The political effect is frightening...the ANC shrivels and the EFF grows. An IMF bailout 100% fuels populism.”

Read more here.

Oceanos Plucked from a wild sea...


Maritime lawyer Andrew Pike had incredible insights into the 1991 sinking of the Oceanos, in 20m waves off the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape, having investigated the incident. When the 25th anniversary came about in 2016, he delivered a presentation to clients about it at his office in Westville. People couldn’t hear enough of the story of the rescue operation involving epic bravery and the hands-off attitude of Captain Yiannis Avranas.

Read more here.

MafiaEFF's Floyd Shivambu and his secret Johann Rupert rendezvous

news24, Kyle Cowan

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu spent an afternoon at an exclusive wine estate in Stellenbosch discussing potential business plans with one of South Africa's richest men, Johann Rupert. In the past, the EFF labelled Rupert "the enemy" and named him as the face of white monopoly capital (WMC) who had become rich by exploiting poor black South Africans, a view Shivambu told News24 he shared.

Read more here.

EnforcersInside Cape Town's Deadly Nightclub Battles

news24, Glenn Bownes

In the Cape Times interview, Russol – who claimed to have replace Uliantski as the "new Russian" in town – told Dolley: "In Russia if you have a problem with someone, you meet them face to face and shoot them if you have to. Here, it's different. Here people get other people to sort their problems out," he says. "If you fuck with me, I look you in the eyes and say, 'I kill you'."

Reead more here.

SiegeMichael Wolff's Trump tale is Fire and Fury II

The Guardian, Lloyd Green

Wolff’s tale is credible enough to be taken seriously and salacious enough to entertain. If you have doubts about Wolff’s credibility, and many do, the latest blowup over the USS John S McCain is one more reminder that in the Age of Trump, truth is weirder than fiction. Much weirder.

Read more here.

Whisper Network Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

The New York Times,

What Chandler Baker serves up in “Whisper Network,” her adult debut, is part soapy shocker (one of the characters is keeping a very big secret) and part legal thriller (excerpts from depositions offer a glimpse into the third act). Think “Big Little Lies” meets the famous 2017 list of men in the media industry accused of sexual harassment.

Read more here.

The Love Song EXTRACT: The love song of André P Brink

news24, Leon de Kock

Using his journal to keep track of developments on an almost day-to-day basis, Brink embarks on a quasi-novelistic account of his notorious affair with the revered South African poet. It is a story that fills up almost two A4 journal volumes, each running to over 250 pages of compact handwriting – enough material for a book.

Read more here.

New Daughters of AfricaNew Daughters of Africa: Excerpt

The Johannesburg Review of Books

Once I knew that the book would make its way in the world without me, once I knew that nothing of the concrete, physical me would ever appear beside the volume—as if the book were a little dog and I were its master—it made me see something new about writing.

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Everything is FuckedEverything is Fucked: A Book About Hope

Greenstone Mall

Once again Manson will be forcing us to be more honest with ourselves in ways we haven’t considered before and we cannot wait. Whether this follow-up will be just as good as the his first book remains to be seen – but we can only hope.

Read more here.

The Mirrow and The LightHilary Mantel’s new novel The Mirror & The Light

To be published by 4TH ESTATE

5th March 2020

With The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage.

Hilary Mantel on The Mirror & the Light:

‘When I began work on my Thomas Cromwell books back in 2005, I had high hopes, but it took time to feel out the full scope of the material. I didn’t know at first I would write a trilogy, but gradually I realised the richness and fascination of this extraordinary life. Since then I have been on a long journey, with the good companionship of archivists, artists, booksellers, librarians, actors, producers, and - most importantly - millions of readers through the world. I hope they will stay with me as we walk the last miles of Cromwell’s life, ascending to unprecedented riches and honour and abruptly descending to the scaffold at Tower Hill. This book has been the greatest challenge of my writing life, and the most rewarding; I hope and trust my readers will find it has been worth the wait.’


Two Weeks in NovemberEXTRACT: Two weeks in November

news24, Douglas Rogers

Gabriel jumped in the back with the agents Magic and Horse and tried to get comfortable among the clutter of fuel cans, blankets, megaphones and food supplies, while his wife rode shotgun upfront. Then Kasper hit the gas and they raced north, to the Zimbabwe border, six hours' drive away.

Read more here.