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Archive for the ‘Non-fiction’ Category

Launch: Making Love in a War Zone by Jonathan Jansen (5 April)

‘My father-in-law did not show up for the wedding. My future wife had to leave her family home the moment we asked permission to ‘go out’ together, a tradition in those days. There were certain members of the family whom she visited on her own; my presence was not welcomed. I was a confident human being and a proud black man, but those things stick when it comes to flesh and blood.’

– Jonathan Jansen

Can racism and intimacy co-exist? Can love and friendship form and flourish across South Africa’s imposed colour lines?

Who better to engage on the subject of hazardous liaisons than the students Jonathan Jansen served over seven years as Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State.

The context is the University campus in Bloemfontein, the City of Roses, the Mississippi of South Africa. Rural, agricultural, insular, religious and conservative, this is not a place for breaking out.

But over the years, Jansen observed shifts in campus life and noticed more and more openly interracial friendships and couples, and he began having conversations with these students with burning questions in mind.

Ten interracial couples tell their stories of love and friendship in their own words, with no social theories imposed on their meanings, but instead a focus on how these students experience the world of interracial relationships, and how flawed, outdated laws and customs set limits on human relationships, and the long shadow they cast on learning, living and loving on university campuses to this day.
 

Jonathan Jansen is Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Stellenbosch, after serving for many years as the Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State. Jansen has a formidable reputation for transformation and a deep commitment to reconciliation in communities living with the heritage of apartheid. He holds an impressive collection of degrees and awards including the Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award.
 
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Launch: Making Love in a War Zone by Jonathan Jansen (27 March)

‘My father-in-law did not show up for the wedding. My future wife had to leave her family home the moment we asked permission to ‘go out’ together, a tradition in those days. There were certain members of the family whom she visited on her own; my presence was not welcomed. I was a confident human being and a proud black man, but those things stick when it comes to flesh and blood.’

– Jonathan Jansen

Making Love in a War Zone

Can racism and intimacy co-exist? Can love and friendship form and flourish across South Africa’s imposed colour lines?

Who better to engage on the subject of hazardous liaisons than the students Jonathan Jansen served over seven years as Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State.

The context is the University campus in Bloemfontein, the City of Roses, the Mississippi of South Africa. Rural, agricultural, insular, religious and conservative, this is not a place for breaking out.

But over the years, Jansen observed shifts in campus life and noticed more and more openly interracial friendships and couples, and he began having conversations with these students with burning questions in mind.

Ten interracial couples tell their stories of love and friendship in their own words, with no social theories imposed on their meanings, but instead a focus on how these students experience the world of interracial relationships, and how flawed, outdated laws and customs set limits on human relationships, and the long shadow they cast on learning, living and loving on university campuses to this day.
 

Jonathan Jansen is Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Stellenbosch, after serving for many years as the Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State. Jansen has a formidable reputation for transformation and a deep commitment to reconciliation in communities living with the heritage of apartheid. He holds an impressive collection of degrees and awards including the Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award.

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“This book will forever alter the way you see the people who live on the margins in Johannesburg” – Gayle Edmunds reviews Vaya

Vaya

 
Vaya the Film
is based on the lives of four young men from the Homeless Writer’s Project: David Majoka, Anthony Mafela, Madoda Ntuli and Tshabalira Lebakeng, and rooted in their experiences of coming to Johannesburg. Vaya the Book brings you the people and stories that inspired the award-winning film.

Through personal stories that are intimate and hard hitting, Vaya will both surprise and shock you. It offers a rare lens into life in Johannesburg and amplifies the voices of people who live on the city’s margins. The book will ignite conversations and debate about what the city means to millions of ordinary people who navigate its streets with courage and humanity.

Developed by the Homeless Writer’s Project, and containing accessible history, debates and interactive activities, here are the stories and people that inspired the award-winning film.

Vaya will both shock and inspire.

The Homeless Writer’s Project was started in 2010 by filmmaker Robbie Thorpe and joined soon after by Harriet Perlman. It gives a voice to the voiceless by creating opportunities for stories to be developed into films and published media. The group meets once a week to share stories and ideas and create a safe place for discussion. The film script for Vaya began in story workshops, where participants shared and told stories over a period of six years. These lived experiences were written down and crafted into a film script.

Gayle Edmunds recently reviewed this remarkable book for City Press; read an excerpt here:

Home. A place to call home. This book will forever alter the way you see the people who live on the margins in Johannesburg, and your concept of home.

The book, and the movie of the same name it complements, is the product of an initiative started in 2009, The Homeless Writers Project.

The programme offers people a space to tell their stories of living and surviving on the streets of the city. Those stories were workshopped into the film, and the making of the film brought about the book.

Four of the co-authors of Vaya – David Majoka, Madoda Ntuli, Anthony Mafela and Tshabalira Lebakeng – share their experiences of coming to the city in search of those fabled jobs and opportunities. What each of them find is an existence they didn’t expect. Each man has a different story of homelessness, but each triumphs over his circumstances in unexpected and varied ways.

The stories of the four main protagonists are interspersed with essays by experts, such as Peter Delius and Sarah Charlton, that offer context for why the city is the way it is, how the lopsided infrastructure development justified by racist laws still rule the way many people on the margins of society experience the city.

In her essay, Understanding Homelessness, Charlton explains the nuances of homelessness, showing up the ignorance of those who assume those who “sleep rough” have some addiction or character flaw.

Continue reading Edmunds’ review here.

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Read all about the women behind the Marigold co-operative


Beaders from left, Concilia Mukarobwa, Dzidzai Shemaiah Hwende, Siphiwe Dube, Similo Moyo and Thokozile Maseko. Image © Liz Whitter.
 
Making Marigold: Beaders of Bulawayo is a portrait of a women’s beading co-operative specialising in loomed beadwork, based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Over 200 photographs reveal the sumptuous glamour of the Marigold beadwork and necklaces. Short, stand-alone narrative vignettes offer background insights into the making and development of the Marigold co-operative.

How did these women, whose skilled practice and creative impulses evident in every necklace, perfect this practice?

And what has sustained their efforts across the decades?

Joni Brenner is an artist who revisits the same subject – whether live model or skull – over and again, a practice that informs her understanding of learning through doing, looking closely and recognising shifts.

Her belief in the value of repetition underpins her fascination, and her collaboration, with the Marigold beading co-operative.

She is a Principal Tutor in History of Art at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Elizabeth Burroughs is a researcher and writer whose interests include the role of languages in culture and identity, the nature of consciousness, and the processes of making.

She has worked primarily in the field of education, lecturing in English Literature and Linguistics, and as senior manager for Umalusi, the quality council for schools and college education in South Africa.

She now works as a freelance consultant and writer.

Times LIVE recently published a piece on the remarkable women behind the Marigold co-op:

In 2011, Johannesburg artist Joni Brenner saw a strip of loomed beadwork made in Bulawayo, draped it around her neck and asked if it could be joined to make a necklace.

When she wore her commissioned necklaces to the 2011 FNB JoburgArtFair, many people admired them and requested their own.

The necklaces were made by the Marigold co-operative, which specialises in loomed beadwork. The co-op was established in 1992 with about 20 women, most of whom had belonged to groups known as “School Leavers’ Clubs” where crafts and entrepreneurship skills were taught to young people who were unable, for various reasons, to complete their schooling.

In Marigold’s first decade or so, clients and commissions were plentiful. But Marigold’s fortunes, mirroring Zimbabwe’s waning economy and complicated political history, declined as resources and clients gradually ceased to be steadily available. People drifted away from Marigold in search of other employment.

However, three women – Siphiwe Dube, Sifiso Mathe and Teresa Nkomo, founder members of Marigold – managed through sheer persistence to save their co-operative.

Continue reading here.

Making Marigold

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Watch Gabourey Sidibe’s 200 Women interview

“You can’t empower women without listening to their stories” – Gloria Steinem

 
200 Women200 women from a variety of backgrounds are asked the same five questions. Their answers are inspiring human stories of success and courage, love and pain, redemption and generosity. From well-known activists, artists, and innovators to everyday women whose lives are no less exceptional for that, each woman shares her unique replies to questions like “What really matters to you?” and “What would you change in the world if you could?”

Interviewees include US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actor and human rights activist Alfre Woodard, and Nobel laureate Jodi Williams, along with those who are making a difference behind the scenes around the world, such as Marion Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Each interview is accompanied by a photographic portrait, resulting in a volume that is compelling in word and image – and global in its scope and resonance. This landmark book is published to coincide with an immersive travelling exhibition and an interactive website, building on this remarkable, ever-evolving project. With responses ranging from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many are fighting for basic freedom and equality.

Local interviewees include Graça Machel, Caster Semenya, Zelda la Grange, Mpho Tutu van Furth, Hlubi Mboya, Sahm Venter, Joanne Fedler, Ingrid le Roux, Gillian Slovo and Zoleka Mandela, among others.

A minimum of 10% of the project’s revenue will be distributed to organisations devoted to protecting and advancing the rights of women. Each interviewee can nominate an organisation (or themselves if they are in financial need) to receive their portion of the charitable pool or they can select the principal charitable partner, the Graça Machel Trust.

Here the acclaimed actress Gabourey Sidibe discusses wanting to change the stigma behind psychological help, the importance of happiness, and learning to love yourself:


 

Book details


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“Can racism and intimacy co-exist in post-apartheid South Africa?” asks Jonathan Jansen in Making Love in a War Zone

‘My father-in-law did not show up for the wedding. My future wife had to leave her family home the moment we asked permission to ‘go out’ together, a tradition in those days. There were certain members of the family whom she visited on her own; my presence was not welcomed. I was a confident human being and a proud black man, but those things stick when it comes to flesh and blood.’

– Jonathan Jansen

Making Love in a War Zone

Can racism and intimacy co-exist? Can love and friendship form and flourish across South Africa’s imposed colour lines?

Who better to engage on the subject of hazardous liaisons than the students Jonathan Jansen served over seven years as Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State.

The context is the University campus in Bloemfontein, the City of Roses, the Mississippi of South Africa. Rural, agricultural, insular, religious and conservative, this is not a place for breaking out.

But over the years, Jansen observed shifts in campus life and noticed more and more openly interracial friendships and couples, and he began having conversations with these students with burning questions in mind.

Ten interracial couples tell their stories of love and friendship in their own words, with no social theories imposed on their meanings, but instead a focus on how these students experience the world of interracial relationships, and how flawed, outdated laws and customs set limits on human relationships, and the long shadow they cast on learning, living and loving on university campuses to this day.
 

Jonathan Jansen is Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Stellenbosch, after serving for many years as the Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State. Jansen has a formidable reputation for transformation and a deep commitment to reconciliation in communities living with the heritage of apartheid. He holds an impressive collection of degrees and awards including the Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award.

Book details


» read article

Take a visual tour of Paul Shenton’s remarkable memorialisation of the great losses of the First World War

“The great military cemeteries found along the Messines Ridge and around the town of Ieper (Ypres) in Flanders, Belgium, are the last resting place of hundreds of thousands of soldiers who died during the First World War…” – Regiments of the Dead

This locally produced title memorialises the great losses of the First World War with groundbreaking photography of the war memorials of Flanders in Belgium.

The extraordinary photographs were taken at different times of year to record the atmospheric and evocative memorials to the war dead of 1914–1918, in a manner not seen before.

Immaculately maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a lasting memorial to the fallen, the gravestones, when viewed from above, can be seen to resemble soldiers on parade. Paul Shenton’s interest in the battlefields and military cemeteries of the First World War began when he came across his grandfather’s medals representing his service as a sergeant with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards during 1914–1918.

This find prompted research into the engagements that his grandfather took part in and many trips to the battlefields and cemeteries of the Ypres Salient area in Flanders.

Paul Shenton has been a passionate photographer for as long as he can remember. Over the years he has captured a variety of subjects from extensive landscapes to intimate portraits. It was a natural step to combine his love of photography with his interest in the First World War. This has resulted in the spectacular portfolio of elevated mast photographs in Regiments of the Dead, which give a unique and breathtaking viewpoint of the Flanders cemeteries.

Take a look at a few of the awe-inspiring photos featured in Shenton’s remarkable book:

Bedford House, ©Paul Shenton.

 

Hooge Crater, ©Paul Shenton.

 

Menin Gate, ©Paul Shenton

 

Poelcapelle, ©Paul Shenton

 

Tyne Cot, ©Paul Shenton

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Watch Hlubi Mboya Arnold’s 200 Women interview

“You can’t empower women without listening to their stories” – Gloria Steinem

 
200 women from a variety of backgrounds are asked the same five questions. Their answers are inspiring human stories of success and courage, love and pain, redemption and generosity. From well-known activists, artists, and innovators to everyday women whose lives are no less exceptional for that, each woman shares her unique replies to questions like “What really matters to you?” and “What would you change in the world if you could?”

Interviewees include US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actor and human rights activist Alfre Woodard, and Nobel laureate Jodi Williams, along with those who are making a difference behind the scenes around the world, such as Marion Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Each interview is accompanied by a photographic portrait, resulting in a volume that is compelling in word and image – and global in its scope and resonance. This landmark book is published to coincide with an immersive travelling exhibition and an interactive website, building on this remarkable, ever-evolving project. With responses ranging from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many are fighting for basic freedom and equality.

Local interviewees include Graça Machel, Caster Semenya, Zelda la Grange, Mpho Tutu van Furth, Hlubi Mboya, Sahm Venter, Joanne Fedler, Ingrid le Roux, Gillian Slovo and Zoleka Mandela, among others.

A minimum of 10% of the project’s revenue will be distributed to organisations devoted to protecting and advancing the rights of women. Each interviewee can nominate an organisation (or themselves if they are in financial need) to receive their portion of the charitable pool or they can select the principal charitable partner, the Graça Machel Trust.

Here Hlubi Mboya Arnold discusses the significance of family, making mistakes, and the necessity of education:


 

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Watch Margaret Atwood’s 200 Women interview

“You can’t empower women without listening to their stories” – Gloria Steinem

 
200 women from a variety of backgrounds are asked the same five questions. Their answers are inspiring human stories of success and courage, love and pain, redemption and generosity. From well-known activists, artists, and innovators to everyday women whose lives are no less exceptional for that, each woman shares her unique replies to questions like “What really matters to you?” and “What would you change in the world if you could?”

Interviewees include US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actor and human rights activist Alfre Woodard, and Nobel laureate Jodi Williams, along with those who are making a difference behind the scenes around the world, such as Marion Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Each interview is accompanied by a photographic portrait, resulting in a volume that is compelling in word and image – and global in its scope and resonance. This landmark book is published to coincide with an immersive travelling exhibition and an interactive website, building on this remarkable, ever-evolving project. With responses ranging from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many are fighting for basic freedom and equality.

Local interviewees include Graça Machel, Caster Semenya, Zelda la Grange, Mpho Tutu van Furth, Hlubi Mboya, Sahm Venter, Joanne Fedler, Ingrid le Roux, Gillian Slovo and Zoleka Mandela, among others.

A minimum of 10% of the project’s revenue will be distributed to organisations devoted to protecting and advancing the rights of women. Each interviewee can nominate an organisation (or themselves if they are in financial need) to receive their portion of the charitable pool or they can select the principal charitable partner, the Graça Machel Trust.

Here the acclaimed Canadian author, Margaret Atwood, discusses happiness, the importance of conservation, freedom of expression, women’s rights, and what she considers to be the lowest depth of misery:

 

 

 

200 Women

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Watch Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 200 Women interview

“You can’t empower women without listening to their stories” – Gloria Steinem

 
200 Women200 women from a variety of backgrounds are asked the same five questions. Their answers are inspiring human stories of success and courage, love and pain, redemption and generosity. From well-known activists, artists, and innovators to everyday women whose lives are no less exceptional for that, each woman shares her unique replies to questions like “What really matters to you?” and “What would you change in the world if you could?”

Interviewees include US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actor and human rights activist Alfre Woodard, and Nobel laureate Jodi Williams, along with those who are making a difference behind the scenes around the world, such as Marion Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Each interview is accompanied by a photographic portrait, resulting in a volume that is compelling in word and image – and global in its scope and resonance. This landmark book is published to coincide with an immersive travelling exhibition and an interactive website, building on this remarkable, ever-evolving project. With responses ranging from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many are fighting for basic freedom and equality.

Local interviewees include Graça Machel, Caster Semenya, Zelda la Grange, Mpho Tutu van Furth, Hlubi Mboya, Sahm Venter, Joanne Fedler, Ingrid le Roux, Gillian Slovo and Zoleka Mandela, among others.

A minimum of 10% of the project’s revenue will be distributed to organisations devoted to protecting and advancing the rights of women. Each interviewee can nominate an organisation (or themselves if they are in financial need) to receive their portion of the charitable pool or they can select the principal charitable partner, the Graça Machel Trust.

Here, acclaimed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie answers “What really matters to you?”

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