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South African Library for the Blind Book Reviews for August

  Title: Happiness is a four-letter word

  Author: Cynthia Jele

  Format: Available in both Audio and Braille


This book has been recently made into a movie. This book is about friendship of four beautiful ladies and the trials and tribulations that they go through. It deals with relevant   issues that women face eg. love, infidelity, infertility, work and friendship. It is an easy, enjoyable read and is beautifully written.


Title: Spilt milk

Author: Kopano Matlwa

Format: Available in both Audio and Braille


A story of two passionate people who share a shameful past and a tenuous present, this remarkable narrative follows headmistress Mohumagadi — of the elite Sekolo sa Ditlhora school for talented black children — and Father Bill, a disgraced preacher, as they are brought together again decades after a childhood love affair expelled them from their communities. Much to the dismay of her students, Mohumagadi hires Father Bill as a teacher, resulting in a battle of wills and wits for the hearts and minds of the children living in the shadow of revolution and change.


Title: Endings & beginnings

Author: Redi Tlhabi

Format: Available in Audio

Summary: “A beautiful read — A story about life growing up in the townships in apartheid South Africa. Addresses violence and the reality and risk of growing up as a black South African, The value and role of women is in the spotlight throughout the book, as she relates the story of a gangster’s life and the unlikely friendship that the author develops with him. Violence has been a feature of this society for such a long time and it is great to see books dealing with this topic. Well written and relevant .’’ Redi has won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award.


Title: Not without a fight

Author: Helen Zille

Format: Coming soon in Audio and Braille

Review: “By the time I finished Not Without a Fight, Helen Zille’s autobiography, I was exhausted. But not by the writing. Zille, who started out as a journalist, weaves an interesting story. She accounts for her life with pace, clarity, drama, suspense and humor – and it’s a good tale. Indeed, her opponents, both within and beyond the Democratic Alliance (DA), might say that this is a work of fiction. Those accusations will surely come in the weeks ahead, and this review cannot test their veracity. But I can say that Zille has done a powerful job of bringing together her personal and political lives in a highly readable work. A pertinent question here is whether most readers will appreciate the sometimes mind-numbing level of detail, which brings the book to 510 pages. Zille describes her heritage, the hardships and survival of her immigrant parents, her complex relationship with her mother and her deaf sister, her struggles with anorexia, her love life, and her notable contributions to South African journalism. As a reporter for the Rand Daily Mail, she broke the story of Steve Biko’s murder by the apartheid regime. But what stands out is her celebrated political career in South Africa’s main opposition party, the DA. The picture is most revealing. If you thought the African National Congress (ANC) was the only organisation riven by factions and greed, you were wrong. The DA, it emerges, is a snake pit of egos, naked ambition, factional politics, and perpetual plotting. In other words, not so different from the rest… The personal in Not Without a Fight is the unknown Zille. It is the feisty nine-year-old who defies her mother and visits with a group of friends at night, only to be “arrested” by cops as they walk back home at 3:00am. It is the rebellious teenager who didn’t “fit in” at a posh English-speaking school, who smoked, was addicted to current affairs and had a boyfriend at the age of 14. It is the insecure young woman who, because she craved attention from boys, starved herself and developed severe anorexia. It is the young woman who is scared to love because heartbreak is far worse than falling in love. It is the daughter whose mother suffered from depression, and a sister whose sibling has a lifelong disability. It is a young mother who suffers post-natal depression twice. It is also a caring wife who loves her devoted partner and their two children…”


Title: No longer whispering to power

Author: Thuli Madonsela

Format: Coming soon in Audio and Braille

Review: “The story of Thuli Madonsela as Public Protector is, by definition, the story of South Africa’s recent history. Thandeka Gqubule’s No Longer Whispering to Power is a reminder of what a surreal roller coaster South African politics can be. For this reason, it is a sobering read: even being taken through events that we all know well, like the “scope creep” of Nkandla, leaves one a little breathless at the scale and brazenness of what President Jacob Zuma’s leadership has inflicted on the country. But at the heart of the story are two women who should leave us with a greater sense of optimism about what South Africa is capable of producing. One is, obviously, Thuli Madonsela. The second is author Thandeka Gqubule, a journalist who was one of the “SABC 8” who stood up to growing censorship at the public broadcaster under Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and was suspended for doing so… Madonsela and her political consciousness were a product of the United Democratic Front – which Gqubule describes as focused on grassroots social justice – rather than the African National Congress, characterised in the book as hierarchical, secretive, and top-down. Gqubule’s book is a reminder of how little we know about Thuli the person, as opposed to Thuli the Protector. Madonsela has served as a screen on which to project all the hopes of the nation: saviour, moral compass, future president. These fantasies are simplistic, but comforting. They are not disrupted by the book: its focus on Madonsela’s professional career rather than her personal life ensures that a more intimate grasp of Madonsela stays out of reach…”






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Update on the new Library Management System:

The teams from Universal Knowledge Software (UKS) and SALB are busy finalising the outstanding modules and the system should be up and running tentatively by end October 2018.

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