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South African Library for the Blind Book Reviews for March

Title: Not without a fight

Author: Zille Helen

Format: Coming soon in Braille and Audio

Summary: Zille takes the reader back to her humble family origins, her struggle with anorexia as a young woman, her early career as a journalist for the Rand Daily Mail, and her involvement with the End Conscription Campaign and the Black Sash. She documents her early days in the Democratic Party and the Democratic Alliance, at a time when the party was locked in a no-holds-barred factional conflict. And she chronicles the intense political battles to become mayor of Cape Town, leader of the DA and premier of the Western Cape, in the face of dirty tricks from the ANC and infighting within her own party.

 

Title: The Thabo Mbeki I know

Author: Ndlovu Sifiso

Format: Coming soon in Braille and Audio

Summary: The Thabo Mbeki I Know is a collection that celebrates one of South Africa’s most exceptional thought leaders. The contributors include those who first got to know Thabo Mbeki as a young man, in South Africa and in exile, and those who encountered him as a statesman and worked alongside him as an African leader. In The Thabo Mbeki I Know, these friends, comrades, statesmen, politicians and business associates provide insights that challenge the prevailing academic narrative and present fresh perspectives on the former president’s time in office and on his legacy a vital undertaking as we approach a decade since an embattled Thabo Mbeki left office.

 

Title: The cry of Winnie Mandela

Author: Ndebele Njabulo

Format: Braille & Audio

Summary: The life story of Winnie Mandela remains one of the great dramas of our times, an ongoing tale of triumphs and tragedies that is still unfolding. In the Cry of Winnie Mandela, a highly-acclaimed novel first released in 2003, Njabulo S. Ndebele focuses on four women at a specific period in the history of southern Africa who have spent time waiting for their men to return. Their ordinary, ‘private’ stories are anchored to the more powerful public stories of Penelope, of ancient Greek mythology, who waited eighteen years while her husband Odysseus was away, and Winnie Mandela, who waited for twenty-seven years. The women question themselves and each other about why they waited and what this waiting did to them, leading to a series of extraordinary and haunting ‘conversations’ with one another as well as with Penelope and Winnie.

 

Title: How can man die better

Author: Pogrund Benjamin

Format: Braille & Audio

Summary:  On 21 March 1960, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe led a mass defiance of South Africa’s pass laws. He urged blacks to go to the nearest police station and demand arrest. Police opened fire on a peaceful crowd in the township of Sharpeville and killed 69 people. The protest changed the course of South Africa’s history. Afrikaner rule stiffened and black resistance went underground. International opinion hardened against apartheid. Sobukwe, leader of the Pan-Africanist Congress, was jailed for three years for incitement. At the end of his sentence the government, fearful of his power, rushed the so-called ‘Sobukwe Clause’ through Parliament, to keep him in prison without a trial. For the next six years, Sobukwe was kept in solitary confinement on Robben Island, the infamous apartheid prison near Cape Town. On his release, Sobukwe was banished to the town of Kimberley with very severe restrictions on his freedom. He died there nine years later in February 1978. This book is the story of this South African hero – the lonely prisoner on Robben Island. It is also the story of the friendship between Robert Sobukwe and Benjamin Pogrund whose joint experiences and debates chart the course of a tyrannous regime and the growth of black resistance

 

Title: The Slave book

Author: Ryda Jacobs

Format: Coming soon in both braille and audio

“The novel opens with a Muslim slave, Sangora van Java, being sold by his angry owner after converting his fellow slaves to Islam. He is bought by a hard-nosed wine farmer, Andries de Villiers, despite de Villiers’ suspicions that the tall slave might be a trouble-maker. On impulse, de Villiers also makes a successful bid for Sangora’s 16-year old stepdaughter, Somiela – but not for the girl’s mother. The family is rent apart. The first days on de Villiers’ farm, with its hated slave-master Kananga, are deeply traumatic for father and daughter. But Kananga gets sacked for causing the death of a slave and is replaced by Harman Kloot, an Afrikaner of mixed blood. Kloot treats the slaves with fairness and courtesy, and soon gains their trust and respect. He also falls in love with the young Somiela, but is torn between duty to his own people and a young girl who belongs to a different culture and faith. The Slave Book explores Rayda Jacobs’ trademark themes of religion, culture and identity, and is part of a trilogy, which includes her other earlier novels, Eyes of the Sky and Sachs Street. Jacobs, who lives in Cape Town, has won a number of major book awards, including the Sunday Times and Herman Charles Bosman prizes for fiction.”

 

Title: GOD WHO MADE MISTAKES

Author: Ekow Duker

Format: Coming soon in both braille and audio

“The God Who Made Mistakes is intense. It’s interesting that the author can deliver a book this potent while using simple, to-the-point language. Duker has no time to explain the intricacies and complexities of human beings: he just rips off the skin to show us the bare bones of the worst in people. There is no “good guy” in this book. The closest to a decent person we get is Ayanda. His mother is an overbearing, controlling woman (the proverbial mother-in-law from hell) and his brother is a loser who blames everyone but himself for the way his life has turned out. This is not to say Themba is a saint; far from it. He’s quite unlikeable – a mentally weak man who thinks the only way to prove his masculinity is by treating his wife terribly. But once Themba admits his secret to himself and eventually those around him, it humanises him, softens him.For all its intensity, The God Who Made Mistakes is surprisingly witty and sharp, with acerbic asides like this one on the current state of menswear: “All the men wore blue suits these days, even the president. They thought it expressed their individuality when in fact it did the opposite.”

 

 

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