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SOUTH AFRICAN LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND BOOK REVIEWS FOR SEPTEMBER

Title: Robben Island: a place of inspiration

Author: Charlene Smith

Format: Available in Audio

Review: Robben Island best known as the place where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for eighteen years has been a place of harshness and brutality; its history steeped in the suffering of those banished there. Yet it has also become a universal symbol of hope, forgiveness, and triumph. With a storyteller’s sensibility, combined with rigorous research, Charlene Smith charts the evolution of the Island’s political and social history, from mail station, place of exile, and military defence post to maximum security prison and World Heritage Site. Fully revised, this new edition of “Robben Island” provides absorbing accounts of daring escapes, maritime disasters, lepers ostracized from mainland society, the fates of the great Xhosa chiefs of the nineteenth century, and the unique bonds of friendship and compassion forged among the political prisoners confined on the Island during the apartheid era. Today Robben Island is recognized for both its environmental riches and its cultural significance. More than just a geographical location or a tourist attraction, it is an enduring tribute to the resilience of the human spirit. Sobering and uplifting, Robben Island is an essential read for anyone interested in South Africa’s turbulent journey to democracy and the people who made it possible.”

 

Title: Clued up on culture: a practical guide for all South Africans

Author: Barbara Elion

Format: Braille

Review: It is a useful beginner’s reference for individuals with an interest in comparative religion. A person will be more informed about aspects of African traditionalism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism in one concise handbook.

 

Title: The Bushmen of Southern Africa: slaughter of the innocent

Author: Sandy Gall

Format: Available in Audio

Review: This passionate book speaks up for the Bushmen, the original inhabitants of southern Africa, who have been dispossessed and almost exterminated. Now in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve, they are making their last stand.

 

Title: The Cape floral kingdom: classic story of South Africa’s wild flowers

Author: Conrad Lighton

Format: Available in Braille

Review: This book is about the beauty of South Africa’s wild flowers, the story behind these beauties, the people who found, named and made them famous around the world.

 

Title: Aspects of Africa

Author: David Robbins

Format: Available in Audio

Review: With the advent of the 1990s, South Africa helped to complete a cycle in Africa’s long history: the continent was freed of the “rigours if not the scars” of European domination. Suddenly, borders were opened and all of Africa became accessible to South Africans – as if they had at last been released into their broader home.

Aspects of Africa is South African travel writer David Robbins’ account of visits he made to Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. It is a vivid evocation of people, places and themes, from Namibia’s relaxed capital city of Windhoek to the tragedy of Rwanda; from the tensions of Kinshasa to the heat and silence of Olduvai.

Robbins does not claim to provide a definite overview. His approach is intentionally narrower and deeper and his penetrating yet sensitive writing uncovers the often startling images inherent in a continent whose vastness and complexities continue to fascinate and perplex. Here is an essentially African writer involved in some of the realities of “broader home”.

 

 

 

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