Used To Be Great Friends – An essay in autobiography by C.J. (Jonty) Driver

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A photograph captures nine youngsters celebrating their friend’s 21st birthday in 1962. Two of the nine were to serve prison sentences for their active opposition to apartheid, one was murdered, and another, the author, did a spell in solitary confinement before being exiled.

This moment, frozen in time, shows the youngsters on the brink of extraordinary journeys: Alan Brooks, imprisoned for two years for sabotage and deported upon release; John Clare, who became the Education Editor for the Daily Telegraph; Stephanie Kemp, the first white woman assaulted during detention, exiled and later the wife of Albie Sachs; Roger Jowell, who became Professor Sir Roger Jowell, founder-director of Britain’s National Centre for Social Research; Sally Frankel, who emigrated to Australia; Jonty Driver, detained in solitary confinement, then exiled; Jann Parry, who became a dance critic for the Observer, now an award-winning author; Rick Turner, outspoken activist, shot dead on his own doorstep probably by a government agent; and Barbara Hubbard, who became a British MP and a minister, now married to novelist Ken Follet.

This autobiographical look at the nine youngsters spans a history of activism, bombings, arrests, exile, passionate commitment and occasional regret.

An earlier version of this essay was first published in Granta 80, Winter 2002.

e.BOOK DETAILS

LENGTH: 13 000 words

READING TIME: +/- 60 mins

ISBN: 978-0-9921903-5-4

PRICE: $2.99

FORMAT: e.book

URL LINK: http://www.mampoer.co.za/c-j-jonty-driver/used-to-be-great-friends

About the author

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C.J. (Jonty) Driver, South African-born poet, novelist and essayist, based in the UK. President of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS), in 1963 and 1964, and held in solitary confinement by police on suspicion of involvement in the African Resistance Movement. While a postgraduate student at Trinity College, Oxford (1965-7), he was refused a passport and was stateless for five years until becoming a British citizen. He remained a prohibited immigrant in South Africa until 1991.

View C.J’s website HERE

extract

When I meet people who were young in South Africa in the 1970s, they are always much more impressed that I once shared a house with Richard Turner than with the fact that I was president of NUSAS. I wish now I had spent more time with him in those months in Cape Town.

When I showed John Clare the photograph of his own 21st birthday party, he called the young woman next to Rick Turner the ‘star of the show’ – and I suppose she is: she is Barbara Follett, from 1997 the MP for Stevenage, though now retired from Parliament, a specialist in management training, ‘style consultant’ to New Labour, and often credited with having helped make the Labour Party more attractive to the urban middle-classes, to women, and to the young. She was one of the founders of ‘Emily’s List’, which promoted the election of Labour women to Parliament. Her present husband is the immensely successful thriller-writer, Ken Follett, and they own homes in Stevenage, Chelsea, Antigua and Tuscany.

Gossip had it that they were among the closer friends of former Prime Minister Blair and Cherie Booth QC, though there was a public falling-out in 2000, in which some nasty words were said, with offence given and no doubt taken. At the time of the photograph, Barbara was Rick Turner’s girlfriend, pretty, bright, and seemingly at once both young and sophisticated. Born in the West Indies, she had lived in England and in Ethiopia before coming with her family to South Africa in 1957. Later, she and Rick married – the ceremony was in the garden of John Clare’s Cape Town flat, and it is a nice touch that John was called to be a witness of what Barbara said was to be her ‘last marriage’. Barbara and Rick had parted and divorced some years before he was murdered, but she has written movingly of having been called to help by their distraught children after the murder.

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

David and Goliath is the dazzling and provocative new book from Malcolm Gladwell, no. 1 bestselling author of The Tipping PointBlinkOutliers and What the Dog Saw.

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Why do underdogs succeed so much more than we expect? How do the weak outsmart the strong? In David and Goliath Malcolm Gladwell takes us on a scintillating and surprising journey through the hidden dynamics that shape the balance of power between the small and the mighty.

From the conflicts in Northern Ireland through the tactics of civil rights leaders and the problem of privilege, Gladwell demonstrates how we misunderstand the true meaning of advantage and disadvantage. When does a traumatic childhood work in someone’s favour? How can a disability leave someone better off? And do you really want your child to go to the best school he or she can get into?

David and Goliath draws on the stories of remarkable underdogs, history, science, psychology and on Malcolm Gladwell‘s unparalleled ability to make the connections others miss. It’s a brilliant, illuminating book that overturns conventional thinking about power and advantage.

CLICK HERE to read an extract from David and Goliath, courtesy of Penguin Books SA.

 About the author

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Author, journalist, cultural commentator and intellectual adventurer, Malcolm Gladwell was born in 1963 in England to a Jamaican mother and an English mathematician father. He grew up in Canada and graduated with a degree in history from the University of Toronto in 1984.

From 1987 to 1996, he was a reporter for the Washington Post, first as a science writer and then as New York City bureau chief. Since 1996, he has been a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine. His curiosity and breadth of interests are shown in New Yorker articles ranging over a wide array of subjects including early childhood development and the flu, not to mention hair dye, shopping and what it takes to be cool.

View Malcolm‘s website HERE

Follow Malcolm on Twitter HERE and like his Facebook page HERE

Published by Penguin Books

ISBN: 9781846145827

Marrying Black Girls for Guys who aren’t Black by Hagen Engler

White guy Hagen Engler had been married to his black wife for a couple of years before he realised he was still a racist! Marrying Black Girls for Guys Who Aren’t Black describes his journey from being the whitest person this side of a Smokie concert to being slightly blacker, if not visibly so.

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Combining anecdotes, rhymes, essays and freestyle political discourse, the book charts a personal route to an integrated society in Unit 2, Sandown Court, Johannesburg. As the newly disenfranchised minority in his lounge, Hagen has gained a fresh insight into the struggles of the oppressed. Living with a gorgeous, militant black woman has helped this armchair liberal understand cultural and economic reality and also realise that while he can appreciate the kwaito-house works of Oskido and the later releases of Letta Mbuli, he will never enjoy Basketball Wives, Kenny Lattimore, or boiled tripe. The jury’s still out on umleqwa too.

Once you make your peace with skin colour, does race even exist? Or is culture what distinguishes us? What happens when a surfer/bungee-jumper/rock ’n roll goofball hooks up with a black-diamond struggle veteran and shoe fetishist?

It’s hard to be a neoliberal hardliner when your partner’s real-life experience undermines all your prejudices. It’s cultural exchange over the TV remote; race relations in the contested space between the sink, the toaster and the microwave, as yet another mixed marriage cocks up the race debate. Hagen Engler learns about himself and our emerging, common culture as much as his lovely black wife in How to Marry a Black Chick for Guys who are White.

About the author

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Former editor of FHM magazineHagen Engler is a columnist, blogger, wordsmith and author from the mean streets of Sandton, South Africa. His skin might be white, but his soul is black. He types what he likes, braais hard and rolls deep on the interracial relationship scene. He is now out to boost his depleted feminist cred as househusband and nappie changer to the stars.

He has surfed Hawaii, run the Comrades, climbed Kilimanjaro, been sued by a clown and eaten a praying mantis. So a lot of the bucket-list boxes have been ticked.

View Hagen‘s website HERE 

Follow Hagen on Twitter HERE and like his Facebook page HERE

Reviews

“The wit and humor of author Hagen Engler left me awestruck.” – Qaanitah Hunter, The New Age

 “Hagen Engler is one of South Africa’s most under-recognised great writers. Observant, witty, sacrilegious, and highly original…”Melinda Ferguson, True Love 

Published by Jacana Media

ISBN: 9781920601287

Exclusive Books’ 2013 Festive Wish List: Season’s Readings

This festive season at Exclusive Books promises to be nothing short of magical for book lovers across the country. The Season’s Readings campaign boasts an incredible selection groaning with the weight of bestsellers, brand new releases, bargains and bumper gift ideas!

Bouch Through My Eyes by Mark Boucher and Neil ManthorpThere really is a book for everyone with brand new biographies such as Cold by Ranulph Fiennes and I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Sport titles on offer include the latest release Alex Ferguson by Alex Ferguson as well as Bouch: Through My Eyes by Mark Boucher.

Must-reads for business and current affairs enthusiasts include David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, The Famous Brands Story by Carie Maas, Lessons from a Boot of a Car by Reg Lascaris, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, Mamphela Ramphela by Mamphela Ramphela and My Second Initiation by Vusi Pikoli and Mandy Wiener.

The French AffairFabulous cookery titles are in big demand as gifts for 2013 as the gourmet cooking craze is still going strong. The Wish List has the most decadent cookery titles that will rouse even the laziest to want to cook Christmas lunch: Roads Less Travelled by Justin Bonello, Save With Jamie by Jamie Oliver, The French Affair by Jan Hendrik van Der Westhuizen, Braai by Reuben Riffel and Another Week in the Kitchen by Karen Dudley.

9780795706271The list includes excellent fiction newcomers The Vicious Circle by Wilbur Smith, Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, The Sculptors Of Mapungubwe by Zakes Mda, The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks, Sycamore Row by John Grisham, The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison, The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and Solo by William Boyd. A fan of fiction would be delighted with any of these!

Wonderful non-fiction books include: Gardens To Inspire by Keith Kirsten, The War At Home by Bill Nasson, also available in Afrikaans as Die Oorlog Kom Huis Toe, The Great Escaper by Simon Pearson, Appetite for Wonder by Richard Dawkins and What a Wonderful World by Marcus Chown.

A bit of light-hearted comedy always makes a super gift, so don’t forget My Big Fat Gupta Wedding by the brilliantly sardonic Zapiro or the fabulous Madam and Eve 2013 Annual by Francis and Rico.

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The Wish List also caters for Afrikaans bibliophiles with great Afrikaans options from popular authors such as Kobra by Deon Meyer, Klimtol by Etienne van Heerden, Fontein Voor Ons Deur by Marita Van Der Vyver and Onder die Radar by Dana Snyman.

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wimpykid_cover.pngAnd they haven’t forgotten about the kids with a fantastic selection for the 9-12 age group: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney, Heroes of Olympus: House of Hades by Rick Riordan, Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman and In die land van Pamperlang by Linda Rode. Teens can look out for books such as Russian Roulette by Anthony Horowitz and Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy – two hit titles that will be huge this summer.

The Wish List will be available in stores nationwide from 1 November to 26 December 2013, so visit your nearest Exclusive Books store to snap up these Season’s Readings, or shop online for all of your festive gifts at www.exclus1ves.co.za.

 

My Second Initiation by Vusi Pikoli and Mandy Wiener

As national director of public prosecutions from 2005 to 2007, Advocate Vusi Pikoli pursued criminal charges against the current president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, and the convicted former national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi. It was his dogged determination to bring the country’s top cop to account that ultimately saw Pikoli removed from office and the subject of a public inquiry into his suspension.

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My Second Initiation traces Pikoli’s journey from his first graduation to manhood in the hills of the Eastern Cape, to his second life-shaping experience in the corridors of power in government.

Pikoli has a deeply ingrained loyalty to the Constitution of the country and a keenly developed sense of justice, cultivated on the politically aware streets and rugby fields of New Brighton township. He recounts how he fled with his ANC unit into exile and spent 10 years away from his home and his family, suffering the loss of a child and of a man he considered a brother.

He provides an insider’s perspective on cases that have dominated discussion over the past decade from the Arms Deal and the Scorpions to the Brett Kebble murder, Travelgate, the Special Browse Mole Report and the Hoax E-mail saga. Pikoli reveals how he grappled with the dilemma of prosecuting friends and comrades, how he navigated through repeated attempts at political interference and how he confronted one of his persecutors in a poignant face-to-face encounter.

‘An account that is as bold, honest and truthful as it is painful and discomforting. Vusi Pikoli is a person of unquestionable integrity, for which South Africa will be eternally grateful.’ – Barney Pityana

About the authors

Vusi Pikoli

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Vusi Pikoli was born in Port Elizabeth. He served as director-general in the department of justice and as the national director of public prosecutions. Pikoli is an admitted advocate and has been a card-carrying member of the ANC for over 30 years.

Follow Vusi on Twitter HERE

Mandy Wiener

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Mandy Wiener is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author. She reports for Eyewitness News in Johannesburg and covered Vusi Pikoli’s tenure in office, his suspension in 2007 and the testimony of the Ginwala Inquiry. Wiener’s first book Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed has sold over 80 000 copies.

Follow Mandy on Twitter HERE

Published by Pan Macmillan SA

ISBN: 9781770103450

The Poisoned Chalice by Gavin Rich

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The Springboks have had several post-isolation coaches, and if they agree on nothing else, they will concur that everyone in the job suffers enormous pressure. Unlike coaches from other rugby-playing countries, they also face many obstacles outside of the game, such as South Africa’s complicated politics and the often unrealistic expectations of both the public and the media. It has been called a poisoned chalice, and everyone, from the first post-isolation coach, John Williams, to Heyneke Meyer, can attest to its veracity. Now, for the first time, their journeys are recorded in one book, and as part of one story.

The Poisoned Chalice takes an in-depth look at each of the coaches in the post-apartheid years, and at the same time examines how the role has evolved over the past two decades. From the triumphs to the controversies, the boardroom to the rugby field, this book reveals exactly what it takes to be the Bok coach, and why each and every one of them, at some time or another in the toughest job in South African sport, lost it.

A riveting, often revelatory and definitely controversial read!

CLICK HERE to see a chapter breakdown and to read an extract from The Poisoned Chalice.

About the author

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Gavin Rich is an award-winning rugby writer who is ideally placed to write about the post-isolation Springbok coaches, as he covered the first tour in 1992 and has remained on the beat ever since, a period of 21 years and 183 Tests. He went on tour with the Boks first as the SA Morning Group man and then later as the group rugby writer for Independent Newspapers, before continuing his observations of the coaches as senior rugby correspondent for Supersport.com, the Weekend Argus and other publications, such as SA Rugby Magazine. Author of former Bok coach Peter de Villiers’s bestselling autobiography, Politically Incorrect, this is Rich’s second book. He was educated at Rhodes University and Northlands Boys High School.

Follow Gavin on Twitter HERE

Published by Zebra Press (An imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN: 9781770225657

S.A. Politics Unspun by Stephen Grootes

South African politics is a murky, convoluted, complicated, cut-throat world that not many people fully understand.

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• How does it all work?

• What does Trevor Manuel actually do these days?

• Is Julius Malema really finished?

• Will Cyril Ramaphosa be our next president?

• How long will Jacob Zuma rule for?

• Who really matters in our politics?

• And what’s going to happen at the next elections?

In S.A. Politics Unspun, premier SA political commentator Stephen Grootes cuts through the incomprehensible political spin and media coverage out there to provide an accessible, attractive, easy-to-read road map to South African politics.

The entries are short and punchy, covering the basic structures of South African politics (Constitution, Parliament, Presidency, Cabinet etc), the major parties and players (from Aaron Motsoaledi to Helen Zille and Jacob Zuma) and the critical controversies that define our current political landscape (Nkandla, the Arms Deal, the Secrecy Bill and on). Key elements are the (even-handed) predictions for our political future and the patented Stephen Grootes Power Ratios, which rate our leading politicians by the power they wield and the moral authority they enjoy.

With innovative colour design to back up Grootes’ entertaining opinion and insight, this is the must-have political read in the run-up to 2014 National Elections.

About the author

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Stephen Grootes is the host of the Midday Report on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk, and the Senior Political Correspondent for Eyewitness News. He is also a senior contributor at the Daily Maverick. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of SA politics and is well-connected within media and political circles.

View Stephen’s Twitter page HERE

Published by Two Dogs (an imprint of Burnet Media) and distributed by Jacana Media.

ISBN: 9780987043764

Lloyd Cele – The Dream of an Idol by Lloyd Cele

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‘Keep breathing, Lloyd.’ I thought about my wife, my son. I thought about the other two contestants. I thought about my dream of being a musician, a song writer, an artist. Finally, ProVerb exhaled, ‘The Top 2 Finalists are: Lloyd Cele and Elvis Blue!’

After being runner-up on South African Idols in 2010, Lloyd has become one of South Africa’s most popular artists. He finds himself travelling the country performing at live events and recording songs with top producers.

But success didn’t come easy … this is his story. Lloyd: The Dream of an Idol tells of a harsh yet soulful journey from a destitute and fatherless upbringing in the poverty-stricken township of KwaMashu, to the highly acclaimed stages of Sun City in the South African Idols competition. His story is that of a ‘dark horse’, of literally coming from out of nowhere with nothing and risking everything for a dream. And the dream? To use his life as a blueprint for building others’ dreams. It’s about moving a new wave of youth, teens and adults across borders, cultures, classes and races to start and never stop dreaming and achieving.

Follow Lloyd on Twitter HERE and like his page on Facebook HERE

Published by Struik Christian Media

ISBN: 9781415325919

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

A new Bridget Jones novel by Helen Fielding.

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When Helen Fielding first wrote Bridget Jones’ Diary, charting the life of a 30-something singleton in London in the 1990s, she introduced readers to one of the most beloved characters in modern literature. The book was published in 40 countries, sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, and spawned a best-selling sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. The two books were turned into major blockbuster films starring Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.

In her third instalment, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, Helen introduces us to a whole new enticing phase of Bridget’s life set in contemporary London, including the challenges of maintaining sex appeal as the years roll by and the nightmare of drunken texting, the skinny jean, the disastrous email cc, total lack of twitter followers, and TVs that need 90 buttons and three remotes to simply turn on.

An uproariously funny novel of modern life, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy is a triumphant return of our favourite Everywoman.

CLICK HERE to watch a video of Helen Fielding giving a shout out to South African Bridget Jones fans and introducing the new book.

About the author

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Helen Fielding studied English at St Anne’s College, Oxford and worked at the BBC as a writer, researcher and producer. She then began writing for the Sunday Times, the Telegraph and the Independent, which first published the anonymous column that became the novel Bridget Jones’ Diary.

CLICK HERE to like the Bridget Jones Facebook Page.

Published by Jonathan Cape, and distributed by Random House Struik.

ISBN: 9780224098106

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Back to the Bush by James Hendry

Back to the Bush: Another Year in the Wild is the tale of a second year at Sasekile Private Game Reserve for Angus MacNaughton, his brother Hugh and the melange of outlandish characters who make up the staff, and visitors, of the lodge.

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Angus’s weekly journal recounts a positive beginning to the year for the MacNaughton brothers: fastidious Hugh is in love, running his own camp and on the verge of a promotion. Angus is involved in a romantic liaison, which takes the edge off his customary cynicism, and for the first time in their adult lives, a positive fraternal bond exists between them.

Inevitably, reality comes calling. Angus’s love affair ends and he copes poorly, Hugh becomes stratospherically arrogant on the back of a promotion and Julia, the MacNaughtons’ sister, starts dating Angus’s nemesis – Alistair ‘The Legend’ Jones. Then there are a series of further ‘hiccups’, from demanding lodge guests and marauding monkeys, to a labour protest, a run-in with a blind-drunk head chef, a winter drought, a rogue elephant that puts staff and guests in danger and the resignation of the sterling head ranger.

You are guaranteed to be entertained by the hilarious antics and hard knocks as well as the fierce beauty of the African landscape in Back to the Bush: Another Year in the Wild.

About the author

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James Hendry spent ten years working at exclusive lodges in southern Africa. He worked as a ranger, ranger trainer, head ranger, land manager, lodge manager, researcher and entertainer. James co-authored the non-fiction bestseller Whatever You Do, Don’t Run (2006).

See what James has to say about his new novel HERE

Published by Pan Macmillan SA

ISBN: 9781770103382