Notes From A Headmaster’s Desk by Marc Falconer

“On this fraught journey with the pressure of our country’s future and the lives of our children at stake, a sense of humour does help to keep the trip in perspective. ‘Life is’, as Oscar Wilde said, ‘much too important to take seriously’” – From the preface, Marc Falconer


Marc Falconer is the first non-Jewish headmaster at King David High School Linksfield (Johannesburg) since its establishment in 1955. From his position as both headmaster and parent he provides behind-the-scenes anecdotes and insights into the true state of the nation’s schools and educators as well as into the mysterious workings of teenage minds, interpreting situations that he encounters on a daily basis.

Marc provides a humorous look at some of the issues he has come across and the experiences he has had in order to to remind readers that, at the end of the day, as much as we worry about education in South Africa and how to mould our children into the upstanding members of the community we envision them to be, the journey does not have to be painstakingly difficult. Ultimately, if we equip them with the right set of skills and attitudes, our children will turn out just fine as they are more resilient than we realise.

This is an entertaining and thought-provoking account of the issues and challenges of education, parenting and teenagers in South Africa today.

About the Author

Marc Falconer has been involved in private schooling for the greater portion of his life, having previously taught at Thomas More in Kloof (KwaZulu-Natal) and at a host of independent schools in the UK and New Zealand. When he returned to South Africa he taught in the English Department and then headed the A-Level College at St Stithians. He was appointed headmaster of King David High School in January 2005.

Published by Pan Macmillan 

ISBN: 9781770103528

The Crazy Life of Larry Joe by Joanne Jowell


Larry Joe’s upbringing reads like that of many others in South Africa, having been born into a poor family in the Northern Cape and growing up with an alcoholic father and an abused mother. He stole his first loaf of bread at age five, to feed his hungry sister, and his descent into a life of crime, drugs and gangsterism was all but guaranteed.

The only light in an otherwise pitch-black world was music: when Larry was four years old, his father showed him a few chords on the guitar. He learnt the rest himself and loved to play for other people. But the grip of crime was iron-clad, and Larry eventually pushed the boundary too far. Having pulled off a major heist in the town of Douglas, Larry fled to Cape Town, changed his name, and took to the streets.  Here he lived for seven years, busking outside shops to earn honest money, and battling his addiction to drugs.

Seven years on, still with a price on his head, Larry made a decision and returned to Douglas to face the music. Enter Aron Turest-Swartz, founding member of South African music sensation ‘Freshlyground’. On this fateful World Aids Day in 2008, he watched, intrigued, as Larry Joe wowed the crowds at a concert in Douglas while prison wardens waited in the wings. The two struck up a friendship, and eventually a collaboration, which saw them producing a music album in the grounds of the Douglas Correctional Facility. When Larry was released three years early, he walked out of jail and onto stage.

The Crazy Life of Larry Joe  tells the moving story of one man’s journey away from certain self-destruction in a world characterised by crime and drugs towards personal freedom and a very real chance of stardom as he realises his musical talents and potential through his own extraordinary efforts and the mentorship of others.

About the Author


Joanne Jowell is the author of the bestselling biographies On the Other Side of Shame: An Extraordinary Account of Adoption and Reunion (2009) as well as Finding Sarah: A true story of living with bulimia (2011). She lives in Cape Town with her husband and three children.

View Joanne‘s Facebook page HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Published by Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781770103191

Incognito by Mark Verbaan

‘I open my eyes and tilt the rearview mirror. Sometimes, not often, answers can be found if you look into your own eyes for long enough. This isn’t one of those times. I see only questions bouncing back at me.’ Ben Trovato


Ben Trovato has fooled us all for years. The man behind the dark glasses, under the black fedora and inside the trench coat isn’t who we thought he was. Or is he? One thing we do know – his name isn’t really Ben Trovato.

For well over a decade, Mark Verbaan has been writing as Trovato. The curious story of why he chose to use a nom de guerre is told for the first time inside this book. That alone makes it worth buying.

While Mark Verbaan might not be a familiar name, Ben Trovato certainly is. Regarded as one of South Africa’s foremost satirists, he is the author of ten books, including one on golf, a sport he has never played. His trilogy of audacious letters to the rich and powerful remains unique in the annals of South African literature. And as a columnist, he has disgraced the pages of several major newspapers and magazines.

Incognito lays bare the meat, bones and gristle of Ben Trovato’s life. Which is also Mark Verbaan’s life. Try to keep up. It is a bittersweet memoir – sweet when the beer is free and the surf is up; bitter when the women in his life turn on him and he has to get a job.

He fights for his country from an office in Pretoria … He drags journalism even further into the gutter … He drums poorly for Durban’s punk bands … He lives among the squatters of London’s East End … He appears in a Kajagoogoo music video … He gets arrested on drugs charges … He is almost assassinated in Namibia … He is nearly killed by … And much more!

About the Author


Mark Verbaan is the Cape Town-based author of ten books. He uses his nom de plume Ben Trovato when writing his blog as well as columns for various newspapers, most recently the Sunday Tribune and the Sunday Argus and previously ‘The Whipping Boy’ with the Sunday Times.

View Mark‘s Facebook page HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Published by Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781770103887


Bloody Lies by Thomas Mollett & Calvin Mollett

Bloody Lies by Thomas Mollett & Calvin Mollett will be out in May. This book daringly challenges one of the most controversial murder cases in recent South African history. In 2007 Fred van der Vyver was acquitted of the 2005 murder of his girlfriend Inge Lotz. He then sued the police to the highest court for malicious prosecution – and failed.

Bloody Lies

In spite of the defence’s trashing of the prosecution’s case at the trial, brothers Thomas and Calvin Mollett provide a compelling argument of how every key element of the prosecuting evidence withstands the closest scrutiny. They use models, measurements, forensic tests, mathematical formulae and the views of experts both here and overseas.

The authors show how an ornamental hammer found in Van der Vyver’s vehicle, but thrown out as evidence, could match Inge’s head wounds. Contrary to the claim accepted in court, they convincingly argue that a disputed fingerprint was not lifted off a drinking glass found in Inge’s flat – a detail that could make all the difference. They demonstrate how blood marks on a towel could have come off the hammer, how blood stains on the floor could have been shaped by a specific shoe and how a closer look at cell phone records reveals a different choreography of movements than what was accepted by the court.

Could it be that two amateurs succeeded where the state prosecution failed?

About the authors


Thomas, a language practitioner, and Calvin, an engineer, have made headlines with their findings and were featured on Carte Blanche. They were also vilified, but not proven wrong – leaving wide open one of the most harrowing unsolved murder cases on record.

 Published by Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780143538479

Devil’s Harvest by Andrew Brown


After a secret drone strike on a civilian target in South Sudan, RAF air marshal George Bartholomew discovers that a piece of shrapnel traceable back to a British Reaper has been left behind at the scene. He will do anything to get it back, but he is not the only one.

Dissatisfied with his life and ousted from the marital bed, Associate Professor Gabriel Cockburn, an ambitious botanist at Bristol University, sets out to South Sudan in pursuit of a rare plant that is crucial to his research. Once there, he finds himself caught up in the travails of a young Sudanese woman, Alek, who agrees to guide him through dangerous territory to find the plant. But Alek has an agenda of her own.

As events move beyond their control, the lives of these characters are thrown together, with explosive results.

A political thriller that spans the globe, from the halls of Bristol University and London’s secretive MI6 building to the dusty streets of Juba and the refugee camps in war-torn South Sudan, Devil’s Harvest exposes the dark truths of the international arms trade and the plight of the world’s newest country.

About the Author


Andrew Brown practises as an advocate in Cape Town, and is a reservist sergeant in the South African Police Service. He is the author of four novels: Inyenzi, about the Rwandan genocide, and the crime novels Coldsleep Lullaby, Refuge and Solace. In Street Blues he wrote about his experiences as a police reservist. Andrew won the 2006 Sunday Times Fiction Prize for Coldsleep Lullaby, and his work has been shortlisted for the Alan Paton Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Africa Region). He is married, with three children.

View Andrew‘s Facebook page HERE

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

ISBN: 9781770227040

Woodworking for Everyone by Peter Alkema


Woodworking for Everyone will inspire you to create practical and stylish furniture for your home. Perfect for the coffee table or the workshop, this comprehensive and creative book contains 13 projects that will turn your weekends into fun-filled family time. Learn the basics of woodworking and make something useful that you will be proud of.

Each chapter is packed with photographs and illustrations as well as the background to the project and a list of materials and tools needed to complete the job. The instructions are clear and easy to follow with tips along the way to help you save time and get the job done. A ‘tools and techniques’ section provides you with practical insight about working with wood and the tools to get started.

Make the toy box or booster step as your first project in just a couple of hours. Finish the nursery shelf before the baby arrives or tackle the bed project if your child’s cot is becoming too small. Transform your garden with the sturdy bench in a shady spot or create a whole new outdoor play area with the Wendy house. You can even build your own workbench if you need a space for working and storing tools.

To visit the official Woodworking for Everyone website

Ook beskikbaar in Afrikaans

About the Author


Peter Alkema has five children, two dogs and one circular saw. He is clueless in the kitchen but a Masters in Mechanical Engineering does mean he can use the toaster. He works in IT at a bank during the day and makes sawdust in his workshop at night. The inspiration for woodworking came from his late father and maybe his next book will be a collection of recipes for engineers. Woodworking for Everyone is Peter’s first book.

View Peter‘s Facebook page HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Published by Struik Lifestyle (An imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN: 9781431700219

Dear Bullet by Sixolile Mbalo


It is one of the most beautiful parts of rural South Africa: soft flowing hills along which footpaths curl, cattle peacefully graze and children’s playful voices are heard. It is also the area where Nelson Mandela grew up and which he described in his autobiography with much fondness: the exhilarating freedom of childhood and the youthful friendships.

Circumstances were less kind to Sixolile Mbalo, but she thought that with the love of her grandmother, she would be able to change her life into a vehicle for her dreams. Then a young man arrived in the village and decided to make the spirited thirteen year old girl the focus point of his most debasing desires. Seldom does such an articulate voice from the unchartered spaces of everyday South African rural life, manage not only to survive, but to cross over into print.

This is the story of a brave and resourceful young person who has confronted the scourge of sexual violence, and who literally carries its effects with her to this day.

With an Afterword by Antjie Krog.


About the Author


Sixolile Mbalo was born in Mpandela in the Eastern Cape in 1986 where she lived until the age of 14. She moved to Cape Town in 2001. She fills her time writing and doing talks for Rape Crisis and NICRO and at prison care centres. She plans to study journalism in 2015.

Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers

ISBN: 9781868426164

I’m Not Your Weekend Special by Bongani Madondo


‘Like Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and Miriam Makeba, Brenda’s music will always be in our lives. We will smile when we think of her. South Africa will never be the same without her.’ – From the Foreword by Hugh Masekela

This is a fascinating collection on the life and times of Brenda Fassie, which includes a Foreword by Hugh Masekela and contributions from people who knew Brenda in both professional and personal capacities. It is being published in the year of the tenth anniversary of her death and is intended as both a tribute and to give fresh insight into Africa’s biggest pop star.

The collection includes reminiscences, criticism, elegies, essays and appreciation by friends, ex-lovers, critics, poets, academics and musicians, reflecting the endless and boundary-crossing legacy of Brenda Fassie.

Funny, crazy, poignant, insightful and tragic, I’m Not Your Weekend Special traces the highs and lows of Brenda Fassie’s life, celebrating the significance of this South African icon.

Contributors include: James Ainsworth; Beathur Baker; Charl Blignaut; Bongani Fassie; Themba Fassie; Andrew Herold; Bongani Madondo; Ludwe Maki; Lionel Manga; Hugh Masekela; Melvyn Matthews; Njabulo Ndebele; Duma ka-Ndlovu; Vukile Pokwana; Janet Smith; Tholang Tseka; and Oscar Tyumre among others.

About the Author 

Bongani Madondo

Bongani Madondo is a Senior Writer at Rolling Stone magazine, where he serves as resident rock critic. Madondo has written non-fiction pieces for numerous publications in South Africa, the UK and the USA. He also co-wrote the musical revué, Ma-Brrr: A Life. In 2009 his first book Hot Type: Icons, Artists & God-Figurines (Picador Africa) was the African recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts, making him a Fellow at the Katzen Centre of the Arts, at the American University, Washington DC.

View Bongani‘s Facebook page HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Published by Pan Macmillan 

ISBN: 9781770103665

Africa Is Open For Business by Victor Kgomoeswana


Victor Kgomoeswana, well known as an African business expert with a profile on radio and television, shares 50 stories of innovation and opportunity behind the business headlines of the last ten years on the African continent. From the introduction of M-pesa in Kenya to changing the image of Nigeria as Africa’s fraud capital, and from Rwandan coffee farmers to Ethiopian Airlines, and other remarkable stories in between, Kgomoeswana criss-crosses the continent to highlight the most fascinating business stories and their impact on the future of Africa.

Africa is Open for Business contains a dynamic and different view of the opportunities available in Africa from those usually portrayed in the news and in other media. Kgomoeswana focuses on the stories behind the headlines as well as sharing his personal experiences of Africa while travelling and doing business in a way that is as entertaining as it is informative.

About the Author


Victor Kgomoeswana is the Executive in Business Development at PPC, a listed South African cement company with operations in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and expanding into the rest of the continent. His role is finding investment and growth opportunities for PPC and laying the foundation for engagement. He has been presenting the weekly African Business Report on Talk Radio 702’s Africa Business Report since July 2007 and features frequently as a guest on CNBC Africa, SABC television and radio stations on the topic of African business. Kgomoeswana is the founding editor of Eye on Africa, Ernst & Young’s regular publication that highlights investment opportunities across the continent, and he is a contributor to several conferences and other discussions on Africa as an investment destination. This is his first book.

View Victor‘s Facebook page HERE

Published by Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781770103726

Finders Weepers by Penny Lorimer


Broadcast journalist Nix Mniki finds herself, reluctantly, in ‘frontier territory’ – the rural Eastern Cape – after being persuaded by her formidable mother to search for the daughter of an old friend. Boniswa, the missing woman, is principal of the once-famous Girdwood College, a school almost destroyed by the country’s recent history, Boniswa is determined to restore it to its former glory and to enable children from the destitute community surrounding the school to succeed, despite crumbling infrastructure, insufficient resources and inadequate teachers.

Born of Xhosa and German parentage and raised in privileged suburbia, Nix is ignorant of the real impact of the ‘education crisis’. She must confront corruption, violence, desperate children and revelations about her own family and identity as she discovers that Boniswa did not disappear voluntarily.

About the Author


Penny Lorimer grew up in Johannesburg and studied at UCT. Previous writing experience includes speeches, website content, school textbooks, short stories and a crime novel for younger readers. Finders Weepers is her first adult novel. She is married with children and lives in Cape Town.

View Penny‘s Facebook page HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Published by Umuzi (An imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN: 9781415206829