Category Archives: Digital Books

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


New from MampoerShorts

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.


LENGTH: 13 000 words

READING TIME: +/- 60 mins

ISBN: 978-0-9921903-5-4

PRICE: $2.99



About the author


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


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.

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MampoerShort – Quiet Maverick: Tim Noakes Chews the Fat

Tim Noakes Chews the FatEveryone loved Tim Noakes, the superstar of South African sports medicine – until he lost 18 kg, an experience he used to challenge what the experts are saying about food and dieting. Is Noakes right? If so, why do other scientists hate him so much?

Noakes wrote a book last year, Challenging Beliefs, which argued that the dangers of fats are overly exaggerated; that the belief that coronary heart disease is caused by a high-fat diet is based on incomplete and sometimes flimsy research; that conventional dietary advice does more harm than good and contributes to obesity and associated illnesses.

The book was a best seller and changed the lifestyles of many. But it also caused outrage in medical circles, with petitions from prominent practitioners circulated to newspapers, warning against the dangers of taking Noakes seriously. Did Noakes get it wrong?

In the MampoerShort, Quiet Maverick: Tim Noakes Chews the Fat, science writer DARYL ILBURY investigates a man who has made invaluable contributions to sports science here and abroad, but has never been shy to stir controversy. Ilbury talks to Noakes, to World Cup winning rugby coach Jake White, to extreme sportsman Lewis Pugh and sports author Michael Vlismas to find out why this quiet maverick has risked his reputation and academic foothold. Ilbury also explains why this controversy is so complex… and why the outcome matters so much to us all. 

Daryl Ilbury - PhotoDARYL ILBURY is a former award-winning senior broadcaster and media analyst, now a journalist and regular opinion-editorial columnist with over 250 articles published in a number of leading titles including Financial Times, Sunday Times, Saturday Star, Business Day, Mail & Guardian,, Sunday Tribune, and Leadership magazine.


  • TITLE: Quiet Maverick: Tim Noakes Chews the Fat
  • AUTHOR: Daryl Ilbury
  • LENGTH: 13 900 words
  • READING TIME: ± 120 minutes
  • ISBN: 9780992190279
  • PRICE: $2.99 (at today’s exchange rate, the 27th of April ’13), about R27-25 each)
  • URL Link:



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MampoerShorts – crisp, punchy e.books

MampoerShorts LogoHave you heard about MampoerShorts? They are mini-books, or long-journalism. Short enough to read in a sitting, long enough to tell the whole story. Shorter than a novel, longer than a magazine article.  They are crisp, punchy e.books, written (mostly) by South Africans and aimed (mostly) at South African readers. Distilled by the country’s best and most engaging writers and journalists, they will fascinate, stimulate and inform.

MampoerShorts can be read on the Kindle Fire, iPads, Android tablets, Kobo, Gobii or on any smart phone. And for those who prefer reading the old-fashioned way, you can print them out from any computer.

You can buy MampoerShorts for $2.99 (about R27 at today’s exchange rate) and start reading within minutes.

Visit their website at for a full list of available e.books.

Below is information about one MampoerShortGorilla in the Room by Anton Harber.

Gorilla in the Room by Anton Harber“Where does the Big Gorilla sit? The Big Gorilla sits wherever he likes.”

In 1984 in South Africa, it was hard to be optimistic about the future of commercial media. Newspaper companies faced an economy in decline, escalating insurgency, and the threat of television. It was then that Ton Vosloo, new MD of the establishment Afrikaner publishing house Nasionale Pers, received a call from a young MBA student with an idea for launching pay television in South Africa.

Almost thirty years later, that young man, Koos Bekker, has played a key role in the transformation of the South African media, dominated today by household brands like DStv, M-Net, Supersport and M-Web. Bekker also built Nasionale Pers, a one-time apartheid relic, into a giant that dwarfs rival media companies in South Africa, and is big and confident enough to operate on a global scale.

Bekker is famous for having refused to take a salary or benefits. Yet this year, his shares could earn him a billion rand. In this MampoerShort, Anton Harber provides the first ever inside look at how Bekker operates, what makes him such a visionary manager, how he handles crises, and what his colleagues think of him.

Click HERE to read an extract from Gorilla in the Room.

  • GENRE: Business, Media, Personalities
  • LENGTH: 17 500 words
  • READING TIME: 90 mins
  • ISBN: 978-0-9921727-0-1


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