Searching African Skies

by Sarah Wild (Jacana) ISBN 978-1-4314-0472-8 



Space is the new frontier and as main host to largest radio telescope in the world, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), South Africa is perfectly positioned to explore these new vistas of opportunity. 

Sarah Wild, Science and Technology editor for Business Day, explains why. She tracks South Africa’s long history in (radio) astronomy which begins with the /Xam Bushmen stories on the origins of celestial bodies. Scientists, academics, and subsequent governments have initiated and supported the construction of various observatories and telescopes. The ANC-led government has spent more on radio astronomy than previous governments since 1910 combined and further facilitated developments by lawfully declaring most of the Northern Cape “an astronomy advantage area”.  This has allowed South Africa to position as a “supplier of knowledge and innovation”. 

By awarding the SKA the international astronomical society has endorsed this position. The economic impact of the project might not be as immediate as the poor communities in the Karoo hope but the SKA will contribute to development and jobs.  Its human capital development programme greatly boosts interest and capability in the fields of Science & Technology for (South) Africans. 

Although the scientific content went over my head at times, Sarah Wild’s enthusiasm for this amazing South African achievement and its further potential is catching. 

Josine Overdevest
3.5/5

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - Writing courses for business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Follow @Writers_Write

Writers Write - Write to communicate

Lady Limbo

by Consuelo Roland (Jacana) ISBN 978-1-4314-0508-4 



I loved this book. I couldn’t tell you how much the love story meant to me. It was beautifully written and you had to hold your breath in moments where you recognised what you had missed in your life. 

But alas, the story waned, and the search for Daniel, de Luc, an elusive crime writer with a deep love of poetry, who disappeared from a Camps Bay apartment, becomes frustrating. Is Daniel alive, writing one of his French novels that pull at the heartstrings? Where is he? His absences have become longer. His wife, Paola knew she would be parted from him as he researched his novels but this time it feels like forever.  

Paola is desperate to become pregnant, hoping that will bring him home. He has always longed for a child. Then Paola learns that her husband is involved in the shadowy world of the international sex industry, where women pay men to become the anonymous fathers of their children. 

I never learnt whether Luc is still alive, whether he will come home, or if he is always just a ghostly step away from her. The descriptions of the Cape are like the sunsets, they draw you into a place that uplifts the senses. Such beautiful writing is just waiting for a reader to enjoy it. 

Dee Andrew
4/5

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - Writing courses for business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Follow @Writers_Write

Writers Write - Write to communicate

Madiba Mindset

Your own Freedom Charter by Tyrrel Fairhead (Jacana) ISBN 978-1-4324-0248-9

 

Start by sitting quietly...become aware of your breathing...calm down...think about people who have influenced your life...consider the Madiba Mindset.  Can you remember certain occasions where you have felt successful after applying a certain principle? 

 

This is such a difficult book to describe. It is so enriching so absorbing, so attitude changing, so right for you if you have a negative attitude. What you read here will change your outlook and maybe your future. A goal is a dream with a deadline. You can definitely change your attitude towards your dreams and goals if you read the Madiba Mindset.

 

It's about being in control, aiming for the positive, being flexible. When Madiba found his cell too small to exercise in, he started running on the spot. Other inmates saw bars on their cell windows; Madiba saw the stars beyond the bars.

 

He had lots to overcome, as we know. Whether you have read about him or seen him on TV, or heard about him from someone else, you feel as if you know him, don't you?  So surely what worked for him can work for us. I don't know a person on this planet who hasn't heard of him and how he achieved a positive life. 

 

I found this book simple to read, simple to apply to life. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to read it. Read it; share it with others less fortunate and what a wonderful world we might live in.

 

Dee Andrew

5/5

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Positions

edited by Peter Anders and M. Krouse (Jacana) ISBN: 9781770098893

 

This book is a collection of essays about contemporary artists in South Africa, first published in German, as part of a German series on how art responds to globalisation. Or in the editor’s words, ‘how artists face the challenge of engaging with the past while making sense of the present’.

 

Various artists are put in the spotlight and discuss their perspective: from famous poets, playwrights, photographers to filmmakers, dancers and performance artists. Also included are three initiatives with a collective voice.

 

‘Modern works do not have audiences, they make them,’ says choreographer Boyzie Cekwana and this book certainly succeeded in creating an audience. South Africa is bursting full of talent. Most of the interviews and stories captured me.

 

It was the frankness of the cartoonist Zapiro, the ranting of rap poet Rampolokeng and the vulnerability of graffiti-inspired conceptual artist Kudzanai Chiurai, to name a few. The picture of Chiurai’s work is used as the book cover.

 

The layout of Positions is beautiful and appealing, with pictures of the artists and their art. So in this case: judge the book by its cover!

 

I can recommend it not only for art lovers, but for everyone who sees the cultural richness of South Africa.

 

Pauline Vijverberg

4/5

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

To find out about Writers Write - Writing for Business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

One Magic Square

by Lolo Houbein (Jacana) ISBN 9781770099111

 

This is the most useful and most beautiful book of the year. For experienced gardeners it is full of practical tips, but for people aspiring to grow their own vegetables, like me, it is a godsend!

 

Houbein takes you step by step from planning your vegetable garden on a square metre to a successful harvest with minimum effort.

 

She convinces you that growing your own vegetables does not need to be time consuming and you only need limited space. She shows you how important it is to reconnect with the soil and to reduce your carbon-footprint.

 

To start growing your own food without delay, put down this book, go out in the garden and select a spot in the sun’, is her first advice. From salad plots to curry plots: each chapter has its own design and the book is full of basic recipes.

 

Houbein grew up in Holland during the war and since surviving the hunger winter of 1944 she realised the importance of food self-sufficiency. Houbein has won several awards for her novels.

 

For One Magic Square she was shortlisted for 'Best Food Book' in the Le Cordon Bleu Awards 2010 and named 'Most innovative Cook Book in Australia' in the International Gourmand Awards 2009.

 

Pauline Vijverberg

5/5

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

To find out about Writers Write - Writing for Business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Deeper than Colour

by James Clelland (Jacana) ISBN 978-1-77009-925-8

 

James Clelland is the recipient of the EU Literary Award in 2010. 

He certainly is a compelling new voice in South African fiction. In this story his fiction is based on some truth. You cannot help laughing at what might be your own marriage.

 

The story is about Angus, an angry young man. He is married to Dinah whom he dreads making love to. He even counts the tampons in the bathroom to try and escape his husbandly duties.

 

So much shocked me in this book and yet I became inured to the language eventually. 

 

His Border Duty stories are real black humour.The fright and illogical need to be up at the Border is so well described that in spite of his innate selfishness you feel a need to have sympathy with him in his awful situation.

 

All that matters to Angus is his shrink, his peculiar mother and hidden movies of himself. It's difficult to give an assessment of the book because it is almost too modern for most readers.

 

I read on in spite of my old-fashioned misgivings and strangely enough I really enjoyed it.

 

Dee Andrew

4.5/5

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

To find out about Writers Write - Writing for Business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Harvest. Recipes from an Organic Farm

by Christine Stevens (Jacana) ISBN: 978-1-77009-594-6

 

Christine Stevens has a life many corporate workers will envy. She lives on a farm that provides her with a rustic lifestyle and organic vegetables. The pictures in this cookbook reflect the easy living and the healthy bodies of her three children.

 

I usually approach cookbooks as a sceptic. I don’t like cooking anything that takes more energy, time and concentration beyond boiling an egg. When a book has ‘organic’ in the title I start to sweat imagining having to find the obscure shop to buy the ingredients.

 

Although the recipes use organic vegetables and herbs from Steven’s farm, they are as easy to grow in the average backyard or in a container.

 

The recipes are easy to understand and the result is delicious. The pot roast chicken was a breeze to make. It required very little preparation. Worried about growing your own vegetables? Your local Woolworths supplies most of the organic ingredients. I do not think that I can motivate myself to grow the vegetables and keep a few chickens in the yard.

 

The person, who likes whipping up a dish with very little effort, will enjoy the recipes. I do not recommend this book for the Jamie Oliver type of chef. The recipes are too simplistic and lack imagination for the more adventurous cook.

 

Ulrike Hill

3/5

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, email news@writerswrite.co.za