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Is South Africa the Drunkest Country in Africa? Sue Goldstein Believes So (Podcast)

Substance Use and Abuse in South AfricaSue Goldstein, director of the Soul City Institute for Health & Development Communication, was recently featured on Power FM, to speak about alcohol and alcoholism in South Africa.

The conversation begins with the question: “Is South Africa the drunkest country in Africa?” Goldstein responds to this, and offers an explanation of the link between HIV/Aids, TB and alcohol in this country.

Goldstein confirms that South Africa is indeed the drunkest country in Africa. She a cites a report that reveals that each South African drinks the equivalent of 11 litres of pure alcohol a year. She says this statistic is so frightening because “only about 40 percent of South Africans drink at all” – this means that those who do drink are “drinking a huge amount”.

In the podcast, Goldstein outlines some of the reasons South Africans drink so much, the vast array of negative effects of alcoholism and some of the remedies her organisation promotes.

Listen to the podcast:


Read more about the issues associated with alcohol abuse in Substance Use and Abuse in South Africa: Brain Behaviour and Other Perspectives edited by George Ellis, Ernesta Meintjes, Kevin Thomas and Dan Stein.

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“Political Reconciliation is Necessarily a Modest Concept” – Charles Villa-Vicencio’s Ideas Applied to Indonesia

The African Renaissance and the Afro-Arab SpringBaskara T Wardaya has written an article for Inside Indonesia in which he questions the possibility of reconciliation without politics.

Using Charles Villa-Vicencio’s assertion that “Political reconciliation is necessarily a modest concept” as a point of departure, Wardaya discusses Indonesia’s attempts to attain reconciliation. Villa-Vicencio is one of the editors of The African Renaissance and the Afro-Arab Spring: A Season of Rebirth? and was National Research Director for the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Wardaya writes that after the “politicide of 1965-66”, Indonesia had need for a truth and reconciliation commission. The process of reconciliation was, however, fraught with tension as non-governmental organisations calling for reconciliation had political agendas, and ultimately the commission was dissolved by an act of the constitutional court of Indonesia.

It was in this context that SekBer ’65 (1965 Joint Secretariat) was born. It sought reconciliation “without directly and politically challenging the central government”. Wardaya considers the efficacy of this apolitical reconciliation in the article:

Towards reconciliation

Even in South Africa, as Charles Villa-Vicencio wrote, political reconciliation is ‘necessarily a modest concept’. Conditions in Indonesia might be even less conducive than in Nelson Mandela’s South Africa. SekBer ’65’s apolitical approach should be appreciated as a modest concept aiming at reconciliation. Its methods minimise the likelihood of pressure from anti-1965 groups. Survivors feel safe and secure, and they become more willing to join SekBer ’65 activities.

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Presenting Myth and Meaning: San-Bushman Folklore in Global Context by JD Lewis-Williams

Myth and MeaningUCT Press is proud to present Myth and Meaning: San-Bushman Folklore in Global Context by JD Lewis-Williams:

JD Lewis-Williams, a leading South African archaeologist and ethnographer, examines the complex myths of the San-Bushmen to create a larger theory of how myth is used in cultures worldwide.

Exploring ethnographic, archival and archaeological lines of research, he extracts the “nuggets”, the far-reaching but often unspoken words and concepts of language and understanding that are opaque to outsiders, to establish a more nuanced theory of the role of these myths in the thought-world and social circumstances of the San.

Myth and Meaning: San-Bushman Folklore in Global Context is of interest to academics, and the general reader, interested in Anthropology, African ethnography, First Peoples, Religion, Folklore, Rock Art and African Studies.

The book

  • draws from the author’s own work, the unique 19th-century Bleek & Lloyd Archive, more recent ethnographic work, and San rock art
  • includes well-known San stories such as The Broken String, Mantis Dreams, and Creation of the Eland.


Chapter 1: Myth in its San incarnation
Chapter 2: Bringing Home the Honey
Chapter 3: The Mantis makes an Eland
Chapter 4: The Fight with the Meerkats
Chapter 5: A Visit to the Lion’s House
Chapter 6: The Mantis Dreams
Chapter 7: Narrating and Painting
Chapter 8: People of the Eland
Chapter 9: The Broken String
Chapter 10: “They do not possess my stories”

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Image courtesy of Africa Geographic

Robert Eales Brings the Inspirational Emily Hobhouse Back to Life in The Compassionate Englishwoman

The Compassionate EnglishwomanUCT Press is proud to present The Compassionate Englishwoman: Emily Hobhouse in the Boer War by Robert Eales:

In 1899 the South African War broke out. As the war progressed, in London the upper-class Emily Hobhouse learned of the camps in southern Africa that contained mostly Boer women and children who had been displaced by the hostilities. She was so concerned that she decided to go to South Africa to investigate. By herself and on her own initiative, she travelled by ship to Cape Town, to begin the distribution of aid to these camps.

She travelled thousands of kilometres through the war and was appalled by the British army’s tactic of clearing the land and herding hundreds of thousands of people into concentration camps, where the awful conditions put the lives of these “refugees” at risk. She urged the local authorities to provide better care and support, but little changed. So she returned to Britain to plead that immediate action be taken. She was met by indifference from the government and vitriol from the press.

This remarkable woman was on the wrong side of history. Her heroic mission could unwittingly have brought down the British government, and her story was smothered. In this book, through careful research, her courageous and inspirational work is once again brought to life.

A well-researched and readable account of the humanitarian work of Emily Hobhouse, offering a too little aired perspective on the atrocities of the British forces in the Anglo-Boer War.” – Dorothy Driver, Professor in English at Adelaide University.

About the Author

Robert Eales went to high school in Bloemfontein where much of this book is set. Subsequently, he studied at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and Balliol College, Oxford. He retired from the business world in 2005 and has been researching the South African War of 1899–1902 ever since. He has delivered many talks on this war, presented papers at conferences and been published in historical journals.

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Don’t Miss the Opening of Zanele Muholi’s New Exhibition Somnyama Ngonyama in Johannesburg

Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases 2006 - 2014Jacketed WomenStevenson Johannesburg is exhibiting Zanele Muholi’s new photographic exhibition Somnyama Ngonyama (which means “Hail, the Dark Lioness”).

Muholi, who published Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases 2006 – 2014 earlier this year and contributed to Jacketed Women: Qualitative research methodologies on sexualities and gender in Africa, has turned the camera on herself for this exhibition.

The exhibition opens on Thursday, 19 November, from 6 to 8 PM. Muholi will be giving a walkabout of her exhibition on Friday, 20 November, at 1 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 19 November 2015
  • Time: 6 PM to 8 PM
  • Venue: Stevenson
    62 Juta Street
    Braamfontein | Map

Read more about the exhibition:

Experimenting with different characters and archetypes, I have portrayed myself in highly stylised fashion using the performative and expressive language of theatre. The black face and its details become the focal point, forcing the viewer to question their desire to gaze at images of my black figure. By exaggerating the darkness of my skin tone, I’m reclaiming my blackness, which I feel is continuously performed by the privileged other.

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Daily Drug Tests for Learners? John Maytham Investigates Substance Abuse at Schools (Podcast)

Substance Use and Abuse in South AfricaJohn Maytham recently interviewed Western Cape education department communications director Paddy Attwell on his CapeTalk radio show about drug testing in schools.

According to an article in The Times by Nivashni Nair, which Maytham uses as his point of departure, there has been an increase in the number and frequency of school drug tests as well as an increase in the proportion of learners testing positive.

Nair took a closer look at how schools conduct drug tests, as well as the trends of substance abuse in schools.

Read the article:

Drug abuse has become so rife in South Africa’s schools that principals are forced to test pupils daily.

In some schools, breathalyers are used to test if pupils have been drinking in class or during special school events.

Maytham asks Attwell to clarify the rules and requirements about drug testing in school, and the statistics the provincial education department.

Attwell confirms that the assertion that “principals are forced to test pupils daily” might be somewhat overstated, although his department does not have the right figures to make a accurate comment on how many drug tests are carried out daily, as they only deal with very serious disciplinary matters.

Listen to the podcast:


Also read:

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The Great Texts/Big Questions Lectures Collected in Relocations, Edited by Coilin Parsons, Imraan Coovadia and Alexandra Dodd

RelocationsUCT Press is proud to present Relocations: Reading Culture in South Africa, edited by Cóilín Parsons, Imraan Coovadia and Alexandra Dodd:

Between 2009 and 2012, the Gordon Institute for the Performing and Creative Arts in Cape Town held the Great Texts/Big Questions public lecture series which became a celebrated part of Cape Town’s cultural landscape, demonstrating current intellectual and creative thinking in South Africa. These lectures gave audiences a chance to engage with transformative texts and questions, to hear thought leaders speak on the ideas, the books, the art, and the films that matter to them and to us.

Relocations: Reading Culture in South Africa brings together a selection of these lectures by world-renowned artists, writers and thinkers in the form of essays, for the benefit of a wider readership, with a contemporary design which plays with words. The authors range from novelists André Brink and Imraan Coovadia (one of the collection’s editors), to poets Gabeba Baderoon and Rustum Kozain, to artist William Kentridge and social activist Zackie Achmat. The topics are as wide as Don Quixote, Marx and Lincoln, trout fishing, Hamlet, the 19th-century Russian writer Gogol and Nabokov’s novel Lolita.

Today’s readers are increasingly interested in finding new ways to understand and live with great texts and the world of ideas. Books like this demonstrate that thinking about these texts does not have to be an inaccessibly academic pursuit.

Contents Include:

  • The Marvels of the Ingenious Knight Don Quixote de la Mancha
  • Rereading Blake’s lyric ‘Never seek to tell thy love’
  • How Hamlet Became Modern
  • These Things Do Happen
  • The Process of Shembe Music
  • A Page
  • Haunted by Waters
  • Syntactic Structures: Noam Chomsky and the Colourless Green Revolution in Language Studies
  • The Space Between: Ways of Looking at the Art of Xu Bing
  • An Inconvenient Truth: Abraham Lincoln and Karl Marx
  • WEB du Bois’s Black Reconstruction
  • Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj
  • Nothing Extraordinary: EM Forster and the English Limit
  • How to Read Lolita
  • The Dead in the World: James Joyce’s Travelling Text

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Meeting the Millennium Development Goals: The Business of Social and Environmental Innovation Excerpt

The Business of Social and Environmental InnovationSpringer Link offers a look inside The Business of Social and Environmental Innovation: New Frontiers in Africa edited by Verena Bitzer, Ralph Hamann, Eliada Wosu Griffin-EL and Martin Hall.

In the first chapter Bitzer and Hamann discuss the importance of innovation in order to meet the important challenges Africa faces, and the role of businesses in this.

They write that national and multilateral efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals have met with some success, but bringing in businesses could act as a dynamo propelling this continent forward.

Look inside the book:


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The Castle of Good Hope to Be Restored in an R84 Million Project

Historical Archaeology at the CapePlans have been set in motion for the renovation of the oldest building in South Africa, the Castle of Good Hope.

The Castle was built in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck and its original purpose was to supply sailors with fresh food and drink on their way to India. The cost of restoring the 350-year-old building will amount to R84 million.

To learn more about the history of the Cape, read Historical Archaeology at the Cape: The Material Culture of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) edited by Carmel Schrire.

Read the article:

Cape Town – The 350-year-old Castle of Good Hope is receiving an R84 million makeover. The Department of Public Works, instructed by the Department of Defence has commissioned the project, as specialist architects and designers renovate the Castle of Good Hope.

The castle originally served as a replenishment station for ships passing through the dangerous coast of the Cape, between the Netherlands and Dutch East Indies (Indonesia).

1652 – Original clay and timber Fort, Fort de Goede Hoop, built by Jan Van Riebeek upon his arrival in 1652.

Book details

  • Historical Archaeology at the Cape: The Material Culture of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) edited by Carmel Schrire
    EAN: 9781775822035
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

“The Struggle Around Fees has Simmered for Years” – Salma Ismail on #FeesMustFall

The Victoria Mxenge Housing ProjectSalma Ismail, an adult education scholar-activist based at the University of Cape Town and author of The Victoria Mxenge Housing Project: Women building communities through social activism and informal learning, has written an article about the recent #FeesMustFall student protests.

Ismail points out the fact that this is not a new struggle, and lauds the fact that higher education is “finally” receiving national attention.

She also highlights the links between the students’ struggles and broader issues such as outsourcing, state corruption and neoliberal politics.

“This is the right moment; now is the time!” Ismail says.

Read the article:

The struggle around fees has simmered for years. For many years, the staff in Adult Education have tried to convince management that upfront fee payments and the administration of fees were burdensome and mapped out solutions. The fee system is punitive at UCT as you get punished by fines and interest charges if fees are not paid at the beginning and midyear. When we proposed alternative structures that would take in the economic reality of many of our students, we were rejected, without any real discussion or consultation.

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