A Childhood Made Up – Living with my mother’s madness

by Brent Meersman, Tafelberg, 2020

From now on I would also hate psychiatrists. They were public enemy number one. Then my mother told me about public enemy number two – nurses. She referred to them as ‘white uniforms’. There was one good white uniform who taught her to smoke. The nurse said cigarettes calmed her nerves while she was at work in that horrible place, and if smoking worked for nurses, it would work for Shirley too. There were a few other white uniforms who showed her a bit of genuine affection, but the rest, she said, ‘treated us as if we were not even human beings’. Her eyes narrowed. ‘Have you ever seen the eyes of someone looking at you as if you are a monkey or a dog in a cage?’ I shook my head. ‘When they spoke to you, they looked right through you or they looked over your head. They didn’t refer to us by name. They were so imperial, like Japanese prison camp guards. I know nurses don’t take the Hippocratic oath, but they must have heard of it!’ She said she and the other inmates were herded around the way she used to herd cattle on the farm in Vryburg. ‘We were herded into a hall for meals and then herded out. We were herded into a concrete courtyard during daytime. We were herded back inside again for lunch. Later, we were herded upstairs to bed. We were herded downstairs for breakfast. They prodded and shoved us like cattle.

Oorlog en vrede, ʼn loflied aan die lewe

deur Audrey Blignault, uit Die eindelose avontuur, ʼn Venster op die wêreldletterkunde, Tafelberg, 1993

Ten spyte van sy morele oortuigings, twyfel Tolstoi nooit aan sy doel as skeppende kunstenaar nie. Aan ʼn vriend skryf hy: “Dit is nie my doel om ʼn vraag onweerlegbaar op te los nie, maar eerder om by mense ʼn liefde vir die lewe in al sy onuitputlike openbaringe te wek. As iemand vir my sou sê dat ek ʼn roman sou skryf waarin ek my standpunt oor elke maatskaplike vraagstuk sou stel, sou ek nie twee uur op ʼn dag aan so ʼn werk wy nie; maar as iemand vir my sou sê dat wat ek geskryf het, twintig jaar nadese nog gelees sal word deur lesers wat vandag nog kinders is en dat hulle daaroor sal huil en lag en meegevoer word deur die waaragtige lewe daarin, dan sal ek al my vermoëns, ja, my hele bestaan daaraan wy.”

The ANC Spy Bible

by Moe Shaik, Tafelberg, 2020

For Zuma, his removal from intelligence was a matter that incensed him. He told me that this was a plot by foreign intelligence services. The detail of how he knew this or believed this he kept to himself and I didn’t push him. By then our paths were separating, although I continued to pop in to visit him in his downtown Durban flat from time to time.

Maverick African: The shaping of the Afrikaners

by H. Giliomee, Tafelberg, 2020

The status of women under Roman-Dutch law should not be exaggerated, as is revealed by the indignant remark made by Petronella van Heerden, perhaps the first Afrikaner feminist, who came of age just after the South African War. She wrote: ‘[A woman] is classified among children and idiots, when she marries she becomes a minor; she has no control over her things and children, and she could do nothing without the permission of her husband.’ While hyperbolic, this is not devoid of some truth. A woman who married within community of property in most respects acquired the status of a minor and was subject to the authority of her husband. A father had the final say over the children. There were indeed few legal limits on a husband in the disposal of common assets or the discharging of debts out of the common assets during the existence of the marriage.

Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and How Christian Conservatives Supported Him

by Stephen Mansfield, BakerBooks 2017

In the 2016 presidential race, millions of Americans came to believe that Donald Trump, just like Cyrus the Great, was a vile idolatrous man chosen by God. Intriguingly, this idea took root among a people who for eight years had decried Barack Obama as a man with no genuine faith in a genuine God. Yet the idea appealed because of what it allowed the faithful to believe about Donald Trump. If he was indeed chosen, if he was indeed a modern Cyrus the Great, then it did not matter that he had celebrated his sexual conquests openly on cable TV, that his language was vile, that his treatment of women was sometimes obscene, or that he often spoke in racially offensive terms. God could call him. God could make him righteous. God could anoint him and empower him to restore the true and the pure to the people of God. He had done it with Cyrus many years ago. Perhaps now, in these dire times, God might choose to do it again.

Twee kinders later

deur Charmé Kriel, Lux Verbi, 2019

Toe Lisa drie maande te vroeg gebore is, het baie mense gevoel dit was die ergste ding ooit. Baie het gedink hulle sou dit nooit kon hanteer nie. Ander het gesê dit was nie traumaties nie, want sy leef en dis oukei. Ook omdat sy geen operasie of ernstige probleme gehad het nie. Een ding is seker, dit was traumaties, al was dit anders as om iemand aan die dood af te staan. Ek moes elke dag vir twee maande lank voorbereid wees dat my piepklein babatjie dalk kon doodgaan. Ek moes besluit of ek met haar wou bond of nie. Raak ek lief vir haar, is dit erger wanneer sy sterf. Bond ek nie met haar nie, is ek nie ʼn regte ma vir haar nie.

The ANC Spy Bible

by Moe Shaik, Tafelberg, 2020

I stood at the window of my apartment looking down on the dark streets. It was June 1985, some months into Durban’s temperate winter. I stared at the far end of the street waiting to see them approach. Earlier I had agreed with Yunis and Ebrahim to be the decoy.

Children of the Revolution, The Young Faces of Hong Kong’s Uprising

by Laignee Barron, Time, February 3, 2020

When marchers first took to the streets in June, they had one goal: the withdrawal of a proposed bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. The legislation was eventually scrapped, but the demands broadened amid growing fears that Beijing is eroding the unique freedoms – of press, assembly, speech – that differentiate this cosmopolitan hub of 7,5 million from the rest of China. The endgame remains murky, with no consensus among protesters over whether to ultimately seek independence, universal suffrage or some other semblance of greater autonomy. For now, they have rallied around a common enemy.

Maverick African: The shaping of the Afrikaners

by H. Giliomee, Tafelberg, 2020

Segregation and apartheid were indefensible, and many mistakes were made. But it was not nugatory. A great deal was achieved. The country was steered through a world depression and a world war. By 1994 the country was the most developed in Africa, had the largest manufacturing sector, its own autonomous banks, the best infrastructure in Africa, the lowest electricity prices and a better-housed urban population (of all races) than in any other African country. The ANC inherited the richest and best-run state in Africa, and they did not have to fight a war to do so.