Hierdie is die LitNet-argief (2006–2012)
Besoek die aktiewe LitNet-platform by www.litnet.co.za

This is the LitNet archive (2006–2012)
Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za


 
Menings | Opinion > SeminaarKamer | Seminar Room > English > Mini-seminars

Mini-seminars


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South Africa on the Shelf: Independent booksellers are local literary heroes
Fiona Snyckers - 2010-06-24
It needs to be said that the dissatisfaction many South African authors feel about their placement in bookstores is limited to the large commercial retailers. We are very fortunate to have a number of highly active and passionate independent booksellers that go out of their way to promote South African literature. These bookshops have become the first choice for hosting any and all literary events, including launches, readings and panels. The staff are helpful and knowledgeable about contemporary...

South Africa on the Shelf: ''South African'' is not a genre
Eugene Ashton - 2010-06-23
Much is made of how things should be done in bookshops. Every publisher, every author, and I guess every customer, has an opinion (or should do) and expresses it gladly. As a career salesman I have opinions too. Mostly they are about wanting to sell more books of every description. When I walk into a shop I am often struck by the strange South African practice of segmenting books of national (note: not local) interests into a single canton. How odd not to shelve books in their rightful...

South Africa on the Shelf: Feeling gatvol in Foreign Books
Chris Marnewick - 2010-06-23
I open a new Moleskine and start the outline for the third novel in the series that started with Shepherds & Butchers and continued in The Soldier Who Said No. The Super14 final is on the television. “Why are you so quiet?” my wife asks. “What do you mean?” I counter. Women always want men to talk when we are quite content just to be with them. “You’re not swearing at the referee or the players,” she says. She knows me too well. I look...

South Africa on the Shelf: Who wins the turf wars on shelves and pages?
Frederik de Jager - 2010-06-23
Getting space for estimable books on the shelves of bookstores and on the pages of newspapers is a matter of more contention than what one might think, and the interests of publishers, authors, bookstores and the media may overlap less than what one might hope for. Authors and publishers, and by association booksellers, desire maximum exposure in the media, but the media yearn for maximum eyeballs. Eyeballs are the catalyst in this reaction. Where they go, there goes the money and consequently...

South Africa on the Shelf: Corporate booksellers and South African fiction
Louis Greenberg - 2010-06-23
It’s only in the past few years that I’ve got excited about South African fiction. I admit to having avoided it for most of my life. Now I’ve bought into this new phase, in which we’re writing entertaining, illuminating, unpretentious and thoroughly interesting stuff, hook, line and sunken teeth. Booksellers’ old logic that we need the remedial space of “African Fiction” to house our books, that we are a charitable duty, doesn’t hold in the face of...

Suid-Afrika op die rak: Oor die aandag aan die Afrikaanse boek
Louis Esterhuizen - 2010-06-23
Die opdrag is tweeledig: enersyds vra dit na die aandag wat die Afrikaanse boek in die plaaslike media kry en andersyds na die kwaliteit en omvang van die rakspasie wat in die plaaslike boekwinkels daaraan afgestaan word. Synde boekhandelaar begin ek met die tweede komponent, en hier kan ek nie anders as om entoesiasties te reageer nie, aangesien die opset die afgelope jare drasties verbeter het. Na die beste van my wete het al die vernaamste boekwinkels in die Wes-Kaap hul Afrikaanse...

Suid-Afrika op die rak: ’n Paar kinkels
Kerneels Breytenbach - 2010-06-23
Tot voor die koms van Nielssen-BookScan so drie en ’n bietjie jaar gelede was statistiek oor die Suid-Afrikaanse boekbedryf baie kosbaar. Enige inligting wat beskikbaar was oor verkope en omsette is gebruik om ’n geheelbeeld te vorm. Maar selfs dié was nooit volkome betroubaar nie. Uitgewers kon hul skattings oor hul markaandeel aanbied slegs met die voorbehoud dat dit ’n geskatte syfer is. Deesdae, danksy Nielssen-BookScan, is ’n juister blik op wat in die boekemark...

South Africa on the Shelf: Authors, publishers and social media
Mike Rands - 2010-06-23
In his TED lecture, Clay Shirky describes the birth of social media as a revolution comparable to the invention of the printing press. This is the beginning of a “prosumer” age, where in media terms, the technology that enables consumption is the same that enables production and distribution. As the world becomes increasingly accustomed to this new model of consumption, novelists must adapt to it. And many are doing so. There are numerous writers who use twitter, facebook and blogging...

South Africa on the Shelf: Shifts take time
Frankie Murrey - 2010-06-18
I must say that I share Colleen’s dream, where bookshops are dominated by local rather than international work. As she mentioned, there has been a shift, but as with most shifts, it is slow. That being said, there were three local titles in Wordsworth Books’s top 10 in May, and that has nothing to do with the Franschhoek Literary Festival. People definitely want to read local. What that means is that the entire range of reading interest has to be catered for by local authors. There are...

South Africa on the Shelf: Our writers deserve first-class treatment
Janet van Eeden - 2010-06-18
When I first started reviewing books I was given the occasional South African novel to review because no one else wanted to read it. That was more than ten years ago and the novels were mostly “worthy” takes on the “new” South Africa written by guilt-drenched writers. Slowly a change took place. As the years passed the novels became less obsessed with the damages of the past. Ordinary issues became matters of primary importance. Our political history formed only a backdrop...

South Africa on the Shelf: Local books are proudly South African
Helen Moffett - 2010-06-18
Imagine walking into a bookshop and seeing books by Salman Rushdie, Agatha Christie, AS Byatt, Jeffrey Archer, Jane Austen and Cathy Kelly standing side by side on a shelf – crime, chick lit, Booker Prize-winning novels and classics all thrown together under a label "British fiction". It might make an entertaining collection in someone’s home, but in a bookshop the combination would be laughable. Why, then, is this what I see every time I enter a local chain bookstore – but under...

South Africa on the Shelf: Relegated to the ghetto
Jassy Mackenzie - 2010-06-14
There are a few fantastic bookshops in this country that give shelf space at the front of the shop to South African authors, and display their books proudly among the international works. To all those bookshops – thank you. I cannot tell you how much we all appreciate your efforts. However, all too often, South African fiction is relegated to the "ghetto" – the African Fiction section. Many buyers don’t even know that this exists, or where to find it. It is beyond frustrating to...

South Africa on the Shelf: South African writing – a matter of perspective
Ingrid Andersen - 2010-06-14
The first time it happened to me was with a song. It was one of those songs that reaches in and possesses you – I kept hearing it in my head. I had no idea whose it was – I knew only the words of the chorus, so I googled them. My jaw hit the desk. It was South African. It outshone everything else on the playlist: it was catchy, clever and very memorable. When I went to the music store, I found it, not in the South African music section, but in the Dance section. Since then, that has...

South Africa on the Shelf: Accepting local literature
Fiona Snyckers - 2010-06-14
I think most writers would gladly acknowledge that our local media are immensely and endlessly supportive of South African writing. I can only speak from my own experience, but I think it reflects that of many local authors. Our TV talk shows make a point of iniviting South African authors on to the set for interviews, as do our radio shows, to an even greater extent. South African newspapers and magazines give priority reviewing space to local books. As a female author I have also been profiled...

South Africa on the Shelf: We have to take risks
Colleen Higgs - 2010-06-14
What I dream of as a small South African publisher is the day when I walk into any bookstore in the country and the way books are displayed shows that the staff and the store managers value our own home-grown authors and books. There is such vitality and brilliance at present in South African books. I look forward to the day when our local magazines and newspapers review and showcase almost completely South African or African writers in their books pages and features pages. There has been a shift...

South Africa on the Shelf: More active in-store promotion
Richard de Nooy - 2010-06-14
When my first novel won the UJ Prize for Best First Book in 2008, I thought sales would rocket. Because that’s what happens in Holland when books are shortlisted or win awards. Silly me. I soon discovered, via online discussions with fellow writers and publishers, that Exclusive Books and other bookselling chains do little to promote award-winning titles or South African books that have been in the news or recently reviewed. During those discussions I suggested that booksellers might create...

Which side of the human rights battle we are on?
Christina Engela - 2010-06-10
When I think about political correctness, I tend to think in the context of being a transsexual woman and facing the potential hate speech and discrimination out there which on occasion makes headlines in South Africa and internationally. I often hear of many examples in real life which, due to people’s fears of further repercussions, are never reported or taken further. What is political correctness? Well, in the context of my particular social group it is considered rude and offensive if...

Ppolitically correct
Christina Engela - 2010-06-10
When I think about political correctness, I tend to think in the context of being a transsexual woman and facing the potential hate speech and discrimination out there which on occasion makes headlines in South Africa and internationally. I often hear of many examples in real life which, due to people’s fears of further repercussions, are never reported or taken further. What is political correctness? Well, in the context of my particular social group it is considered rude and offensive if...

Political correctness: Bullard, Maas, Qwelane and the origins
Cobus Fourie - 2010-05-27
There are quite a few misconceptions about political correctness. Some have the preconception that it stifles public debate. Some say it infringes on their right to freedom of speech. One-word response: fallacy. Political correctness doesn’t stifle debate, just as much as the criminalisation of homicide doesn’t promote debate by preventing you from literally silencing your opponent. Political correctness has its roots in the rejection of Imperialism/Colonialism and the Patriarchy....

Missing the next level: Zef and Die Antwoord
Carlo Germeshuys - 2010-05-25
It is difficult to write anything meaningful about the zef-rap phenomenon now, when it has ceased to be interesting. This is a pity, since Die Antwoord and Jack Parow are the first remotely relevant white South African pop acts in over twenty years. For a while, it seemed as if these two acts possessed the one element most lacking in pop music: the potential to be subversive. Unfortunately (and leaving Jack Parow aside for the present), Die Antwoord have reached what will no doubt be the peak of...

The red herring of race: Bok en die Swart Gevaar
Adam Haupt - 2010-04-29
LitNet asked a couple of experts to respond to the controversial music video of Bok van Blerk’s “Tyd om te trek?”. Bok van Blerk’s recent music videos, “Tyd om te trek?” and “Die Kaplyn”, offer us more of the same of that winning formula that made “De La Rey” such a big hit. Bok is fast becoming one of the kings of catchy choruses and dramatic music videos with very high production values. In “Tyd om te trek?”, music fans...

Eugene Terre'Blanche: Reconciliation is our beloved country's only hope
Jameson Maluleke - 2010-04-21
The tragic death of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) leader Eugène Terre’Blanche and ANC Youth League President Julius Malema’s racial overtones have forcibly brought us to our dim senses – that the fuse of South Africa’s age-old racial problem has been reignited. For many years now we have been brooding on a racial time bomb which we vehemently refuse to acknowledge, hoping that one day we will wake up to find it defused. The upheaval of the past weeks has proved...

Eugene Terre’Blanche: The meaning of Eugene Terre’Blanche’s death
FM Lucky Mathebula - 2010-04-08
The "death", "murder" or "killing" of Eugene Terre'Blanche will continue to court controversy, scorn and political grandstanding for the foreseeable future. The central role this incident will be playing in the emerging race-charged political discourse, with its famous epicentre being Julius Malema, cannot be underestimated, irrespective of what the political pundits want us to believe. It is in the accompanying silences (especially those of class, race and...

Polygamy: an outdated practice
Chris Mokolatsie - 2010-01-18
“The practice of polygamy is an outdated practice that degrades women and is a danger to public health efforts to reduce the spread of HIV.” The lack of serious public scrutiny and the public spectacle made of so-called polygamous marriages every time one take place show just how much sexism is entrenched in our society. The huge media focus on the glamour and on “what a daring man so and so is" often blinds us and diverts our attention from seeing how oppressive and...

Biblical perspective on marriage
Theunis Botha - 2010-01-13
Before addressing any moral issues one first has to determine what morality is. The Oxford dictionary defines the relevant concepts as follows: Moral – concerned with principles of right and wrong behaviour Ethics – A system of moral principles or rules of behaviour. The question is, who establishes the systems and who determines the rules? In secular-humanist societies, as in South Africa and elsewhere, morality, according to the socialists, should be determined by politicians,...

Polygamy, Christianity and hypocrisy
Christina Engela - 2010-01-13
I find it quite odd that many indigenous peoples in Africa - and particularly South Africa – still cling to cultural manifestations of things which clash fundamentally with their adopted Christianity. Of these, the most striking two are ancestor worship and polygamy. It's even more surprising to note that most of these folks don't even see that they clash in any way. After all, ancestor worship is about as far removed from Christianity as you can get, as is polygamy. Yes, it...

In the name of the other – poetry in self-translation
Antjie Krog - 2010-01-11
This lecture was given at the Literarischen Colloquium (2008) in Berlyn: “Wie es ist, sich selbst zu übersetzen”. Other sessions included discussions about the self-translations of Hannah Arendt, Vladimir Nabokov and Samuel Beckett. Nabokov, for example, wrote an English version of a Russian experience, and then translated it back into Russian. The concept of the colloquium was formulated by Marie Luise Knott. My English text was translated during this lecture.Hierdie bydrae...

‘‘Its survival is my survival’’: Imke van Heerden in conversation with Xitsonga-translator Jameson Maluleke
Jameson Maluleke - 2009-12-09
Jameson, you are a translator by profession. What is it about the act of translation that you find appealing? For me, translation is both a profession and a passion. Creativity in translation is like Kentucky Fried Chicken: a source of finger lickin’ goodness! Above all, translation overwhelms me with pride in that it transforms me into a link in a chain, a kind of bridge which allows for a free flow of new ideas and literary wealth between languages. Where did you receive your training?...

Translating cultural voids: conversing cultures
Russell H Kaschula - 2009-12-08
Denise Godwin (1991:109) correctly points out that Translation has a valid role to play in giving access to the literatures of languages and cultures other than one’s own, and for a continent as polysemic as Africa, it is indispensable. But literature carries with it identity and consciousness. The real challenge is to accurately convey a message from one language or literature into another. It would seem that to a large extent South Africans have been involved in what could be termed “functional...

“Taken apart”: Imke van Heerden in conversation with Elsa Silke on literary translation
Imke van Heerden - 2009-12-02
Elsa, you’re a professional translator. Do you have a specialty? My specialty is literary translation – in a very broad sense. I translate from Afrikaans into English and vice versa. However, I find myself translating chiefly into English, simply because there is more work available. I think publishers argue that Afrikaans readers are generally capable of reading English, while the opposite is not necessarily true. Are you translating a specific text at present? If so, tell us...

Literary translation: work for hire or contract work?
Michiel Heyns - 2009-11-26
The translator traditionally, in this country at least, has been the near-invisible, near-anonymous worker-behind-the-scenes. Often informally approached by the author, and usually indeed paid by the author, the translator has been expected to deliver the goods and then disappear. The British publishers of my translation of Marlene van Niekerk’s Agaat, for instance, were clearly not interested in any thoughts I might have about the translation and their tampering with it; as far as they were...

Once more, with feeling: The practice of literary translation
Leon de Kock - 2009-11-24
This is an edited version of a guest-of-honour speech delivered at the South African Translators’ Institute awards event, University of Johannesburg, October 2009. As a prelude to writing this essay I translated the last poem in a cycle of lyrical verse which I adapted into English for the Pretoria poet Cas Vos. The poem cycle is based on the Abelard and Heloise saga, a story of doomed but undimmed love, love in an eternal present tense, love always hauntingly alive in the memory of its loss....

Death penalty revisited
Jody Kollapen - 2008-06-20
Crafting effective societal responses to serious crime and violence continues to pose significant legal, moral, philosophical challenges to most democracies, ours included. Balancing the need to identify and respond to the underlying causes and the pathology of serious and violent crime, while at the same time constructing a criminal justice system that can engender public confidence in its ability to respond effectively to the phenomenon of serious crime has remained high on the public agenda in...

Body parts as a means of communication among amaXhosa
Sizwe Satyo - 2008-05-06
Body parts as a means of communication are not a preserve of the imbongi (praise poet), as some people would think, because of its spontaneity and dramatisation. In his performance, he or she exploits them to complement what are referred to as audio-oral texts in some analyses of modes of crafting different types of texts, like poetry, izibongo (praise poetry), etc. Body parts, as a mode of communication, preserve and pluralise cultural values of a community. AmaXhosa do this by exploiting...

The Body Public
Leon de Kock - 2008-04-24
The way I see things – and my intuition has been instructed in this regard by the Chilean biologist and ethical philosopher Humberto Maturana – the very matter of living is as an act of "languaging". In this view, the practice of everyday life is an expressive performance in which one’s entire body, in all its complexity, its positional and responsive relation to its perceived world, takes on a communicative dance, a fluid signature of biocentric response involving...

WOENSDAG, 25/04/07, EERSTE UITGAWE
Melt Myburgh - 2007-04-25
Vanoggend het ek besluit om die sambok in te lê. Ja-nee, so kan dit nie aangaan nie! My Sta-Soft is al op en dis nog nie eens die einde van die maand nie.Hier is hopeloos te veel van ‘n slegsêery en ‘n moddergooiery op SêNet. Om nie eens te praat nie van die rassistiese en seksistiese ondertone wat elke derde skrywe ten grondslag lê. A nee, a!Kan ons nie ‘n bietjie probeer om sinvol te debatteer nie? Kyk bv vandag na Fransie se briewe (in hierdie en die tweede...

NALN is not only a national resource
Peter D McDonald - 2007-04-19
I am very grateful to Rudi Venter for alerting me to this discussion about the future of NALN. As I understand it, the current situation raises a number of large and difficult questions about the institutional location of the archive, the funding arrangements that sustain it, its status as a "national" resource, and its significance in relation to the constitutional guarantees regarding South Africa’s many languages. As I am not familiar enough with the state of the debate...

''De la Rey - no cause for alarm'' says Sandra Swart
Sandra Swart; Albert Grundling - 2007-02-20
City Press asked Dr Sandra Swart and Prof Albert Grundling the following question: "Should there be a cause for alarm by these kind of developments, ie could this kind of music prove to be the catalyst for the revitalisation of the far right that still reminisces about their perceived loss of power or longing for the good old days or is just an innocent song with a catchy tune?" This answer was received from Dr Swart after her discussions with Prof Grundling: "There...

Is Afrikaans music the biggest ''rassedeurbraakmedium''?
Adam Haupt - 2006-12-05
I presented this brief paper at the Jakes Gerwel Gesprekkereeks (Die Suidoosterfees) earlier this year. The question that all participants were meant to answer read thus: Is Suid-Afrikaanse musiek, spesifiek Afrikaanse musiek, wel die grootste rassedeurbraakmedium? This is pretty much what I had to say (and I think my response speaks to some of the issues raised by David Kramer in this discussion). South African music is a significant means through which racial boundaries have been transgressed,...

Women are writing and their words are resonating
Jane Ranger - 2006-11-08
I’d like to put forward a few thoughts on women writers and writing, and publishing in general in South Africa. As an avid reader of fiction, and more importantly, in my editorial capacity at Penguin South Africa of signing writers of fiction to our South African list, I find myself in an exciting position. True - a lot of the fiction (and non-fiction) being published currently in South Africa is written by white women, but it’s the quality of the writing and the freshness of the...

The death of PW Botha
Mike Nicol - 2006-11-03
One of my favourite opening scenes in the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez has vultures pecking at the screens on the windows of the presidential palace and breaking in to release "the warm soft breeze of a great man dead and rotting grandeur". Thus starts The Autumn of the Patriarch, and in so many ways the death of PW Botha brought that image to mind. At last the "stagnant time" and the "lethargy of centuries" had ended as, with his death, an era ended. Of course the...

He was the strongman
Ingrid Wolfaardt - 2006-11-02
I didn’t know the man. Not the way a friend does. I cannot tell you much about his likes and dislikes – what he ate for breakfast or his favourite song or whether his children remember him with affection. I didn’t know this man called PW Botha, but I know that he was part of my life, shaped it in ways he would not have known because he never knew me. When I went off to Maties as a 17-year-old girl he went off to the Prime Minster’s office as a middle-aged man. I remember...

Book reviewing: A personal account
Michelle McGrane - 2006-10-25
Nine o'clock on Saturday morning; I'm sitting at my desk. Through the window, the boughs of the lemon tree below, heavy with bright gnarled fruit, stir in the breeze. Pale avocado blossoms scatter to the grass. Dark flecks of ash float and dive on air currents. Something is burning. Firebreaks, perhaps. I feel rising excitement. A match strikes, flares. Lit up: this is how I feel when I'm reviewing a book. The quickening begins when I receive, from the bored man with the gravy-stained shirt behind...

The agent's view
Isobel Dixon - 2006-10-25
As is so often the case with the newspaper reports about literature, Celean Jacobson's article totally oversimplifies the matter and in some cases simply misses the mark. For one thing, she mentions only white English women writers in South Africa, as though the whole lively Afrikaans publishing scene did not exist – despite the fact that acclaimed and best-selling authors like Marlene van Niekerk, Marita van der Vyver and Ingrid Winterbach are translated into English as well – and she...

Women’s writing
Janet van Eeden - 2006-10-18
I have so many responses to the questions which were posed by Rosemund J Handler at the Cape Town Book Fair in response to the article by Celean Jacobson that I have found it very difficult to know where to start expressing them. I am especially aware of trying not to rant! My work as a playwright, journalist and screenwriter over the past ten years has always been at the mercy of male producers, male reviewers, male editors, and only occasionally female critics, editors, producers and self-styled...

He wants me to say
Stacy Hardy - 2006-10-18
I follow his eyes. I nod my head. I smile. I raise my hand toward my chin. A series of small gestures repeated over the hour. His next question follows on from his last question. He says, “Why do you always write about sex?” I know what he wants me to say. I can see what he’s gunning for – his intent. The way he lays down his sentences, accentuates certain words. The interview is for a piece he’s doing on women’s literature in the new South Africa. A post-apartheid...

The state of South African writing
Kelwyn Sole - 2006-10-10
Handler’s and Jacobson’s pieces are timely. However, while I find myself agreeing here and there with points made by both of them, the questions they raise bear on more fundamental issues which, while underlying both pieces, come into view too briefly. I would like, therefore, to point towards some of these and highlight the manner in which they affect the corpus and direction of South African literature at present. A great deal in Jacobson’s structural analysis of the shape...

Van Riebeeck’s Hedge
Ken Barris - 2006-10-10
What strikes me about the parts of this seminar I’ve read so far is that although certain of the contributions are impressively cogent, relevant and insightful, little has been said that is entirely new. I don’t mean to be dismissive, because the questions that have been raised are important and should be discussed. However, there remains much rehearsal of old positions (about marginalised communities in relation to writing, about the old war between aesthetic freedom and politically...

A writing culture of our own
Gabeba Baderoon - 2006-10-10
Reading the entries of this debate, I feel a greedy pleasure. I have been waiting a long time to have as interesting a discussion as this about the character of our literary culture. On the other hand, we can short-circuit such necessary conversations with defensiveness and knee-jerk reactions. “Who the fuck is Celean Jacobson when she’s at home?” That was the heading of an email that was forwarded to me recently, but with the fuck replaced with those exclamation marks and asterisks...

Simo Kikamba on women writers and the real issues
Simão Kikamba - 2006-10-10
How seriously are women writers taken in this country? You don’t catch a snake by its tail … This question does not address the real issue. It may make for excellent women-empowering, gender-equality rhetoric, but it does not strike me as a constructive way to tackle the real debate that we writers face in this country, such as how to deal with the walloping decline in book reading that could turn us, writers, into some endangered species. If no one reads our books, if book sales continue...


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