General

09
December
2016

Frontiers:

The Epic of South Africa’s Creation and the Tragedy of the Xhosa People

Frontiers:

Author; Noel Mostert

Reviewed by; Kin Bentley, December 2016

For far too long the Zulus have been held up as the great warrior nation among South Africa’s indigenous tribes.

This is largely due to the scale of Shaka’s vision in uniting disparate tribes under his despotic rule exactly 200 years ago and his subsequent use of his military power to crush all those whose path he crossed during the mfecane.

The Zulus’ reputation as the great warrior race is also largely a product of the great battles they fought against the British in the second half of the 19th century in which numerous Victoria Crosses were awarded (23 in the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War alone).

But as this book makes abundantly clear, those relatively brief battles between Zulu and Brit pale in comparison with the 100 years of struggle, including nine designated wars, between the British forces (supported by conscripted Boer and British colonists, Khoikhoi and Mfengu) and the Xhosa tribes on the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony.

11
September
2016

Novels or Non-Fiction?

Novels or Non-Fiction?

Is it is just me, or do other people also find that all too often a novel, however well written, leaves one feeling rather flat upon its completion?

Robert Galbraith is the adult-author pseudonym for Harry Potter creator JK Rowling. I recently read Career of Evil, one of her crime thrillers featuring private detective Cormoran Strike. While I enjoyed her writing style, and the British settings, I found at the end of the book that I probably could have gone through life quite happily without having spent that many hours reading about fictitious criminals.

03
September
2016

Books

Why go Digital?

Books

I could write a book about trying, in vain, to get my books published.

According to a recent online report on BusinessTech, “local authors are lucky if they sell more than 1 000 copies of a novel”.

This, it says, is according to an analysis done by the Good Book Appreciation Society, a “secret” book club on Facebook with almost 6 000 members.

29
September
2016

What's behind the Varsity Riots?

What's behind the Varsity Riots?

So the #FeesMustFall campaign of destruction has chalked up R600-million worth of damage since it was launched in October last year, and that figure could reach R1-billion before this tragedy ends.

Riot leaders have been reported as saying they plan to make the country ungovernable if the government doesn’t meet their demands for free tertiary education.

As I write, several universities are in lock-down, just as vital tests are due to be written.

It’s a shambles. And it’s a shambles of the ANC’s own making.

08
September
2016

Watching the Press

7 September 2016

One day in the long life of a city newspaper can tell a lot more than the stories presented suggest.

Today’s edition of The Herald – which was first established in Port Elizabeth in 1845, just 25 years after the 1820 British Settlers arrived – is a case in point.

And for me what is most striking are two glaring omissions in the lead story, about a Johannesburg company that picked up a massive tender from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (“Media firm’s uncapped city tender”, 7 September 2016).

30
August
2016

You’re never too old …

... or are you?

You’re never too old …

So skateboarding will be an Olympic sport for the first time in Tokyo in 2020.

During my late teens and early 20s, my brother Don and I were among the pioneers of skateboarding in the mid- to late-1970s.

We first encountered a skateboard when a friend, Trish Malcomess, daughter of the Progressive Federal Party MP John, brought around a really short board that her dad had got for her while on a trip to the US.