We don’t know about you, but the first thing we turn to in the Sunday Times is the Zapiro cartoon to see who’s been well and truly zapped this week. Now we can enjoy his 21st annual, Dead President Walking. Yay! Zapiro takes no prisoners. Obviously, his main target is Jacob Zuma, but the Guptas, Donald Trump, student unrest and various other people and events feature as well – and every page is bang on target! Our faves? The Gupta Buy the Beloved Country cartoon; the nuclear warhead one featuring Kim Jon-un and Donald Trump and Zuma doing a King Kong act along with loads of others. Jacana, R165.
It’s hard to imagine life in South Africa without the cartoon comments in Madam & Eve by Stephen Francis and Rico. In fact, the Anderson family and their domestic sidekick, Eve, have been around for 23 years and Take Us to Your Leader is the latest chuckle-worthy annual. Here’s a taste or two … Madam & Eve’s Dr Seuss books for SA feature The Fat Cat in the Hat and Horton Hears a Juju, and the SA Olympic Events include synchronised smash and grab, as well as electric fence pole vault. See what we mean? Jacana, 160.
For a penetrating, yet entertaining take on the often crazy country that is South Africa, Bongani Madondo’s Sigh The Beloved Country is very personal and very different. Sometimes funny, occasionally explosive and irascible, it covers a huge range of subjects from race (and all its ‘isms’) to the idea of God and black magic, showcasing essays, memoirs, travelogues, political epistles and excursions into fantasy and fiction. He is the critic of a country in conversation with its people – the so-called ordinary folk, the wealthy and beautiful, the deranged and truly brilliant – the People of the South. Picador Africa, R306.
In 1820, 4000 men, women and children from Britain arrived in Algoa Bay to start a new life in what was then, frontier country in the Eastern Cape. They had endured an appalling three to four month voyage in miserable conditions – so miserable that a number of them died and were buried at sea. One of those who survived the voyage was 18-year-old Jeremiah Goldswain who, in the 1850s, wrote his recollections of his time as an 1820 Settler. It is his narrative as well as letters, journals and diaries of other Settlers which tell the story in Roughing It – 1820 Settlers in their own words. The book, which covers the Settlers’ dramatic first three years in and around Grahamstown, was researched and written by Ralph Goldswain, Jeremiah’s descendant – and what fascinating reading it makes. Anyone interested in the early days of this country will find it a truly engaging story. Tafelberg, R285.
Get it JHB West – April 2017