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Wordsetc Journal

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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Call for Wordsetc book reviewers

Wordsetc is looking for competent and excellent reviewers. Below is a list of books. Word count: 600 words. We don’t pay monetarily. But you get to keep the book and a get a free copy of the journal when it comes out.

If you are interested and can do this by 23 February 2012, write to with the name of the book you’d like to receive and include your name, postal address. Please note: first come, first serve.


1. Nobody Will Ever Kill Me by Mbu Maloni

2. Marginal Spaces: Reading Ivan Vladislavic edited by Gerald Gaylard

3. Missing & Murdered by Allan G. Morris

4. Stranger At Home by Ashlee Neser

5. Children of Paradise by Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane

6. Becoming Worthy Ancestors: Archive, Public Deliberation and Identity in South Africa edited by Xolela Mangcu

7. An Inconvenient Youth: Julius Malema and the “new” ANC by Fiona Forde

8. A Testament Of Hope: The Autobiography of Dr Sam Motsuenyane by Dr Sam Motsuenyane

9. Mugabe And The White African by Ben Freeth

10. Things I Thought I Knew by Kathryn White

11. Belly Of Fire by Shafinaaz Hassim

12. Eish, but is it English? by Rajend Mesthrie with Jeanne Hromnik

13. Monkey Business by Mike Nicol

14. After Just Now by Gillian Schutte

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Wordsetc Issue 9: Lewis Nkosi

Wordsetc 9: The Lewis Nkosi Edition

“He did not suffer fools gladly and hated ‘triumphalist’ and ‘nationalistic’ propagation of literature and other arts that lacked sincerity and theoretical vigour. He had an immense understanding of literature as a craft and an expression of a people’s experience.” – Sandile Ngidi, Lewis Nkosi’s local agent for his last book, Mandela’s Ego.

The ninth edition of Wordsetc is out. It leads with a heartfelt profile of Lewis Nkosi ,who died late last year. Nkosi was the last of the much-celebrated crew of Drum journalists of the 1950s. After Drum, he went on to conquer the world of academia, lecturing posts at various universities during his exile from South Africa. He is regarded as a perceptive, if sometimes pugnacious, essayist and literary critic who had no qualms speaking his mind. His most famous book is Mating Birds, an explosive novel about miscegenation that won both praise and criticism. In this warts-and-all profile Nkosi comes alive as a man with a bohemian streak and a man of letters who relished a good intellectual fight. Early in 2008 he exclusively wrote a weighty essay for Wordsetc on how he writes. We are proud and humbled to feature it for the first time in this current edition.

The edition’s other contents are equally absorbing. Mike Sager, our California-based editor at large and novelist, goes to a banquet in honour of Gay Talese, a pioneer of New Journalism. Amanda Patterson reflects on her writing career and how she started her successful writing course. Meanwhile, Kimon Neophyte assesses Tolstoy’s legacy a hundred years after his death, while Pumla Dineo Gqola delves into slave memory and how it affects South Africa today. Matthew Freemantle relives the horror of a bus ride from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg with two border jumpers. Cynthia Jele tells us how she writes her novels while Prof Kole Omotoso looks at Nigerian literature fifty years after independence. Botswana novelist Lauri Kubuitsile relates the experience of taking up an exceptional writers’ residency in Egypt. There’s also a delightful short story by Carly Brown. In our appraisal section Joe Thloloe pays tribute to Alf Kumalo, a world-renowned photographer he describes as “a poet with a camera”.


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Profile on Wordsetc at Rhodes U Online

Wordsetc making the news at Rhodes University, my alma mater:

Mr Phakama Mbonambi visited his alma mater on Wednesday, 10 November to present a seminar about his brainchild, Wordsetc, a literary journal for which he is the publishing editor.

As the fourth and final of the Spring Seminar Series at the Rhodes English Department co-hosted by the School of Journalism and Media Studies, visiting lecturer Dr Lizzy Attree said Mr Mbonambi balances his fulltime job as the sub-editor at the Sunday Times with his Flamenco publishing company which publishes Wordsetc. She also mentioned Mbonambi‘s involvement in the new Zulu edition of the Sunday Times, “which was born this weekend”.

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Call for Wordsetc book reviewers

Wordsetc is looking for competent and excellent reviewers to write 600 word reviews on a number of current books. We don’t pay – but you get to keep the book and a get a free copy of the journal when it comes out.

If you are interested and can do this within the next two weeks, write to with the name of the book you’d like to receive (choose from the list below). Include your name and postal address.

Please note, first come first served. No chancers please.

Books for review:

1. Foot Soldier For Freedom: A Life in South African liberation movement by Rica Hodgson

2. Under Protest: The Rise of Student Resistance at the University of Fort Hare by Daniel Massey

3. To Serve and Protest: The Inkathagate Scandal – As told to Laurence Piper by Brian Morrow

4. Fighting For Justice by Jay Naidoo

5. The Vintage Caper by Peter Mayle

6. The Ice On Mars by Sean Badal

7. My Friend The Mercenary by James Brabazon

8. Thank you, Judge Mostert! by Carmel Rickard

9. The Music in the Ice: On Writers, Writing and Other Things by Stephen Watson

10. Let The Dead Lie by Malla Nunn

11. The Mars on Mars by Sean Badal

12. Madame Verona Comes Down The Hill by Dimitri Verhulst

13. India: A Million Mutinies Now by V.S. Naipaul

14. A Case of Knives by Julian de Wette

15. The Mission: A Life For Freedom in South Africa

16. The Mind’s Eye by Oliver Sacks

17. Thank You Judge Mostert! by Carmel Rickard

18. Let The Dead Lie by Malla Nunn

19. The Traitor’s Wife by Kathleen Kent

20. The Seas by Samantha Hill

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A Look Inside the New Wordsetc Issue on Soccer and Literature

Visitors to the recent Jozi Book Fair had the chance to page through the new edition of Wordsetc – on soccer and literature. Here’s what they saw:

- Nick Hornby’s reflection on his falling in love with Arsenal FC.
- A personal history by Argentinian star Lionel Messi (as told to Tom Watt).
- A main profile on Danny Jordaan by Lisa Witepski.
- A fascinating account of the history of South African soccer by veteran sports journalist Joe Latakgomo.
- Academic Chris Thurman’s examination of sport versus art.
- Jessica Hilltout takes a journey through Africa taking pictures of how football is played on the continent.
- Writer and journalist Oshebeng Alphie Koonyaditse looks at vital World Cup lessons for South African local soccer administrators.
- Dr Ali Bacher’s pride in witnessing the World Cup taking place in South Africa.
- Novelist Alex Smith visits Diemersfontein Wine and Country Estate.
- Writer and literary critic Karina Magdalena Szczurek tells of her visit to China.

Wordsetc is coming to a bookshop near you soon. If you would like to subscribe mail us on It’s R259 for four editions (South African subscribers) and R397 (subscribers outside SA excl shipping costs).

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New Edition of Wordsetc for the Jozi Book Fair

The new edition of Wordsetc – on soccer and literature – is coming out tomorrow. It’s on soccer and literature. It’ll be on sale for the first time at the Jozi Book Fair in Museum Africa, Newtown, this weekend (Aug 7, 8 & 9). If you a subscriber, it’ll hit your mailbox very, very soon.

If you would like to subscribe mail us on

Thanks for your constant support.


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Call for Wordsetc reviewers

Wordsetc is looking for brilliant book reviewers for our June edition, which is soccer-themed.

Some of the books for review:

1. Africa United: How Football Explains Africa by Steve Bloomfield
2. The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna
3. The Thin Line by Arja Salafranca
4. Bury Me at the Marketplace
5. The Mistress’s Dog: Short Stories 1996 – 2010 by David Medalie
6. Nourishment by Gerard Woodward
7. Innocent by Scott Turow

Interested writers, please send a note to Phakama Mbonambi at Please indicate book you’d like to review and send your postal address.

Reviews need to be 500 words. You get to keep the book and you will receive a copy of Wordsetc when it comes out.

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Crime fiction: Seventh edition of Wordsetc hits bookshelves

Wordsetc 7 Featuring (Margie Orford)

The seventh edition of Wordsetc, South Africa’s foremost literary journal, has just reached the shelves! The publication continues to showcase the best of South African literature. This time around it focuses on crime fiction as a theme. Guest edited by author and editor Joanne Hichens the edition explores the ins and out of the genre, the motivation of crime writers to write crime fiction, and takes a look too at real-life crime in our society.

Read all about Margie Orford’s success – how she makes crime pay – with her Clare Hart series, in the main profile by Sam Beckbessinger.

There are also illuminating essays by writers such as Hichens, Jassy Mackenzie, Sarah Lotz, Richard Kunzmann, Roger Smith, Helen Moffett, Andrew Brown, Justice Malala, Emma Chen, Thembelani Ngenelwa and Megan Voysey-Braig. It’s a feast of reading for the literati or those who simply can’t get enough of South African literature.

Contents at a glance:


Personal notes: First loves: Justice Malala remembers the crime thrillers of his youth

Essay: Of heroes and villains: Jassy Mackenzie sizes up different characters in krimis

Real life: With best intentions: Andrew Brown on the humiliation of an innocent man

Feature: Oscar replies: The intrigue of Bubbles Schroeder’s murder continues by Carla Chait

Profile: The queen of crime fiction: Margie Orford lets the blood flow on her pages by Sam Beckbessinger

Essay: A little bit of ultraviolence : Richard Kunzmann finds it unavoidable, even necessary

Essay: Community matters: Novelist Joanne Hichens guards her neighbourhood

Essay: Sex and crime: The portrayal of prostitution in local crime novels by Nora Krüger

Essay: Fictional justice: Sarah Lotz, writer of Exhibit A, ruminates on the growth of the legal thriller

Real life: A letter to my killer: Writer Thembelani Ngenelwa relives the day he was shot and left dead

Real life: Crimes of passion: Poet Fungisayi Sasa ponders this ugly British stain

Perspectives: Crime and punishment: Five South Africans offer their views on the scourge of crime, as told to Phakama Mbonambi


Letters: How readers feel about us

Fiction: Burning A short story by Megan Voysey-Braig

Book reviews & etc

A look at the latest local and international reads

Appraisal: A man of our times: How Deon Meyer revived the local crime thriller

Fiction: Poppy A short story by Helen Moffett

How I write: My life of crime: Crime writer Roger Smith examines the “what ifs” in his stories


Travel: Up the River Niger: Joanne Rushby journeys to Timbuktu the hard way

Travel: A taste of Russia: Bronwyn McLennan’s enchanting visit

Food & drink: Served up the Chinese way: Emma Chen on her life, love for good food and her new book


Visit us at

Subscription is R170 for four editons.

For more information, write to:

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Call for Reviewers for the Next Wordsetc

Book ReviewerWordsetc is in need of some stellar book reviewers to take on the latest batch of books that have made their way to our door.

We’ve got a long list of titles to choose from and reviewers get to keep the book. Our deadline is the end of the month, so write to asap to claim your patch of the next Wordsetc!

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Wordsetc Issue no. 6 Featuring Imraan Coovadia is Here

Wordsetc 6

High Low In-between“Coovadia’s work hardly shies away from including troubling contemporary issues, including the inevitable twinning of race and political life in South Africa (and the myriad hues in which this link appears); the ambiguous position of Indians living outside of the Subcontinent – their ability to fit between the seams of discord, as well as irritate all sides of a given conflict; and the necessary criminal elements that help forge the bonds within such in-between societies, ensure survival for the time being, and foment plans of escape when necessary.” – M. Neelika Jayawardane

This sixth edition of Wordsetc, South Africa’s foremost literary journal, is out. Hot on the heels of a fantastic edition that looked at the iconic Nadine Gordimer, the latest edition continues to showcase the best of South African literature. It leads with novelist Imraan Coovadia, a young writer on a mission. He also teaches creative writing at the English Department at the University of Cape Town. He has just written his third book, High Low In-between. We explore what makes him tick as a writer, the themes he explores, his literary influences and even the music he listens to.

The rest of the contents are also sizzling.

Contents at a glance

The main profile is on novelist Imraan Coovadia, author of the recently published High Low In-between. We explore his work, the ambiguities that he tackles about Indians in the country.

In the Personal Notes section, activist Zachie Achmat relives the days of his imprisonment at the age of 15 for political activism (“My Father’s Touch”). He has bittersweet memories of his father. A touching read.

Over the years advertising icon Alistair King of King James Advertising has amassed a special collection of rare books. In an eloquent and humorous essay he tells why he frequents second-hand bookstores in search of that rare book (“The Collector”).

Award-winning journalist Kevin Bloom tells us about motivation behind writing Ways of Staying, a book that takes an unflinching view at the state of the South Africa. Some may describe the book as bleak, but deep down, Kevin makes a case of being a realist (“The Realist”).

Literary critic and writer Karina Magdalena Szczurek profiles seven of our top writers in South Africa. She specifically looks at how these writers hang on to their full-time jobs and still manage to write creatively (“Writers’ other lives”). A very illuminating feature.

In the Appraisal section, researcher and academic Joy Watson offers a rich narrative about the legacy of Ruth First as a writer and champion of social change (“Her words”).

For the past two years Victor Dlamini has been taking gorgeous photography of some of our remarkable artists, including writers. Across a spread of six pages, he shows readers his awesome work (“Capturing creative spirits”).

In the How I Write section, acclaimed novelist Angelina Sithebe details how the writing business happens for her.

Lindiwe Nkutha’s wonderful play called Woman In Transit is captivating in telling of a young woman from the countryside who comes to Johannesburg in the 1950s to find a city full of degradation, and her ultimate defiant stand against injustice. We publish an extract of the play.

In our new Poetry section, Seni Seneviratne, an acclaimed poet and performance artist from Britain, tells us about the central role poetry plays in her life.

In our Bookshelf Series, Absa’s marketing head Happy Ntshingila talks about the writing of his new book Black Jerusalem in which he reminisces about the heady days of crafting winning advertising pitches in his earlier life as a founding partner at Herdbouys advertising, the first black-owned advertising agency in the country.

There’s all this and more – literary travel, short story, book reviews, a restaurant review and listings pages. As with previous five editions, this issue is jam-packed. It will satisfy literature lovers and those keen to know more about the state of South African literature at the moment.

For an interview with publishing editor Phakama Mbonambi, or to excerpt any of the stories from Wordsetc, please contact him on 083 287 1955 or

See website at or Facebook group called Wordsetc – A South African Literary Journal.


Wordsetc is available at bookshops (Exclusive Books, CNA and many independent bookstores such as Boekehuis, Kalk Bay Books, Clarke’s Bookstore, Protea Books and The Book Lounge) and various alternative distribution points such as DVD Gurus, Absolutely Fabulous DVD Nouveau (Morningside), Service Station Café and Wild Olive Food Store (Greenside) and Michael Stevenson Gallery (Cape Town).

The journal retails for R49.95. Subscription is R170 for four editions. Back copies are available. Just write to

Book details

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