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Issue 26 ~ June, 2020

Dearest Karoosters

Can’t really say that a lot has changed since the last missive; we are still pretty much under the edict of some nebulous committee which reports to no one but the president and even then we are all still in the dark, because he has chosen to leave us out of the loop as a stupid bunch of idiots who cannot fathom an iota of science, medicine or common sense.

Whilst the daily rise in infections is alarming, and the death rate by world standards low, the real effect of this darned Corona virus is what it has done to the economic fabric of the country, the effects of which will last for a very long time.

That the country must get back to work is a no brainier. We just have to do it, with the knowledge that we have a virus that is out to get us and even kill some of us. Masks and personal distancing and the avoidance of human congestion are going to have to be part of our lives in the foreseeable future. Crowded smoke filled pubs and restaurants are going to become a thing we can look forward to in the years to come, but not this weekend.

As far as BookBedonnerd XIII is concerned we are G to go at this stage although we are fully prepared to have to spread things out a bit, using more venues with smaller crowds…something we have always consciously tried to avoid in order to maintain the small,  crowded and more intimate feel we have nurtured in the old library and in the dining room of the Supper Klub.

Since Cyril Ramaphosa’s election in the last general election, we have seen a very benign criticism of him and his ANC government. Its been sort of a honeymoon period in which most commentators (excluding the EFF and its puerile and idiotic outbreaks and complete disregard for the better well-being of South Africa) have given the man and the party the benefit of the doubt. Even in the early days of Covid-19 and the subsequent lock down, el Presidente has been allowed a wide berth. Over 7 weeks later, the honeymoon has come to an end, the benevolence evaporated, and we South Africans can see clearly that we have been horribly governed and dictated to by a coterie of, in the main, faceless bureau/autocrats.

We love controversy and argument. We like those who stand up and make themselves heard on matters which vitally concern us all.

Darryl David and Ashwin Desai have submitted some wonderful articles which you should take a few minutes to read and think about.

Covid-19 and the Power of Gentleness

 

Ashwin Desai


Every morning, I scan the news for how governments are dealing with Covid-19 and their policies to govern social behaviour. This, after all is the heartbeat of sociology; the changing nature of what it is to be human.

My mind-roving eye (it’s genetic) snaps on a snippet from British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab; you can meet your parents in the park he tells the public. In a gentle rebuff, another government mouth warns: ‘they can see both parents, but not at the same time-they would have to see them individually’.

See parents together and separately. It’s Monty Pythonesque .

I recall the final time my parents and I went on an outing. Together. I decided on a longish drive to the Wild Coast Casino. March 1999.

I packed a flask. Cheese and tomato sandwiches. It was like young times. We finally arrive, crossing a steel bridge, pay-up, then park the car. Across a wooden bridge. My father seems to perk up, as if crossing a drawbridge to take on the infidels. The Parkinson’s ravaging his body for once stands still and he matches my stride. Down the lift and into the arena, ready for combat. Hundreds of people. Lights dimmed. The last time my mother gambled was when she paid my first year university fees. She sits in front, pressing the button. I feed it from behind. Trance-like. I so much want her to win. This colossus, who walked kilometres to save a few cents of bus-fare, who waited with shoes falling apart for the Scotts 30% sale. Unbeknownst, she spins away tens of rands. Up and down the win meter goes like a see-saw. I begin to despair but keep a caked smile to urge her on. Then, drawing on the very same skellum ways she taught me, I chanced on a scheme while she went to the toilet. I slipped in R200. After more spins, the win meter read R105; a loss of R95. I ran around whooping and screaming that she had won. She counted her winnings over and over again. The joy; ‘you see Ashy boy, the holy water from Lourdes worked’.

I looked around for my dad. He had disappeared. Hypnotised by the machine, we had forgotten. I found him hanging slightly back from the roulette table. People were elbowing and pushing to throw hundreds of rands on a spin. It was like a scene outside Liberty Liquors just before lockdown.

My father. Stranded. Scared. This man, headmaster of a school commanding over a thousand pupils. He had gone in his pants. I picked him up. Skin and bones. Cleaned him up in the toilet. He kept repeating: ‘Sorry Ash, sorry Ash.’  

I keep thinking about this gentle man in these times of fear and kragdadigheid. As Lechner reminds us: ‘Authoritarianism responds to fears by appropriating them….when society interiorises the reflected fear that power gives back to it, brainwashing is no longer necessary…the fear is enough. This is to demonise the perceived dangers in such a way that they are ungraspable.’

Everywhere now, we have begun to act like micro-fascists. Taking our cue from the forces of arbitrary law and disorder.

In all this, is there a place for gentleness? Anne Dufourmantelle, in her wonderful ‘The Power of Gentleness’ tells us, it is often this quality which holds us together. We do not acknowledge it because it ‘vanishes into the texture of things.’

For a long time, I took my father’s gentleness to be cowardice. More than once, I shouted him into a corner. Tears would well and I took this as victory. But there is defeat in every victory. It is the quiet presence, the gentleness that I crave as a quality more than any other. Can old mutts learn new ways of living?

One must take heart from Dufourmantelle, who reminds us that ‘we do not recover from our childhood without choosing life, consciously, a second time’.

It is that time.  

Ashy Boy

The Three-Letter Plague

 

Darryl Earl David


We are all so pre-occupied with the Corona pandemic that we fail to realise the existence of a far more deadly virus. Since the start of the new millennium a plague far deadlier has entered the body politic of SA society. It is euphemistically referred to as the THREE LETTER PLAGUE. Out of fear for calling it by its real name - THE ANC.

Yes, this ANC plague has literally destroyed a country in just 2 decades. The precise infection path is blurry. But what we do know is that this three letter plague leaves destruction in its wake, wherever it takes over. This ANC plague is responsible for the scourge of violence and abuse against women and children. It is jointly responsible for one of the most unequal societies in the world together with the National Party admittedly. It is responsible for one woman being raped every 26 seconds. The ANC Ministry for Communicable Diseases will dispute such a link. They will tell you it is one woman every 36 seconds!!! But when the three letter plague is directly responsible for an unemployment rate of nearly 30 percent, social scientists will confirm that these are the symptoms you will see.

This too, the ANC Centre for Communicable Diseases will try to refute. They will tell you it was Apartheid. But when you plunder billions from the country, I am afraid that all these charges lead directly to the door of the three letter plague. When this plague blocked every motion in parliament and protected a most virulent strain of the virus known as JZ, time and again, for almost a decade, can you blame people for believing  this ANC plague is responsible for the capture of our country and holding its people hostage simply to feed their greed. This is no more visible in the plague’s greed, which sees it devour food meant for poor school children, by stealing monies meant for feeding schemes. Its gluttony knows no bounds as has been evident just a few days ago when it was found to be stealing food from the mouths of the hungry and starving brought on by the Corona pandemic. It is directly responsible for the closure of SAA. It is directly responsible for our country's inability to produce sufficient electricity. It is directly responsible for our cataclysmically poor education system. It is directly responsible for our poor health system. It is directly responsible for our country being demoted to junk status by all the world’s rating agencies.  Like CONSUMPTION, the original term for TB, it CONSUMES everything in its path. As a result, it is directly responsible for the emaciated, hollowed out quasi- corpse that we once knew as the Republic of South Africa, as Madibaland.

This three-letter plague is also responsible for a few strange symptoms. It causes blindness in its followers. No matter the visible dangers this three letter plague poses to them, they embrace it. They fanatically adorn themselves with the paraphernalia of this plague. The yellow T- shirt, the caps and flags. Maybe it is because they know their emperor is naked and try to cover his shame by waving these flags. Or maybe it is to try and wave away the stink that emanates from this plague.

It does have one positive outcome among its corpus though. It results in spontaneous, harmonious singing. Yes, wherever you find the people infected by this very plague, you will find these same people worshipping the plague. The non- infected people suspect the three letter plague has hypnotic powers. For whenever the infected are about to mutiny, one of its ministers shouts the words AMANDLA and raise their fists in the air. And the people meekly shout back AWETHU. Even if they came with knobkerries to try and beat the plague into submission, this singular incantation of the word AMANDLA seems to drain all the power from the people.

Linguists suspect the word AWETHU is derived from the Germanic AH WHERE TO and thus a cry for help.

The plague seemingly also shows a hatred toward people with white and brown skins. At gatherings, the plague incessantly denounces white people. It has developed an extensive lexicon to refer to such people. White monopoly capitalists. Amandia. Boers. Colonisers. Imperialists. Nazis. But despite the three letter plagues hatred for the descendants of Hitler, they love the German brands such as Karl Lagerfeld, Hugo Boss and Mont Blanc. Their henchmen all insist on car allowances in excess of R1 million. Only the German brands of BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz and Porsche are good enough for the three letter plague and the disciples of Karl Marx.   White Pigs. White racists. White Bitches, they chant.

However, what has scientists completely bamboozled is the large cohort of founding fathers of the plague who have white spouses. Never in the history of mankind has the world known a disease whose disciples espouse hatred of the white man but love for the white woman.

Nelson Mandela said at the dawn of democracy : If the ANC does to you what the Apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the Apartheid government.

In the same vein 18 years later Archbishop Desmond Tutu famously told Jacob Zuma : I am warning you. I am warning you that we will pray as we prayed for the downfall of the Apartheid Government. We will pray for the downfall of a government that misrepresents us. You have got a huge majority. That’s nothing. The Nationalists had a huge majority that was increasing. They bit the dust. Watch out ANC…Watch out. Watch out.

And so, let us as a country pray :

God bless Africa
Guard her children
Guide her leaders
And give her peace… FROM THE THREE LETTER PLAGUE, THE ANC

Look, Look the Emperor is Legging it with a Bermuda


Ashwin Desai


‘The price we pay for our liberty is contingency, which is never very far from absurdity’ Terry Eagleton

I have always had a love for cropped bottoms. They cover a lot, but also reveal just enough to keep a person interested.

Their origins lay in the Isle of Capri. Capri men are born with calves puffed out sideways like crabs, which sit on thighs reminiscent of twisted twigs after an Australian bushfire. It is rumoured that Franz Kafka’s brilliant opening in the Metamorphosis was inspired by Caprese men.

When Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from troubled dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous insect. He was lying on his hard-shell-like back and by lifting his head a little he could see his curved brown tummy, divided by stiff arching ribs, on top of which the bed-quilt was precariously poised and seemed about to slide off completely. His numerous thighs, which were pathetically thin compared to the rest of his body, danced helplessly before his eyes.

The description, as author and entomologist Vladimir Nabokov pointed out, does not quite make sense. If his belly is arched, then, when he crawls, how do his little legs reach the ground?

And so were born crop bottoms, to simultaneously cover and uncover the Capri body. It was my bottom of choice during the winter months, but my present ones bought three winters ago at the local Bangladeshi Fair Trade Market, were frayed and one leg fell off as I tried to put them on.   

And then, Minister Ebrahim Patel released the details of which stage clothes we could purchase. I scanned the list with the intensity of a shopper looking for a bat in a Wuhan wet market:

Adult outerwear categories: …short sleeved knit tops (where promoted and displayed as worn under cardigans and knitwear), short sleeved T-shirts (where promoted and displayed as under garments for warmth), leggings, crop bottoms worn with boots and leggings, shirts, either short- or long-sleeved (where displayed and promoted to be worn under jackets, coats and/or knitwear), golf shirts, one-pieces such as bodysuits.

I could not mask my joy when seeing that crop bottoms were included. I zooted down to the local and joined the queue. I needed a pee, but held it in for it seemed that everybody had gone bonkers over knickerbockers.

All the crop bottoms had been snapped up. I spied a Bermuda. I thought if I took a large it would creep over my knees; with the right tights and Doc Martens boots, it would have to do.

I was so excited. With a skip in my instep, I waltzed home. I hardly slept and by dawn I was quickly into my outfit. Leggings held tight. Boots laced.

It was a glorious winter’s morning. The sun pierced the gaps in the trees as the street danced between light and shadow.

I turned heads of the badges with walkie-talkies as I joined the queue for the supermarket. The tights tingled my sensitive spot just between the calves and the knees. It always made me giggle a little.



And then two badges asked me to step out of the queue. They were very polite. Those are not crop bottoms. No choice but to write out a fine. I tried. Are not one person’s crop bottoms another person’s long pants? Did you see Thabo Mbeki when he tried to step into Mandela’s boxing shorts? Should I tell them about Exodus 28:4: ‘And you shall make them linen trousers to cover their nakedness from the loins to the thighs.’ Is this not the prototype of the modern day Bermuda? But you know the routine. As you talk, the fine just gets written out; Camus’ ‘wine of the absurd and the bread of indifference’ springs to mind. The Fashion Police as a new department derives all its revenue from fines, the badges finally apologise.
In The Trial, Kafka warns ‘Logic is doubtless unshakeable, but it cannot withstand a man who wants to go on living.’

Has Patel been reading Orwell? Remember how the Ministry of Plenty handed out ‘nonsense’? As Winston explains: ‘…it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another.’

As I complained to a wizened addict in my building about my morning, brandishing my fine, he told me ‘not to despair, zol aunty really cares.’

The law is an ass but it is the law. Kafka shows in story after story how stifling bureaucracies vomit an infinite number of prescripts whose requirements you can never meet.

In A Little Fable, he warns:

“Alas”, said the mouse, “the world gets smaller every day. At first it was so wide that I ran along and was happy to see walls appearing to my right and left, but these high walls narrowed so quickly that I’m already in the last chamber, and there in the corner is the trap into which I must run into”.  “You only need to change your direction”, said the cat, and ate it up.

We can only but hope that government changes direction, neither eating us up nor forcing us into bottomless shorts.
Lastly, Darryl has dreamt up an idea that…well, only Darryl can dream up. THE WORLD’S LARGEST ONLINE LITERARY FESTIVAL!!!! It is set to take place from the 18-22 November 2020. In three short weeks, he has assembled 100 writers from the four corners of the globe. He is not sharing his line up with us just yet, but he said I could quote him that “ it would be the biggest book festival in the history of book festivals in SA, a truly international book festival”. He did throw a morsel our way and say that Christy Lefteri, author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo, which has just won the 2020 Aspen Words Literary Prize, will be on the programme!!!!! Read Darryl’s inspirational announcement of the festival that first appeared on LITNET a few weeks ago.

The world’s largest online literary festival  < LINK |

God Bless us, each and every one,

Forever BookBedonnerd

Peter Baker (co-director of Bookbedonnerd, alongside Darryl David)
Website: Booktown Richmond

Don't miss: Booktown Richmond’s 14th Anniversary


BookBedonnerd XIII ~ October 28-31, 2020
 

A Richmond Community Development Foundation Project

Below is a list of writers that are headed to Richmond. Most have been confirmed, some are waiting to see if they survive the Corona virus😁. Or what their university commitments look like once Corona virus turmoil is over. Whilst a handful are on my hitlist whilst I search for their email addresses 🤭🤭. As you can see the list is quite well advanced, given that the SA INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS AWARDS entrants are still to be factored in.
  1. Pieter Louis Myburgh (t.b.c) Gangster State The Republic of Gupta
  2. Prof Kathy Munro The Humble Post Card… and Karoo Heritage
  3. Prof Ashwin Desai Wentworth and the Beautiful Game
  4. Carla van der Spuy Plaasmoorde Blood on her Hands
  5. Nico Moolman Russia in the Anglo Boer War
  6. Diana Ferrus TBA
  7. Gaireyah Fredericks & Jaja Binks Pedro. Kaaps oppie Richterskaal
  8. Hannes Visser. Die dag toe pa
  9. Steve Wimberley Adventures Of Dr Grumble
  10. Dorian Haarhoff Writing Workshops
  11. ATKV Schools Project/ Storytelling
  12. Prof Carman Miller Anglo Boer War
  13. Antony Osler (t.b.c) Spinning a Yarn. Zen master storyteller of the Karoo
  14. Angie Butler  Shackleton’s Critic, the Life and Diaries of Eric Marshall 
  15. Terry Crawford Brown (t.b.c)
  16. Carina Stander Die Bergengel
  17. Gisella Ullyatt Die waarheid oor duiwe
  18. Sandra Shell (t.b.c)
  19. Andrew Pike The Oceanos Rescue
  20. Philip Kretzman (t.b.c) Vet Tales
  21. Thomas Mollet Annie Dewani Murder
  22. Antoinette Pienaar (t.b.c) Spinning a Yarn
  23. Christine Barkhuizen le Roux. My naam is Prins, ek slaap met die lig aan
  24. Anel Heydenrych. Die Afloerder
  25. Tania Smit . t.b.c
  26. Hedi Lampert. The Trouble With My Aunt
  27. Kevin Chaplan. Can Do
  28. Paul Weinberg. Photography
  29. Darryl Earl David / Sheritha David – Travel Memoir
  30. David Butler – Drama Performance
  31. Gert Vlok Nel – Poetry Reading / Concert

South African Independent Publishers Awards (SAIPA)

 

Call For Entries


The SA INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS AWARDS, hosted by Booktown Richmond is the only such competition to honour the best self-published books in SA. We accept books in all categories, except educational textbooks. From comics to memoirs to fiction to photography, we eagerly await your entries. If your book defies categorisation, we will create one!!! There is no entry fee. All you have to do is post 3 copies of your book to DARRYL DAVID who will then distribute the books to judges. However, where judges are not Cape Town based, you will be required to post individual copies to judges.

Please see our write up about the 2019 SAIPA AWARDS. < LINK |

For further details kindly contact Darryl David on ddavid@uwc.ac.za or 0813918689. We look forward to receiving your entries.

Please help us keep Bookbedonnerd alive


Unfortunately as the Northern Cape Provincial Government is not in a position to support us to the degree required for Booktown Richmond to keep up with its commitments to our various programmes, we are having to look to Crowd Support in order to maintain and grow our efforts in the village. We are firmly committed to seeing that Booktown Richmond survives and indeed grows.  We have, even at this early stage an extremely exciting line-up of speakers, entertainers and activities including the introduction of Spinning-a-Yarn, A Festival of Storytelling and Oral Traditions, a first in South Africa.

To ensure that we survive and indeed grow, the planning committee has launched a backabuddy campaign aimed at crowd-funding the event. Please support by spreading the word and, if at all possible, making a financial contributing. Booktown Richmond is in your hands. Forever BoekBedonnerd….

You will find the particulars here << LINK |. We shall be most grateful.

Thank you.
BUILDING COMMUNITY THROUGH SKILLS DEVELOPMENT TRAINING
Richmond Community Development Foundation
(RCDP)
P.O. Box 1608, Parklands, 2121, Johannesbug, South Africa
33 Loop Street, Richmond, Northern Cape, South Africa
REGISTERED AS A SECTION 21 COMPANY | INCORPORATED NOT FOR GAIN
Registration number: 2008/00/1433/08
Copyright © 2020 Booktown Richmond, All rights reserved.


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