Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to BooksLIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Books LIVE

Wits University Press

@ Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Borrowing From Peter to Pay Paul: Deborah James’ Money From Nothing Launched at HUMA, UCT

Deborah James

The Cape Town launch of Wits Press’ latest publication – Money from Nothing: Indebtedness and Aspiration in South Africa by Deborah James – was hosted early in April at UCT’s Institute for Humanities in Africa.

The author was joined in an intriguing conversation by UCT academics Deborah Posel and Ilana van Wyk, who brought their own particular observations and questions to the discussion. The session concluded with a question-and-answer session during which the author engaged with students, academics and members of the public who had come to learn more about this topic that has such wide-ranging effects on so many in the country who live with indebtedness.

Ilana van Wyk, Deborah Posel and Deborah JamesMoney from NothingJames spoke about the circumstances that led her to research for the book. While travelling around South Africa on an extended road trip in the mid-2000s, she heard a number of radio programmes all talking about the same topic – the country’s new debt problem.

She soon began reading about the proposed credit act in the news, which became operative in 2007. Initially her investigations were at a local level where she had previously done research, but it extended to include the rising middle class, debt counsellors and those people who were trying to institute the new legislation. Her initial research showed debt as a terrible problem with people getting in “way over their heads”.

Although that’s one side of the picture investigated in the book, James discovered the dodgy practices of the gathering of garnishee orders directly from people’s accounts and covered it in some detail. Another side to the story is the huge transition that took place in 1990s – not just democratic and political freedom – but the need for people to move in from a credit apartheid, to become full-blown members of a society with no credit apartheid. That meant that a lot of people had to borrow money. “If you were a civil servant with a salary, you couldn’t necessarily fund your whole life style. To some degree this rapid rise to apparent prosperity resulted in people getting into debt,” she said.

“Some did it in a sustainable manner, and some did it in an unsustainable manner.” James said her book left her sitting on the fence because she was well aware of the dark narratives about indebtedness. She reflected on how some people who only ever had one or two loans suddenly proliferated their loan portfolio, ending up with 50 or 60 loans, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

The author reflected on other stories too, of those who found a way to frugal living, saving and wise investment, somehow avoiding the crazy consumerism to which many fall prey. “The narratives I followed were about some degree of profligacy, and some degree of conservation minded frugality and thrift. I go into a range of different stories in the book, including the famous ‘savings clubs’, the idea that women join together with other women to save together against future rainy days. These sound like positive arrangements, conserving resources, but to some degree, people getting into debt followed those clubs too. Rotating credit clubs lend out their money at 30%.”

James considered the three major sectors of the 1990s that seemed to spiral out of control and led to the passing of the National Credit Act, though many believe that has not been as beneficial as was intended or hoped. “It drew a line between registered lenders, who were no longer allowed to lend at any old lending rate, and the unregistered, referred to as ‘mashonisas’.” The important point about this was that unsecured loans were taken, but not against a person’s house or car or furniture. “To some degree the security was against payment from the government, either a salary of a government employees, or against grants.” She stressed that the ease with which various creditors could skim money out of your account was frightening.

Another interesting shift is that everybody in South Africa is now in the “middling class”. Nobody wants to be perceived as at the bottom of the pile.

This intriguing session can be heard via in the podcast below, provided by HUMA at UCT:

 

* * * * * * * *

 
Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted from the launch using #livebooks:


 

 

Facebook gallery:

 

Book details


» read article

Join Penny Siopis and Ernestine White at the Launch of Penny Siopis: Time and Again in Cape Town

Penny Siopis: Time and Again Launch

 
Penny Siopis: Time and AgainWits University Press invites you to the launch of Penny Siopis: Time and Again edited by Gerrit Olivier.

The curator of contemporary art at the South African National Gallery, Ernestine White, will be in conversation with the Penny Siopis at The Book Lounge on Tuesday, 28 April, at 5:30 for 6 PM.

Don’t miss this riveting discussion between artist and curator on Siopis’ life’s work, her interests and working methods!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 28 April 2015
  • Time: 5:30 for 6 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge
    71 Roeland Street
    Corner of Buitenkant and Roeland Street
    Cape Town | Map
  • Interviewer: Ernestine White
  • RSVP: booklounge@gmail.com, 021 462 2425

Book Details


» read article

Don’t Miss the Opening of Seedtime: An Omar Badsha Retrospective in Cape Town with Mandla Langa

Seedtime Invite

 
One Hundred Years of the ANC: Liberation Histories and Democracy TodayA collection of drawings, woodcuts and photographic essays by Omar Badsha, one of the authors of One Hundred Years of the ANC: Liberation Histories and Democracy Today, will be exhibited at the Iziko South African National Gallery from 24 April to 2 August.

The opening of the exhibition will take place on Thursday, 23 April, between 6 and 9 PM. Mandla Langa will give the keynote address.

Don’t miss out!

Event Details

Book Details


» read article

Charting the Geographies of Pain: Penny Siopis’ Exhibition Time and Again, Coming Soon to Wits Art Museum

Penny Siopis: Time and AgainAnna Stielau has written an article about Penny Siopis’ exhibition Time and Again for ArtThrob. The exhibition, which is the subject of Penny Siopis: Time and Again by Gerrit Olivier, was on at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town earlier this year.

In the article, Stielau discusses Time and Again and the techniques that Siopis uses to understand trauma. She says that the problem of representing pain is at the heart of Siopis’ work.

Read the article:

How do we apprehend (and comprehend) hurt? How can we chart the invisible geographies of someone else’s pain?

I’d volunteer this question as a gravitational force at the heart of Penny Siopis’s retrospective ‘Time and Again’ at Iziko National Gallery. That’s an oversimplification of course – there are many forces at stake in ‘Time and Again’, but pain is perhaps the most palpable and present. Over the course of three, nearly four, decades of art-making, Siopis has relentlessly pursued a means to give representational form to individual and collective trauma. To that end, she concerns herself not only with the physical fact of injury manifest in the wound, but also with the suffering of communities both micro and macro, with history’s capacity to injure the present, and with the quotidian personal battles played out in the space of the family and invested in domestic objects.

Time and Again will be exhibited at the Wits Art Museum from Wednesday, 22 April, to Saturday, 20 July.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Dates: Wednesday, 22 April, to Saturday, 20 July, 2015
  • Venue: Wits Art Museum
    Corner of Jorrisen Street and Bertha Avenue
    Braamfontein | Map

Book Details


» read article

“We Need to Speak Bluntly”: Adam Habib on Challenges Facing Joburg at the Launch of Changing Space, Changing City

Adam Habib

 
Wits Press and UKZN Press came together recently to celebrate the launch of two books on the South African city: Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after Apartheid and Urban Governance in Post-apartheid Cities: Modes of Engagement in South Africa’s Metropoles.

Adam Habib and Trevor FowlerChanging Space, Changing CityUrban Governance in Post-apartheid Cities“People often say that universities don’t partner with each other,” Habib said. “This is a fantastic example. Not only do we have the publishing houses of two different universities coming together, but we have one of the keynote addresses from another university. That’s really what we should be doing. Increasingly universities need to partner each other. We need to recognise that we are part of a coherent academic project.”

In his opening address, Habib spoke about three challenges facing South African cities. The first is what he calls a “lack of skill sets” in municipal employees, the second concerns the privatisation – or lack thereof – of service delivery in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and the third involved the privatisation of city land.

“I’m going to make three remarks about the challenges we confront in the post-apartheid city,” Habib said. “And I do so in order to open up a difficult conversation, which is what these books are supposed to do, and which is a good sign for democracy. We need to start speaking openly and bluntly if we are going to address our challenges.”

Skills are Lacking at a Municipal Level

“The first thing that we need to talk about concerning urban governance and municipalities in this country is the issue of skill sets. I really think we duck this question. Compromised skill sets have very, very serious outcomes. The fact that we have so many service delivery protests has to do with many complex things, including the structural contradictions of a city like Johannesburg, but it’s also got to do with the fact that we’re acting and we’re delivering far less than we should be. And it’s got to do with the nature of skill sets, in part.

The view from Newtown

 
“I spent a fair degree of time, not only researching state institutions, but frankly having, as a bureaucrat at Wits University, engaging state institutions. And I’m sometimes astonished at the skill sets in the City. And not only Johannesburg, I’m talking across the country as a whole. This is something that the policy literature has recognised, the national development plan has recognised, and it’s something we’re going to have to grapple with. We don’t fix skill sets, we will never address the challenges we confront. I think we need an honest conversation.

“We delude ourselves if we think that we’ve got appropriate skill sets. And we delude ourselves when we suggest that there’s no cadre deployment happening. It’s happening across the political divide, and we better start talking about it and its implications.”

The Ironies of Service delivery in Cape Town and Johannesburg

“The second comment, which I’m intrigued by, is the way rhetoric and managerial models happen. It’s really and example of the City of Cape Town, and the City of Johannesburg. I’m intrigued how the state has organised the management of their service delivery functions in very different contexts.

“In Cape Town, in the City, most of the service function obligations of the City are structurally organised within the City itself. It’s a fascinating thing. Yet, this is a city run by a party that believes in privatisation.

“On the other hand, you come to Johannesburg, which is a city run by a party that believes in the development state, and all of its obligations are organised in municipal entities that are privatised. And I’m trying to figure this out. There’s a complete disconnect between political ideology, political identification and actual practice.

“Of course, there’s a history, that goes back in Johannesburg to the late 1990s and the challenges that were there, and in Cape Town is goes back to a story when the ANC was ruling the municipalities. But isn’t it absolutely hilarious, that you have this situation? And we don’t have a serious conversation on it. Helen Zille doesn’t have a serious conversation on it, Mmusi Maimane doesn’t have a serious conversation on it, neither does Cyril Ramaphosa or Pravin Ghordin. There’s a complete disjuncture between the political ideas of the ruling parties in their respective cities, and the way they organise their respective obligations.

The Emergence of Private “Cities Within the City”

“My third point, is that Wits has had to deal with a number of private developers on major tracts of land in the City. Partly because we have land, and we’ve been embroiled in a legal battle with one of them going back 15 years. As a bureaucrat I’ve had to engage with these developers. And what struck me about what’s happening in this city, but also in the very different modality in Cape Town, is the effect of the privatisation of the city.

“Johannesburg, not very far away in Midrand, is Waterfall Estate. Not far from there we have Steyn City emerging. And effectively you have private agencies establishing their own urban node, with their own governance arrangements, with their own service delivery functions. They’re effectively cities within a city. And Cape Town has a very similar impact, but constructed in a much more organised fashion through the municipal state itself. So you’ve heard lots of arguments about Cape Town service delivery function in places like Camps Bay and Bishops Court whereas a similar impact is not being made in places like Khayalitsha.

“One of the great success stories of Johannesburg is that if you drove in Soweto it’s a fundamentally different place to what it was 20 years ago. And when we are factoring whether it’s a success or failure, I don’t think we appreciate what’s happened in Soweto, what’s happened in Alexandra. Nevertheless, I do think we have a privatisation of the municipal state happening. And the consequences for democracy, for urban governance, and our collective future, have to be interrogated. Some of these questions are tacked in the book.”

Keep an eye on Books LIVE for the speeches made by guest speakers UCT academic Sue Parnell of and Trevor Fowler, city manager of the City of Johannesburg

* * * * *

Jennifer Malec (@projectjennifer) tweeted live from the event using #livebooks:


 

* * * * *

Facebook Album

and Urban Governance in Post-apartheid Cities

Posted by Wits University Press on Friday, 10 April 2015

 

Book details


» read article

Don’t Miss the Launch of Money from Nothing by Deborah James at the University of Pretoria

Money from Nothing: Indebtedness and Aspiration in South AfricaWits Press would like to invite you to the launch of Money from Nothing: Indebtedness and Aspiration in South Africa by Deborah James.

The author will be in conversation with Lorenzo Fioramonti and John Sharp on Tuesday, 14 April, at the University of Pretoria’s Old College House lounge. The event will take place from 4:15 until 6:30 PM.

Money from Nothing explores the rising middle class and how debt is connected to status.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

Book Details


» read article

Don’t Miss the Launch of Money from Nothing with Deborah James and Khadija Patel at WiSER

Money from Nothing: Indebtedness and Aspiration in South AfricaWits University Press invites you to the launch of Money from Nothing: Indebtedness and Aspiration in South Africa by Deborah James.

The author will be in conversation with Khadija Patel, Gabriel Davel and Cathy Burns about her study on the link between debt and status and how more and more South Africans plunge themselves into debt to improve their positions or sustain their existing livelihoods.

The event will take place in the WiSER Seminar Room on Wednesday, 15 April, at 5:30 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 15 April 2015
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Venue: WiSER Seminar Room
    6th floor Richard Ward Building
    University of the Witwatersrand
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Interviewers: Khadija Patel, Gabriel Davel and Cathy Burns
  • RSVP: 011 717 4220

Book Details


» read article

Gabeba Baderoon Included in Karin Schimke’s Badilisha Poetry X-Change Top 10 (Plus: Podcast)

Regarding MuslimsBadilisha Poetry X-Change is a website dedicated to archiving poems by African poets, using categories ranging from “country” to “emotion” to help readers discover new – or rediscover old – voices.

Every month Badilisha invites a poet to curate a group of 10 poets whose work moves them. The latest list was selected by Ingrid Jonker Prize-winning author, Karin Schimke, who included Regarding Muslims: From slavery to post-apartheid author Gabeba Baderoon among her favourites.

In Regarding Muslims Baderoon takes a look at how Muslims fit into South Africa’s well-known narrative of colonialism, apartheid and postapartheid. This book has just been longlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. The shortlist will be announced in May, with the winner to be announced in June.

Read and listen to Baderoon’s featured poem, entitled “War Tryptich”, and view her biography by visiting the Badelisha site:

WAR TRYPTICH
I. Accounting

The mother asked to stay.
She looked at her silent child.

I was waiting for you.

The quiet of the girls face was a different quiet
Her hands lay untouched by death.

The washer of bodies cut
away her long black dress.

Blue prayer beads fell
to the floor in a slow accounting.

Book details


» read article

Join Deborah James, Deborah Posel and Ilana van Wyk for the Launch of Money from Nothing at UCT

Money from Nothing: Indebtedness and Aspiration in South AfricaWits University Press invites you to the launch of Money from Nothing: Indebtedness and Aspiration in South Africa by Deborah James.

The author will speak to Deborah Posel and Ilana van Wyk about her book, which captures the lived experience of indebtedness of millions of South Africa and the way access to credit is linked to identity and status-making.

The presentation will take place in the HUMA Seminar Room at the University of Cape Town on Thursday, 9 April, from 1 to 2:30 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 9 April 2015
  • Time: 1:00 to 2:30 PM
  • Venue: HUMA Seminar Room
    4th Floor, Humanities Building
    University Avenue
    Upper Campus
    University of Cape Town
    Rondebosch | Map
  • Interviewers: Deborah Posel and Ilana van Wyk
  • RSVP: huma@uct.ac.za, 021 650 3949

Book Details


» read article

Don’t Miss the Durban Launch of Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after Apartheid

Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after ApartheidUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal Press, Wits University Press and the Urban Futures Centre at The Durban University of Technology invite you to the Durban launch of Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after Apartheid edited by Philip Harrison, Graeme Gotz, Alison Todes and Chris Wray.

Urban Governance in Post-Apartheid Cities: Modes of Engagement in South Africa’s Metropoles edited by Christoph Haferburg and Marie Huchzermeyer will be launched at the same event.

Following a welcome by Ahmed Bawa, Vice-Chancellor of the Durban University of Technology, Bill Freund, Professor Emeritus UKZN Development Studies, will deliver a speech.

The launch will be on Tuesday, 7 April at 6:30 for 7 PM at Ike’s Books & Collectables.

Don’t miss out!

Event Details

Book Details


» read article