Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

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

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Protea Boekhuis

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

’n Leeftyd Later: Herinneringe aan Angola ’n wonderlike lewensverhaal uit die pen van ’n sterk, intelligente vrou

Marthie Voigt (nooi Prinsloo) is in 1931 in Suidwes-Afrika gebore; die vierde van ses kinders.

Wat volg is ’n groot avontuur. Marthie word groot in die wye en ongetemde vlaktes van Angola. Die Prinsloo-gesin trek baie rond agter goeie weiding en gesonder toestande aan. Die lewe in ongerepte Angola het ook sy gevare en Marthie beleef groot hartseer toe haar sussie op 19 sterf aan malaria.

Nadat Marthie trou met Carl-Wilhelm Voigt en hulle hul gevestig het op haar skoonouers se koffieplaas, begin die onheil in Angola roer. Ongelukkig breek daar oorlog uit en die Voigts moet hulle plaas net so los. Hulle speel ’n groot rol daarin om vlugtelinge uit Angola te versorg.

Marthie Voigt het haar ongelooflike herinneringe aan hierdie historiese en persoonlike gebeurtenisse neergeskryf sodat wanneer ’n mens dit lees, dit glashelder voor jou geestesoog afspeel.

’n Wonderlike lewensverhaal uit die pen van ’n sterk, intelligente vrou.


» read article

Wildlife at War in Angola examines the post-colonial tragedy of one of Africa’s most biologically diverse countries

Wildlife at War in Angola: The Rise and Fall of an African Eden describes in fascinating detail the wildlife, wild places and wild personalities that occupied Angola’s conservation landscape through four decades of war and a decade of peace.

Intrigues, assassinations, corruption, greed and incompetence ‒ during the colonial era, through the horrific war and most especially throughout the crony-capitalist kleptocracy of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos ‒ have resulted in the extinction of most of its formerly abundant wildlife populations and the decay and erosion of a once endless Eden.

This is the first book to integrate the political, economic and environmental threads that account for the post-colonial tragedy of one of Africa’s most biologically diverse countries. A corrupt government has robbed the country of its vast oil and diamond wealth, of its environmental health, of its morality and of its soul. It was not always so.

Brian J. Huntley was appointed ecologist to Angola’s National Parks in 1971. But the vast open spaces, peaceful stillness and tropical luxuriance that he found during the four years they spent exploring and developing the country’s wildlife reserves was not to last. The powder keg of anger against centuries of colonial exploitation ‒ of slavery, of forced labour and of an abusive system of penal settlement ‒ could not be contained. Bloody nationalist uprisings led to the abandonment of Angola by Portugal and the transition from random guerrilla skirmishes with a colonial army into a brutal civil war that cost over one million lives. Despite its scarred history, the author believes the country can still rebuild its national parks and save much of its wildlife and wilderness. But this can only happen if the current ageing autocracy makes space for a new generation of Angolan conservationists.

Brian J. Huntley is an internationally respected conservationist with over 50 years of field research and management experience in many African countries and sub-Antarctic islands. He has initiated and led to successful conclusion several major inter-disciplinary cooperative research and institutional development projects from the Cape to the Congo. Following retirement in 2009 as CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute, he is currently engaged as an independent consultant on conservation research and implementation projects in many African countries and for various United Nations agencies.

Book details

» read article

Castle of Good Hope Hosts a Celebration of As the Crow Flies by Delville Linford and Al J Venter

Al J Venter

Many of the men who gathered in the Officer’s Mess at the Castle of Good Hope early in November wore a tie with a distinctive crow. They were soldiers who had fought under the command of Colonel Delville Linford in the legendary 31 Batallion some 40 years ago in the military campaign Operation Savannah.

Eavesdropping on the conversations it was clear that each man there had a story to tell, but they had come together to celebrate their collective story, and that of their erstwhile commanding officer, and they raised their glasses to honour his memory and to welcome the publication of As the Crow Flies: My Bushman Experience with 31 Battalion by Linford with Al J Venter.

Venter spoke about the challenges Linford faced and the context he had entered into. Brigadier Constand Viljoen had issued instructions that a base be established in the western Caprivi to accommodate, equip and train “Bushman soldiers” to help protect what was the South West African border against SWAPO. With the help of six national servicemen and 39 black troops, Linford established Camp Alpha. Combat Group Alpha participated in Operation Savannah from October 1975 to January 1976 after which the company was named 31 Battalion and operated in south-east Angola and Zambia.

Nicol Stassen and Al VenterAs the Crow Flies“In the battle for the independence of Angola,” Venter said, “the Bushmen had been marshalled by the Portuguese to do their tracking and attacks. They were extremely efficient at killing the guards without guns. With the Portuguese Carnation Revolution and the independence of Angola, the country was bled dry. When the Portuguese left, the Bushmen were abandoned to their own devices. The South Africans entered the region and, realising their potential, recruited the Bushmen.”

Delville Linford was given staff to form 31 Battalion but had a very difficult time in the beginning. “The attitude of the Portuguese had been to ‘live and let live’. The Bushmen had a job to do, but no real discipline had been established. They could stand at attention and march, but none of the traditional military rigmarole was imposed on them. Also, their training was a means to kill. They could track and scout, but when it came to military conventions they did only the basics. When they came south and the South Africans accepted them, Delville was under orders to make a large number of people into soldiers. He had to marshal them into a military community.”

Venter said that under Linford’s instruction the 31 Battalion built schools, and attempted to turn the Bushmen into “civilised” people in that environment. “Delville built camps but had to marshal people. The trackers were being sent through for our own border war. However, they were not issued with guns, so, when they were sent out to track with a squad of South African troops they would go through, hot on the trail, then trail would ‘go missing’. This happened half a dozen times. Eventually Linford got together with the Bushman leaders to find out what was going on.

“They held an indaba. In his own language the Bushman leader said, ‘Do you think we’re stupid? If we lead you there, who is the first one to get shot? You won’t give us guns. We aren’t going to take you to them.’ Linford was then faced with the challenge of making these troops fully qualified to make a fire drill,” Venter recalled.

At that point Operation Savannah happened. “The battles they fought were quite remarkable. At Benguela the place crawling with MPLA. The Cubans were coming through all the time. They got through and took the airport. There were South African troops but also a lot of Bushmen. The Cubans had already smuggled men into the country and saw the South Africans as a problem. When Operation Savannah was over, we had suffered just a fraction of the casualties because of the way we had husbanded our resources with just a few thousand people,” he said.

“We didn’t get to gates of Luanda but we got a long way north.” Venter had been in Luanda while this was happening. He was working for Scope magazine at the time. He shared his harrowing stories of death threats and capture with a Le Monde journalist, the torture and his narrow escape thanks to Francois Mitterand.

Returning to the subject of As the Crow Flies, Venter said of the Bushmen, “There are so many facets to their story.” He summarised an exchange that stood out in his memory between a captain who had issued a command of dubious wisdom. It illustrated the sharpness of the Bushmen when they countered him, implying it was not a very clever move. “‘Are you trying to tell me I’m stupid?’ asked the captain. ‘No Sir, you’re the cleverest captain I know!’ said the Bushman. ‘So, what are you saying?’ asked the captain. The Bushman replied, ‘A very clever man doesn’t make the kind of decision you’ve just made.’”

* * * * * * *

Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted live from the event using the hashtag #livebooks:



* * * * * * *

Facebook Album


Also read:


Book details

» read article

Hanlie Retief reis saam met Voetspore deur Ethiopië (Plus: Foto’s en ’n video)

Voetspore op die ewenaarVoetspore: Agulhas tot AlexandriëJohan Badenhorst se agtste reisjoernaal, Voetspore op die ewenaar: ‘n Reis van Lamu tot Muanda, het vroeër vanjaar by Protea Boekhuis verskyn.

Hierdie reis het begin in Kenia, gekronkel deur Uganda en geëindig in die Demokratiese Republiek van die Kongo en die boek bevat pragfoto’s deur Gideon du Preez Swart.

Die ink was nog nie eens droog nie, toe pak die Voetspore-span weer die lang pad aan – dié keer na die Groot Skeurvallei in Oos-Afrika wat deur sewe lande gaan. Hanlie Retief het by Badenhorst aangesluit en verslag gelewer vanuit die hart van Ethiopië:

‘Is daar nog van daai potbrood van jou oor, Nobert?” vra ­Johan Badenhorst hoopvol terwyl hy die bakkie agter oopklap, die stofie uittrek en die swart Voetspore-ketel aan die prut kry vir ’n koppie koffie.

Ons is iewers langs ’n pad in die hart van Ethiopië. Soos altyd in dié land verskyn daar in ’n oogwink 50 mense wat jou nuuskierig aanstaar terwyl jy grondboontjiebotter en stroop op Nobert ­Coetzee se brood smeer.

Toe ek in November by hulle in Addis Abeba aangesluit het, het die Voetspore-span in hul drie Volkswagen Amarokke reeds 14 000 km in Voetspore in die Groot Skeurvallei afgelê. Hulle is oor teerpad, grondpad, modderpad, deur slaggate, druk stadsverkeer, sandwoestyn, klipwoestyn. Sonder enige teëspoed, sonder ’n enkele pap wiel.

Voetspore is tans in Madagaskar, waar hulle die afgelope naweek die Suid-Afrikaanse vlag laat wapper het in Morondava, ter ondersteuning van die Springbokke se Rugbywêreldbeker-wedstryd teen Nieu-Seeland.

Lees meer oor dié jongste ekspedisie op Voetspore se webtuiste en loer na die foto’s op Facebook:

Madagaskar is naas Groenland, Nieu Guinee en Borneo die wêreld se vierde grootste eiland. Dit is ʼn land van dramatiese kontraste en wel bekend vir sy diverse landskappe, flora en fauna en fassinerende kultuur van sy mense. Daar is iets in Madagaskar vir almal: natuurliefhebbers word onvermydelik betower deur die uniekheid van sy fauna en onvergelykbaar diverse flora.

Daar word dikwels na Madagaskar verwys as die Groot Rooi Eiland as gevolg van sy rooi kleigrond. Die eiland het tussen 120 en 165 miljoen jaar gelede van die super-kontinent Gondwana afgesplit. Dit het toegelaat dat die eiland in geografiese isolasie uit Afrika en Indië ontwikkel het, wat ‘n evolusie van sy plante en diere toegelaat het in ʼn beskermde omgewing, grootliks vry van roofdiere.



Kyk ook na die lokprent van die Voetspore-span se avontuur van Agulhas tot Alexandrië, soos vasgevang in die boek, Voetspore: Agulhas tot Alexandrië:


Lees ook:


» read article

One SADF Soldier’s Fight for Paradise – Read an Excerpt from Eden’s Exiles by Jan Breytenbach

Eden's ExilesFounding commander of 32 Battalion Colonel Jan Breytenbach’s book Eden’s Exiles is an important source of information on a lesser known part of the South African Border War, also referred to as the Angola Bush War. It was first published in 1997 with a second edition out this year.

Eden’s Exiles tells the story of one soldier’s fight for paradise and describes how Breytenbach, one of the most important leaders of the SADF during that time, discovered that Military Intelligence was involved in illegal wildlife trade with Angolan political and military leader Jonas Savimbi. He writes that “all elephant and rhino poaching was conducted on an organised basis” and shares details of what went on behind the scenes as those who were supposed to protect the animals conspired with criminals.

“It was my fortune – and at the same time my misfortune – to be propelled into the forbidding harshness of this wilderness by the circumstances of war,” Breytenbach writes of his time in Angola, introducing readers to the environment and circumstances soldiers faced there.

Read the introduction to Eden’s Exiles for a taste of the book:


Introduction – Eden's Exiles


Book details

Image courtesy of 32 Battalion

» read article

Vat 5 met Johan Badenhorst oor Voetspore: “In Afrika kom jy altyd reg”

Voetspore op die ewenaarDie lewe is ‘n avontuur – daarvan kan Johan Badenhorst getuig.

Sy agtste reisjoernaal, Voetspore op die ewenaar: ‘n Reis van Lamu tot Muanda, het vanjaar by Protea Boekhuis verskyn, en skaars was die ink droog toe vertrek die Voetspore-span weer na hul volgende opwindende bestemming.

Lees Books LIVE se onderhoud met die ervare avonturier:


* * * * * * * *


Vat 5 met Johan Badenhorst
5 interessante dinge wat jy op jou reise ontdek het

In Afrika kom jy altyd reg.

In Afrika voel jy soos ’n ontdekkingsreisiger.

Jy kan soveel, luister, vra, op TV kyk … daar is niks soos die ware Jakob nie. Gaan beleef dit self.

Geduld is ’n essensiële element van ’n Afrikareis. Tog kom daar tye om ferm te wees.

Hoe deegliker jy beplan, hoe makliker is dit om aanpasbaar te wees.
4 goed wat jy die meeste mis as jy op die pad is

My gesin

My vriende

My koerant, vroeg in die oggend

Rugby op Saterdae
3 wenke vir mense wat in jou Voetspore wil volg

Moet nie uitstel nie, doen dit nou.

As jy wag tot jy genoeg geld het, sal jy dit nooit doen nie.

Moenie bang wees nie, dit is baie makliker as wat jy dink, en baie meer bevredigend as waarop jy hoop.
2 items wat jy altyd op jou het

’n Goeie kaart of GPS

’n Klompie dollars of Euro, weggesteek iewers in my voertuig, net vir ’n noodgeval
1 groot les wat jy op die harde manier moes leer

Moet geen amptenaar by ’n ambassade vertrou wat sê jy kan ’n visum op die grens kry nie. Sorg dat jy alles het voor jou vertrek, en gaan die geldigheidsdatums sorgvuldig na.


* * * * * * * *

Kom ontmoet Badenhorst vanjaar by Pretoria se eerste Boekejol en Filmrolfees wat vanaf 26 tot 29 Augustus sal geskied. Volg die Voetspore-span op Facebook vir nog nuus, foto’s en video’s.

Foto van Johan en Alma Badenhorst met dank aan Voetspore se Facebook-blad

» read article

Kom geniet ’n manneoggend met Voetspore legende Johan Badenhorst in Pretoria

Voetspore op die ewenaar: 'n Reis van Lamu tot MuandaDie NG Gemeente Lyttelton-Oos nooi jou graag na ‘n manneoggend saam met die bekende reisiger en avonturier, Johan Badenhorst.

Badenhorst is die regisseur en vervaardiger van die gewilde televisie-reisprogram, Voetspore, en die outeur van ‘n reeks reisboeke, waarvan die jongste, Voetspore op die ewenaar: ‘n Reis van Lamu tot Muanda, onlangs by Protea Boekhuis verskyn het.

Kom sit aan vir ‘n heerlike ontbyt saam met Badenhorst op Saterdag, 25 Julie in die kerksaal. Die geleentheid begin om 9:00 en kaartjies kos R150 per persoon.

Moenie dit misloop nie!


  • Datum: Saterdag, 25 Julie 2015
  • Tyd: 9:00
  • Plek: NG Gemeente Lyttelton-Oos
    Van Riebeeckrylaan 228
    Pretoria | Padkaart
  • Verversings: Ontbyt
  • Koste: R150
  • RSVP: Lodewyk, 012 664 4458, 072 157 1190


» read article

Die ATKV vereer Kobus Lombard en Piet van Rooyen as “Afrikone” vir hul bydrae tot Afrikaans

Skadu oor die sonwyserReisiger te perdTwee Namibiese skrywers is onlangs deur die Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) as Afrikone vereer. Die Republikein het met Kobus Lombard en Piet van Rooyen gesels oor wat die erkenning deur die ATKV vir hulle beteken.

Lombard se jongste digbundel, Skadu oor die sonwyser, het vanjaar by Protea Boekhuis verskyn. Die digter het gesê: “Ek waardeer dat die ATKV doen wat dit doen en mense op so ’n manier aanmoedig om onder meer te skryf.”

Van Rooyen se bundel, Reisiger te perd, het in 2014 verskyn en die digter en romansier het vertel dat skryf sy eerste liefde bly.

Lees die artikel om meer uit te vind oor die twee woordkunstenaars:

Hy raai ook jong mense aan wat graag suksesvolle skrywers wil word, om êrens in hul lewe ’n ATKV-skryfskool­ by te woon. “Dit is raad wat ek vir baie mense gee. Ek het ook destyds een van Hans du Plessis se skryfskole bygewoon.”

Sy debuutbundel, Geknipte naelstring­, is in 2001 uitgegee deur Protea Boekhuis, waarvoor hy in 2003 die kortlys vir die Ingrid Jonker-prys­ gehaal het. Sy tweede bundel, Tussen wysvinger en duim, en sy derde, Vlerke vir my houteend, verskyn onderskeidelik­ in 2005 en 2010, ook deur Protea Boekhuis uitgegee.

Die bekende romansier, digter en akademikus prof. Piet van Rooyen is eweneens baie dankbaar vir hierdie erkenning.

“Op die oomblik skryf ek baie lekker aan ’n nuwe manuskrip. Ek het sommer weer moed gekry,” het hy die naweek vertel.


» read article

Potgooi: Piet van Rooyen lees voor uit sy nuwe digbundel, Reisiger te perd

Reisiger te perdPiet van Rooyen het onlangs met Margot Luyt gesels op haar RSG-radioprogram, Vers en Klank. Hy vertel meer oor sy nuwe digbundel, Reisiger te perd, en lees van sy gunstelingverse voor.

Van Rooyen, ‘n professor in politieke wetenskap aan die Universiteit van Namibië, noem dat hy van kindsbeen af lief is vir perde en bedank sy oupa, ‘n perdeteler, vir sy vroeë blootstelling aan dié pragdiere.

Luister na die potgooi:


» read article

Nuut: In Reisiger te perd dig Piet van Rooyen oor perde in literatuur

Reisiger te perdPiet van Rooyen se digbundel Reisiger te perd verskyn hierdie maand op Protea Boekhuis se rakke:

Die Namibiese skrywer Piet van Rooyen bring met hierdie bundel gedigte twee van sy groot liefdes bymekaar: perdry en lees. Volgens Van Rooyen is dit verbasend watter groot rol die perd in die wêreldletterkunde speel en hoeveel verwysings na perde in belangrike literêre werke gevind kan word. Met die aantekeninge wat hy oor ’n aantal jare oor perde in prosawerke gemaak het as basis – hy het poësie met opset nie ingesluit nie – het Van Rooyen die verse van hierdie bundel geskep.

Die gedigte is nie direkte vertalings nie, maar vrye verbeeldingsvlugte met die gegewe van die oorspronklike tekste as vertrekpunt. Skrywers histories en kultureel so ver van mekaar verwyder soos Homeros en Isabel Allende, Vergilius en Kazuo Ishiguro, Voltaire en Virginia Woolf word in die bundel verteenwoordig. In sommige gedigte speel die perd ’n sentrale rol, in ander is daar net terloopse verwysings na perde, maar byna altyd word die perd geplaas in ’n konteks wat so raak geteken word dat die gedigte klein kamees van uiteenlopende eras, samelewings en ruimtes word.

Oor die outeur

Piet van Rooyen is ’n bekroonde romansier en digter. Sy eerste roman, Die spoorsnyer, het die Tafelberg/Sanlam/De Kat-romankompetisie en die CNA-prys vir ’n debuutroman gewen. Die olifantjagters is met die M-Net-prys vir Letterkunde bekroon. Hy is tans professor in politieke wetenskap aan die Universiteit van Namibië.


» read article