Zukiswa Pakama

Hamburg-Ikhaya lam ngakumlambo iXesi –(Hamburg, my home along the Keiskamma River)

Zukiswa Pakama is a Journalism graduate and an award-winning author who writes youth and children’s novels in her mother tongue, isiXhosa, and English. She has published seven books in isiXhosa of which four have won literature awards between 2013 and 2018.

Some of her book titles include: “Hamburg, my home along the Keiskamma River” a non-fiction young adult book that is still in the production process, including “Akulahlwa Mbeleko Ngakufelwa” which was selected by IBBY SA for the IBBY Honour List in 2018 and “Ubuhlobo buka Zazi noLili which is a CAPS approved book and designed for Grade 8 learners.

She has worked as a researcher, language adviser, and translator for various documentary films all over the country.

The book talks about a significant way of life and cultural norms including historical events that took place in this small, beautiful village of Hamburg, which lies along the banks of the Keiskamma river.

Shams Essack

Against the Odds: Memories and insights of 14 of the original shop owners of the Oriental Plaza

Shams Essack is a Johannesburg-born non-fiction writer and corporate communications and digital marketing consultant and has a Bachelor of Social Work (UB), a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Drama and Film and a Master of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand. She is a co-founder of the Rosebank Writers Group Jo’burg and an editor of the book, Memories of Maru-a-Pula: The First 20 Years, 1972 - 1992. Shams has an interest in capturing institutional and business histories and learnings from first-person stories, interviews and photographs to inform current and future generations.  Her proposed book is Against The Odds: Memories and Insights of 14 of the Original Shop Owners of the Oriental Plaza. The Oriental Plaza is in Fordsburg, Johannesburg and was established in 1971 by the apartheid government to accommodate traders of Indian origin after forcibly removing them from Fietas, Pageview. The book will be a collection of stories and photographs which will pay homage to and capture the poignant history of this unique retail, historical and cultural space and its resilient business owners. It will also be a repository of knowledge and insights from the front-line of retail and veterans of business on how to survive and thrive through on-going uncertain and challenging times.


Richard Conyngham

All Rise: Resistance and Rebellion in South Africa – 1652 – 1910 (Prequel volume)

Richard Conyngham is a writer, researcher and teacher. Originally from Pietermaritzburg, he studied at the universities of Cape Town and Cambridge before working for civil-society organisations Equal Education, The Bookery and Ndifuna Ukwazi, as well as the London publisher Slightly Foxed and the climate-action-training organisation MakeTomorrow. He has written Safety, Justice and People’s Power (2016), an illustrated companion to the O’Regan-Pikoli Commission of Inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha, and the collaborative graphic history All Rise: Resistance and Rebellion in South Africa (1910-1948). All Rise: Resistance and Rebellion in South Africa is a collaborative graphic history series, based on little-known court and archival records, that revives stories of resistance by marginalized South Africans against the colonial authorities. The first volume, which spans the ‘Union period’ of 1910-48, was published by Jacana Media and Catalyst Press in 2021/22 and has since received a star-rating by Kirkus Reviews. Each story is illustrated by a different South African artist and combines a variety of universal issues related to justice and human rights. In a forthcoming follow-up 'prequel' volume, Richard Conyngham seeks to revive six acts of resistance and rebellion from the early colonial period (1652 to the turn of the twentieth century), exploring themes of land dispossession, enslavement, detention without trial and discriminatory tax, among others.

Nangamso Ka NomaHlubi Koza

The History of Kamastone - Ikhaya LoMoya

Koza Nangamso Ka NomaHlubi - Koza is an independent Education Development Strategist, Author, Publisher, Communications Consultant and Community Engagement Practitioner. Ka NomaHlubi - Koza co-published 'South Africa's Great Teachers' (Bookstorm 2011). She published 'UQengwa utyelela ezilalini' through Ingomso (2019), a think tank specialising on strategic development, research, capacity building, and multi-media production she founded. She has since authored 11 children's books for the Nelson Mandela Institute. Ka NomaHlubi- Koza has received many accolades, over years which include but are not limited to being a Mail &Guardian Top 200 South African (2011), Mandela Washington Fellow (2015), Graca Machel Trust Women Leading Africa Network (2019), Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity based at Tekano (2022). This book in centred on interrogating how the establishment of a missionary church in Hewu played a key role in the overall development of the community of villages while contributing significantly to the dispossession of their land. The Methodist Church of Southern Africa in the Hewu (now made up of just under 45 villages) community was established officially in 1851 by a missionary minister, Rev. William Shepstone, and the first traditional leader to convert to Christianity, Chief Khama. This book will investigate the “interactive factors and various forces (religious frontiers, cultural frontiers, political frontiers that were instrumental in the evolution of the race relations” in Hewu with links to Komani. The output will highlight the significant role played by oral historians and traditional archivists who have kept the stories and memories alive.


Nomvuyo Lerato Mzamane

Our Baobabs

Nomvuyo Lerato Mzamane serves as a school start-up specialist and children’s multimedia edutainment practitioner. She has written TV and radio scripts for the young, poetry, and short stories. An award-winning educator, leader, professional development expert, children’s literature critic and human rights activist with a career spanning three decades across over twenty countries, Nomvuyo’s deepest interests are for initiatives that serve the disadvantaged and fragile communities. She is multilingual and holds various degrees in education, business and African Studies.

Our Baobabs is a creative nonfiction book about baobab trees, intended mainly for tweens, 10–13-year-olds. The book’s subgenres are travel, nature writing, literary journalism, biography, and love letter.

The African baobab tree is in a state of crisis; they are perishing, and no one is exactly sure why. Thousand-year-old trees, especially those in southern Africa, have been speedily dying since just the turn of this century. The aim of the book is to entertain and educate young readers, to revolutionise the way children think about trees, and to positively impact how they will act to save anything from extinction. Ultimately, the book invites and guides children into far less conflictual relationships with the natural world, asking adults to either empower them or get out of their way!

The author has loved baobab trees since childhood and journeyed to several African countries just to visit baobab trees.

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Michael Schmidt

Recces & Repressors: Argentine Influences on Apartheid

Michael Schmidt is a veteran investigative journalist – focusing primarily on African affairs – and the

best-selling author of six non-fiction books on history and political science, the last three of which cover the troubled transitions to democracy in Southern Africa. He has worked in 47 countries on six

continents, producing uniquely ground-breaking and challenging studies on topics ranging from military doctrine to anarcho-syndicalism. He is also a nascent novelist, songwriter, and documentary film-maker. Schmidt’s acclaimed book Death Flight: Apartheid’s Secret Doctrine of Disappearance (Tafelberg, 2020) detailed how an ultra-secret Special Forces unit murdered perhaps an estimated 420 anti-apartheid detainees and dumped their bodies in the oceans from light aircraft, Argentine style – and how the ANC protected the perpetrators from prosecution. This led to him being appointed by the human rights offices within the Argentine ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs to run a research project on how the Argentine Junta of 1976-1983 influenced the apartheid state. One of the projected outcomes of this self-funded project is a book, Recces & Repressors: Argentine Influences on Apartheid, which will examine the military, political, religious, economic, and social ties between these two pariah states at the height of their hubris. The book will be based on archival research and face-to-face interviews with military and other veterans which the ANFASA grant will enable.


Lorato Trok

The quest to preserve a dying language: The Ouma Katrina Story, The Katrina Esau Story

Lorato Trok is an early literacy expert in developing reading for pleasure books for young children and teens. She has more than 20 years’ experience in publishing, writing, editing, translation and story development in children’s and young adults’ literature.  Lorato is on the Executive Committee of IBBY South Africa responsible for membership drive, IBBY South Africa Reviews Chair and a board member of the Pan South African Language Board (Setswana National Language Body). In July 2022 she was appointed to the National Book Policy Task Team by the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture (South Africa) on a two-year term.

The story of Ouma Katrina Esau is a compelling story of an 89-year-old who never wavered in ensuring that her almost extinct language was saved. With no formal literacy skills, she opened a school in her neighbourhood, teaching young children her language and the cultural practices of the Khoi people in order to preserve her Nluu language through the next generation.

Gopolang Botlhokwane

We Built This City: A Memoir /Biography/Portrait of Motswako

Gopolang Botlhokwane is a Journalist and Cultural Critic, with an interest in social justice, migration, and culture. Botlhokwane’s journalism has appeared in the Mail and Guardian and The Daily Vox. Botlhokwane was a 2022 North West Vodacom Journalist of the Year Regional Nominee for his depiction of the lives of homeless and unemployed men in his hometown of Mahikeng. He has written and continues to write extensively about Motswako and the legacies of the subgenre.   Lucas Mangope’s Bophuthatswana’s powerful state sponsored cultural and sporting programs made it possible for many working-class youths in and around the North West Province to defy the limitations of their environments. Through Bophuthatswana cultural programs many would come to be respected professionals in their various sporting and arts fields. But the collapse of Bophuthatswana and the failure to maintain many of those programs – and the corruption that came with the transition to democracy in 1994 meant that young people were effectively robbed of platforms to harness their talents and express themselves.  It was out of a frustration with Neoliberal state policies that failed to maintain the effectiveness of whatever was left of those programs and safeguard the aspirations of the youth in the democratic dispensation that the social movement and hip hop sub-genre known as Motswako was born. In We Built This City: A Memoir/Biography /Portrait of Motswako, Botlhokwane traces the rise of the movement and considers the socio-political context that made it a possibility and its implications on the lives of the men and women who shaped it’s sound.


Mathene Mahanke

The Sesotho short story: Definition, Development and Deployment

Mathene Mahanke was born in Qwaqwa, in the Free State, where he grew up and taught at the Qwaqwa campus of the University of the Free State. He is currently the Head of Language Services in the Free State provincial government. He has written 5 books, contributed chapters in 3 books and has, also, written 3 radio plays. He co-authored a proposal that earned the late Dr KPD Maphalla an Ikhamanga Award (in gold). Dr Mahanke holds an MA (cum laude) and a PhD degree in Language Studies from the University of the Free State. He is an accredited professional translator.

The work, Sesotho short stories, is a PhD thesis studying the Sesotho short story defining characteristics, development and use as a vehicle for social comment. A polysytemic approach has been employed in the discussion of themes; intertextuality in the explanation of the origin of Sesotho short story, and the ‘three worlds’ approach to show how stories are translated into moral lessons. We find that the Sesotho short story as an offshoot of the folktale and the culture of the preliterate era breaks away, in the fifties, to address matters of immediate importance to man, like freedom and death. This pattern goes on into the nineties. Moving away from art for art’s sake, the Sesotho short story has shown that it avails itself for use as a tool for social comment, thus contributing to social cohesion and nation building.

Bonita Bennett

Memory, heritage, and the spaces between: a District Six Museum Biography

Bonita Bennett has been active in the memory and museum sector for over 20 years and holds a Doctorate in Historical and Heritage Studies. She currently works as an independent consultant, with her last fulltime position having been as Director of the District Six Museum in Cape Town where she remains engaged as a research associate and as a member of its board of trustees. This book is a biographical account of the origins, growth and ongoing development of District Six Museum (D6M) in Cape Town, South Africa. It locates the museum’s work at the intersection of activism and public history and presents it as a significant example of how a community has been empowered through the mobilisation of its memory. It affirms the value inherent in memory work, demonstrating that it can create empowering pathways through which to activate personal, community and by extension, national healing – the latter being a constant underlying theme of South Africa’s journey to deepen its rights-based democracy. This organisational biography is framed within the contexts of the post-apartheid commitments to land restitution, as well as the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that memorialisation be considered as one of the country’s tools of symbolic reparations.


Professor Maria Suriano

A rare gift to the struggle: Ma Vesta Smith and the everyday politics of liberation

I am a social, cultural and intellectual historian of Africa and I am based in the History Department at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. My research interests include life history writing, the national and transnational dimensions of the anti-apartheid struggle, popular culture and print cultures. I have published numerous essays in peer-reviewed edited books and in leading journals.

This project charts the life of Vesta Smith (née Mpama; Johannesburg, 1922-2013), fondly known as Ma Vesta or Ma Vee, a brave and feisty activist whose Christianity was the driving force behind her constant search for social justice. She underwent forced removals to the coloured area of Noordgesig (Soweto), participated in the women’s anti-pass march, supported the Black Consciousness Movement and the Soweto uprising, was a political prisoner in 1976 and 1986, participated in the founding of the United Democratic Front, worked at the Legal Resources Centre and remained a community worker (she refused to be called “community leader”) until late in her life.

In seeking to expand our understanding of the liberation struggle beyond the experiences of prominent men and the organisations they led, the project suggests that looking at Ma Vesta as an “unsung hero” is not the most productive way to do justice to her contributions. She should be characterised as having been in the background by choice, and as someone whose constant presence as a facilitator of connections kept alive key networks of support, enabled intergenerational dialogue and made progressive organisations work.

mkutaji wa njia

Capha – Part 1: Mama

Mkutaji wa njia is a multidisciplinary being who uses art as a tool to dance with her curiosity. Currently, she can be described as a writer, creative producer and movement artist. Her most recent projects include EmBody (2021/22), supported by the British Council SSA Cultural Exchange and a research fellowship with the Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA). She was a recipient of the Good Story Grant awarded by the Good Story Company (US) and a curatorial residency with Instituto Inclusartiz, Rio de Janeiro (2022). mkutaji currently lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.

A number of ancient origin stories recount the beginning of all creation to primordial waters. For the Bantu of Kongo in Central Africa, Nommo is the embodiment of the fertile fluid that created all living things. Water is used in many African and indigenous communities as a transmitter into individual and collective healing, ritual performance and channelling connections with the unknown. My curiosity into the connections between water as a sacred body and our dependence on it as the human community has led me to this project.


Carlos Mesquita

Being! becoming! Belonging! (My lived experience as homeless man as a contribution to ending chronic homelessness)

Carlos Mesquita, former SAMA award winning record company owner becomes homeless and lives on the streets of Cape Town for 6 years.

Covid-19 meant Strandfontein, Cape Town’s now notorious camp for the homeless.

With 7 others, he fought the City of Cape Town and won on behalf of the homeless.

Emerging from homelessness, he made a commitment to pay forward the blessing bestowed upon him that saw him leave the streets.

He has during the past two and a half years become a sought after speaker and contributor to many a discussion and convention on homelessness both in South Africa and abroad.

He opened two independent living spaces for the homeless, conceptualised the in Homeless Action Coalition which advocates for the homeless and whose board includes 50% homeless individuals.

Carlos was also appointed Cape Town’s leading newspaper, The Cape Argus’ weekly columnist on homelessness two years ago.

He reserves most of his time to developing new projects and programs to uplift, empower and employ those still living on the streets and a portion of what he earns as a consultant goes directly into funding dignified accommodation for people living on the streets.

His every action is also aimed at changing the public’s perception of people living on the streets and ensuring we all work together towards ending chronic homelessness.

"I am hoping the book, Being! Becoming! Belonging! (My journey into homelessness and beyond) will, by virtue of my lived experience, make a positive contribution towards ending chronic homelessness.

I see the book as yet another blessing that has come my way in order for me to reach more people with my story and in so doing, contribute to a change in public opinion about those that live on the streets and that that it will lead us to one day ending chronic homelessness.

The book is a collection of some of my columns written over the past two years for the Cape Argus, which I have blended in and added narrative to, in order to tell not only my story but the story of thousands of other people living on our streets.

I also share information that the public often lacks in terms of current policies and strategies on homelessness in a manner that will hopefully entice the reader to read this very important information.

I also share the road that I and others have traveled since leaving the streets and hopefully manage to show how important it is for society as a whole to become aware of the theory of Being, Becoming, Belonging in relation to a homeless person transitioning back into society and making that transition successful and sustainable.