BOOK BRAVE beau­ti­ful BADASS

CityPress - - Voices -

Agor­geously il­lus­trated new of­fer­ing from Mod­jaji Books has hit the shelves in time for Women’s Day on August 9. A to Z of Amaz­ing South African Women, writ­ten by Am­bre Ni­col­son and il­lus­trated by Jaxon Hsu, is a sim­ple feel-good of­fer­ing.

But it is also im­por­tant in ac­knowl­edg­ing and restor­ing her­sto­ries (Lil­ian Ngoyi, Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela, Mrs Ples and the Khoi ma­tri­arch Krotoa, for ex­am­ple) while hold­ing up a woke new gen­er­a­tion (Zanele Muholi, Dope Saint Jude, Wanelisa Xaba and sci­en­tist Buy­isiwe Son­dezi, for in­stance). And it doesn’t shy away from the badass women in his­tory, such as strip­per Glenda Kemp.

Hsu’s il­lus­tra­tions cre­ate an in­stant iconog­ra­phy around each woman and are as much a rea­son to buy the book as the text. (Shop for it on­line at R295 from mod­ja­ji­books.co.za)

Of course A to Zs have their lim­i­ta­tions and ev­ery­one will have their own per­sonal gripe about who has been left out. Mine is where the hell is Brenda Fassie? Miriam Makeba and Yvonne Chaka Chaka fea­ture and so does Ju­dith Se­phuma. But no Ma Brrr! (and no Than­diswa Mazwai for that mat­ter.) But this makes a great gift and is a joy to browse through.

GET READY FOR FES­TI­VAL SEA­SON

Book fest sea­son is upon us, with the Jozi Book Fair (Aug 31 to Sep 3 in New­town), Open Book (Sep 6 to 10 in Cape Town) and the SA Book Fair (Sep 8 to 10 in Joburg) an­nounc­ing their line-ups. Check them out at joz­i­book­fair.org.za, at open­book­fes­ti­val.co.za and at southafrican­book­fair.co.za.

We’ll be of­fer­ing our picks of the best as the events draw closer, but let’s just say right now that we’re to­tally there for ses­sions like Pumla Gqola and Iman Ver­jee speak­ing to He­len Mof­fett about writ­ing rape at Open Book; a screen­ing of the film, The Whale Caller, fol­lowed by a dis­cus­sion with di­rec­tor Zola Maseko and nov­el­ist Zakes Mda, whose novel the film is based on, at the Jozi Book Fair; and the Poetry Café with Phillipa Yaa de Vil­liers, Nick Mul­grew and Koleka Pu­tuma at the SA Book Fair.

– Charl Blig­naut

G IS FOR GLENDA KEMP

P IS FOR MRS PLES

W IS FOR WIN­NIE MAN­DELA

S IS FOR CASTER SE­MENYA

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