On the beauty of black story(tellers)

Parents of black children do not have it easy. The world is an ugly place, but it saves its most brutal faces for black people. But even before all that, before our children learn of the violence, both casual and profound, that lies in their path, there are the awful silences. Children's stories, in print, … Continue reading On the beauty of black story(tellers)

The Immortal Lessons of Henrietta Lacks

Whilst I was watching a particularly harrowing sequence in the new HBO-produced movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (based on Rebecca Skloot's bestselling book), I was reminded of a bit that Chris Rock used to include in his stand-up about race. He would argue that the most 'racist' black people he knew were older black people, … Continue reading The Immortal Lessons of Henrietta Lacks

Nolite te bastardes carborondurum: A Maternal Reading of The Handmaid’s Tale

In anticipation of the forthcoming Hulu dramatization, I reread Margaret Atwood's iconic dystopian, feminist text, The Handmaid's Tale.  Well, only sort of. I have a lot less time and a lot more toddler in my life than I did when I first read the book twelve years ago.  This time, I listened to the unabridged audiobook. … Continue reading Nolite te bastardes carborondurum: A Maternal Reading of The Handmaid’s Tale

Our writing, our selves: Meditations on the ethics of writing

“I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” Joan Didion “Writers are always selling someone out.” Joan Didion David Sedaris published the most beautiful essay on the death of his youngest sister, Tiffany, and how her … Continue reading Our writing, our selves: Meditations on the ethics of writing

White Women’s Stories: A Late Review of The Help

I came to The Help*, the book, late. Long after the movie was released, and discussed ad nauseum, and had its (somewhat successful) shot at Oscar glory, I have finally found it in myself to read the book. I bought the book a solid year ago, from an airport bookstore, on one of the many … Continue reading White Women’s Stories: A Late Review of The Help

What we’re reading, 17 September 2013

https://twitter.com/ZakesMda/status/379123598138834944 Welcome to this edition of WWR, brought to you from a soggy, cold Cape Town.  Are ya just sick of this winter? We know we are! Zakes Mda agrees! - Heard of the first ever woman to become a Maasai warrior? Oh, you haven't? Enjoy! - Sisonke Msimang on heckling as political discourse. - … Continue reading What we’re reading, 17 September 2013

What we’re reading, 1 September 2013

Welcome to September! I hear it's meant to be spring, or something, but the Cape Winter has suddenly become pretty bitter. So much for all that... More time to stay indoors, cuddled up under a blanket, trawling through the internet! Enjoy this week's reading list: - Sophia Wallace wants you to know the truth about … Continue reading What we’re reading, 1 September 2013

What we’re reading, 25 August 2013

UDF leaders (from left) Patrick Mosiua Lekota, Popo Molefe and Trevor Manuel Here are a few things we read and thought about this week: - The UDF was founded 30 years ago.  A few reflections on the movement that changed South Africa: http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-08-22-the-udf-at-30-an-organisation-that-shook-apartheids-foundation/#.UhnAaGR5hXc - In the wake of the Marikana anniversary, Sisonke Msimang reminds us of another … Continue reading What we’re reading, 25 August 2013

The Grief Book Club

  By some strange coincidence, in the 6 months preceding my aunt's death I had worked my way through three seminal 'grief narratives'. I have half-joked to friends that I was sort of 'studying up', without knowing it, in preparation for what was to come. There really is no preparing for it, though. The best … Continue reading The Grief Book Club