Licence to write – 24 authors awarded R518‚000 in grants


“South Africa needs to tell its stories‚ in all their forms‚” the association says of the ANFASA Grant Scheme for Authors. The writing grants were awarded to this year winning writers at a ceremony held on Thursday at the Norwegian Embassy Residence in Pretoria.

Since the scheme started ten years ago over 90 writing grants have been awarded. In this anniversary year‚ AGSA‚ with support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy‚ was able to distribute over R518‚000 in writing grants‚ more than has been distributed in any one year before.

The scheme draws over a hundred applications each year. Primarily funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy‚ as well as the SAMRO Foundation‚ which donates R50‚000 each year to fund two grants for books about music‚ AGSA provides a grant of R20‚000–R25‚000 for research and writing‚ that can to be used by the author to take leave to work on a manuscript‚ or to travel to conduct research. These grants usually do not cover the cost of publishing the manuscript – however in 2016 ANFASA awarded a further R20‚000 towards the production costs of two of the winning manuscripts.

“We are playing a small part in making South Africa a reading and writing nation‚” said Professor Sihawukele Ngubane‚ chairman of ANFASA

Here are the grant recipients:

1. Paula Fourie: “Ghoema vannie Kaap’’: The Life and Work of Taliep Petersen
A biography of the late South African jazz musician‚ Taliep Peterson who was sensationally murdered by his wife. 

2. Brett Pyper: ‘’You Can’t Listen Alone’’: Appreciating Jazz in a Transitioning South Africa 
The book offers a study of a largely unexamined aspect of contemporary jazz culture in post-apartheid South Africa.

3. David Robbins: Walking to Australia: In the footsteps of humanity’s greatest migration
The author is taking a 21st century journey following the direction taken by anatomically modern humans who left the African Nursery around 85 000 years ago and reached Australia 20 000 years later. Along the way they laid the genetic foundations for humanity’s oldest civilisations and ultimately inhabited every corner of the globe.

4. Andrew Lilley: Bheki Mseleku: Analysis of Compositions and Improvisational Style 
The proposed book is a technical analysis of Bheki Mseleku’s compositional works and improvisational style. It is not intended as a biographical work but‚ rather‚ an in-depth technical study comprising annotated transcriptions and analysis.

5. Sarah Simone Haysom: The Outshining Ones: A Story of Law‚ Justice and Betrayal 
The proposed book is about a 22-year old albino man‚ Rowan du Preez‚ who was found naked and dying of burn wounds in the dunes beside Mfuleni‚ a poor township in Cape Town. The case soon became extraordinary‚ and not just because the man had been necklaced. It attracted attention because the woman charged with his murder was a well-known local activist who had been crusading against police corruption and ‘mob justice’.

6. Michael Schmidt: Death Flight: Apartheid’s Secret Massacre
This is about the trial of SADF chemical warfare chief Dr Wouter Basson and how evidence over the period 1979-1987 showed that some 200 prisoners of war‚ most from SWAPO’s Liberation Army of Namibia‚ were drugged at the Fort Rev’ special forces base at Ondangwa with muscle relaxants that caused their lungs to collapse‚ loaded into a Piper Seneca‚ and flown from Fort Rev to an airstrip at Etosha Pan‚ where the aircraft refuelled‚ before flying out over the Atlantic Ocean and dropping the POWs to their deaths from a height of 3.6 km.

7. Percy Mabundu: Migrant Worker’s Suite: Essays at the Intersection of Art‚ Jazz and Democracy. 
This project is a collection of essays that explores contemporary South Africa as seen from the lush intersection of jazz music‚ arts and politics. One of ANFASA’s criteria is to back future high fliers in the literary field‚ and he Percy Mabundu is definitely one of them.

8. Mikhail Peppas: The History of the Moving Image in KwaZulu-Natal
The first cinema in Africa originated as early as 1909 in Durban‚ only four years after the world’s first cinema opened in America. The following year Africa’s first cinema for “coloured” persons opened on the outskirts of Durban. Little is known about the two pioneering cinemas in Durban and the role they played in encouraging film going as a social phenomenon in South Africa.

9. Nthabiseng Motsemme: “Siyaphanta‚Siyahlonipha‚Siyaphila’’ Popular Cultures of Survival Amongst Mothers and Daughters in a South African Urban Township
This book is based on a trans-disciplinary study conducted in one of the oldest townships in KwaZulu-Natal‚ Chesterville Township‚ and details how ‘popular cultures of survival’ regenerate and re-humanise township residents and communities whose social fabric and intergenerational bonds have been violently torn by endemic suffering.

10. Jamala Safari: Fatherhood: A Smile‚ a Laughter and a Tear
This project reflects on the experience of young black fathers in contemporary South Africa based on their interactions with their children. “The story is told through my eyes‚ as a father‚ an uncle‚ a son and a friend. It goes further to speak about how my upbringing and the interactions with my father have greatly influenced my parenting style.”

11. Keamogetswe Bopalamo: What I Wore
The book describes how it was being a black girl from a village in Rustenburg who struggled to understand herself – and others failed to understand her. It speaks of fighting mental illness through the use of alcohol and drugs‚ and how many times the consequences outweighed the purpose.

12. Fezekile Futhwa: Bantu Medicinal Plants
A multilingual reference book on the medicinal plants found in South Africa‚ Lesotho and Botswana. The book is written in English but gives plant names in English‚ Sesotho‚ Setswana and isiZulu. IsiXhosa will also be provided where possible.

13. Dr Tendai Chari: Political Party Advertising in Transitional Societies: Mapping Contours of Globalization in South Africa‚ Zambia and Zimbabwe
A comprehensive and trenchant account of political party advertising in the press in three Southern African countries‚ South Africa‚ Zambia and Zimbabwe with a view to broader insights on contemporary and emerging political advertising practices in transitional societies.

14. Mpho Peter Lebopa: Bagale le dinatla tsa rena 
This book tells a story of heroes and heroine of the past. Chiefs (Mamphoku Makgoba)‚ Mamokhine a heroine who escaped fighting in the 1800s and stayed in the mountains for years and survived; the story of former president Mandela and his struggles and successes; Gert Sibande the man who exposed farm labour’s struggles in the potato farms in Bethal in the early 1950s‚ his life and times‚ up to his arrest; and the life of other heroes who were hanged for their political beliefs during apartheid‚ as well as other interesting stories of heroes.

15. Peter Halala: Shirley Shows the Way
This book project tells the history of Phillips and his wife‚ and the influence of their families in their future relationship with their tenants – or squatters‚ as they were called. It discusses the capture of the community of Eka Shivitani village (re-naming the area as Shirley); the imposition of Christianity and Western civilisation in the place of traditional African religion and other cultural practices on the community of Shirley; the founding of the Shirley Industrial and Agricultural Native School; and finally the death of Phillips and his wife and the sale of the farm; and a comparison of life during Phillip’s era and life under the democratic government.

16. Mignonne Breier: Fear and Forgiveness – an Eastern Cape Story (provisional title)
The killing of Irish nun and medical doctor‚ Sister Aidan Quinlan‚ in the East London riots of 1952 at the height of the ANC Defence Campaign‚ is an event that has long been difficult in the telling. Sister Aidan‚ of the Dominican Order of the Catholic Church‚ lived and worked in the township of Duncan village and was killed in a riot by members of the community that she served.

17. Bhekamachunu Mchunu: Anton Lembede: The Making of a Peasant Pan-Africanist
Anton Muziwakhe Lembede was born in Eston‚ in the then Natal Province. He obtained his teaching qualification from Adams College in 1936 and within a decade he had risen to the position of headmaster‚ switched careers from teaching to law and obtained a master’s degree in philosophy. Although by 1943 as observed by Robert Edgar and Luyanda ka Msumza‚ ‘’Lembede was [still] a political neophyte’’‚ his thoughts and ideas had long bordered on questioning the sociopolitical status quo.

18. Tebogo Mokganyetji: Black Beauty: Understanding beauty and its maintenance through indigenous knowledge system
The proposed book will explore the concept of beauty and how it relates to blackness in post-apartheid South Africa where people have so many complicated relationships with beauty and identity‚ it is important to understand the founding values of the concept of black beauty. This research aims to engage older black women who lived through the apartheid regime to understand how they conceptualised black beauty‚ its maintenance and resemblance.

19. Nhlanhla Maake: Called to Serve: An Episcopal Biography of Archbishop Buti Tlhagale
The book is an Episcopal biography of the Bishop of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg‚ Archbishop Buti Tihagale. During the struggle against apartheid he was one of the most outspoken clergy against the regime‚ especially in the 1970s when he was a young priest based in Orlando‚ individually and as a member of the South African Council of Churches and the Catholic Church.

20. Sihle Khumalo: Around Mzansi in 30 Days (provisional title)
This project focuses on South Africa’s freedom and democracy‚ asking whether South Africa has truly abandoned its shameful past and steadily moved towards building (as envisioned in the constitution) a “democratic‚ non-racial‚ non-sexist‚ united and prosperous society based on justice‚ equality‚ the rule of law and all new culture based on respect of human rights and dignity”. Has democracy been institutionalised into every fibre of society or is South Africa a country in perpetual transition?

21. Phila Mfundo Msimang: The Idea of Race (and what we’ve done with it)
This book project is based on the conceptual history of race based on the extensive research undertaken by the author on the topic over the last two years. It will trace back the use of racial ideology in South Africa to the ideology and musings of philosophers in history in orders to show the importance of history and ideas in driving social processes.

22. Jedi Ramalapa: My Journey to love (A suitcase full of Stories)
This is a story of a young South African journalists’ quest to become a foreign (war) correspondent‚ a desire birthed in part by her inquisitiveness about the world and by watching war reports on CNN featuring Christiane Amampour. But when journalist Jedi Ramalapa was offered an opportunity to pursue an assignment of a lifetime‚ little did she know that it would change the rest of her life and not in the Pulitzer Prize winning way she had often imagined. 

23. Karen Buckenham: Boundaries of Our Discontent: Migration‚ Xenophobia and Social Cohesion in KwaZulu-Natal‚ South Africa
In 2008‚ violence erupted against foreigners (predominantly black African) living in South Africa‚ bringing into the open the latent but always present hostilities experienced by African immigrants‚ refugees‚ and asylum seekers in South Africa. This book‚ through interviews with refugee leaders‚ church leaders‚ the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council‚ and others‚ together with social and theological research on the phenomenon of migration in Southern Africa‚ documents the story of the ecumenical church in KwaZulu-Natal as it‚ with others‚ seeks to understand and address in an ongoing and practical way the very complex history and issues of migration‚ xenophobia and social cohesion in KwaZulu-Natal‚ and South Africa widely.

24. Sindiwe Magona: A Champion for the Workers – the biography of Ray Alexander Simons
This is the biography of Ray Alexander Simons‚ awarded the Order of Isithwalandwe‚ the highest honour of the African National Congress‚ in 2004. Ray Alexander came to South Africa in 1929. She was sixteen years old. In her native country‚ Latvia‚ she had been involved in the underground Communist Party since the age of thirteen. Within days of her arrival in South Africa‚ she joined the Communist Party of South Africa. That same year‚ she began organising workers. The name Ray Alexander is known not only in South Africa but outside this country’s borders for the role she played in the cause of Workers’ Unions. She helped organise various unions but she is best known for her work with the Food and Canning Workers’ Union (FCWU). Founded in 1941‚ the organisation spread throughout the fruit canning industry of the Boland and up the west coast among the fishing communities.

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